Elie Wiesel, holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize winner has died on Saturday in his Manhattan home. Mr. Wiesel was 87.

Elie Wiesel

Elie Wiesel in 1987 (photo: Erling Mandelmann)

Wiesel first gained international attention in 1960 when “Night,” his autobiographical account of the horrors of the Nazi death camps was translated into English. Wiesel eloquently wrote about his guilt of having survived while millions of others died at the hands of the Nazis.

Elie Wiesel

A young Elie Wiesel

“Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp, which has turned my life into one long night, seven times cursed and seven times sealed,” wrote Mr. Wiesel. “Never shall I forget that smoke. Never shall I forget the little faces of the children, whose bodies I saw turned into wreaths of smoke beneath a silent blue sky. Never shall I forget those flames which consumed my faith forever. Never shall I forget the nocturnal silence which deprived me, for all eternity, of the desire to live. Never shall I forget those moments which murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to dust. Never shall I forget these things, even if I am condemned to live long as God himself. Never.”

Elie Wiesel spoke out against human forgetfulness and violence and was instrumental in bringing the horrors of the Holocaust back into the public consciousness. In 1986, the Nobel committee awarded him the peace prize.

“Wiesel is a messenger to mankind,” stated the Nobel citation. “His message is one of peace, atonement and human dignity. His belief that the forces fighting evil in the world can be victorious is a hard-won belief.”

In a 1981 interview with Michiko Kakutani of the New York Times, Wiesel said, “If I survived, it must be for some reason…I must do something with my life. It is too serious to play games with anymore, because in my place, someone else could have been saved. And so I speak for that person. On the other hand, I know I cannot.”

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