Eliezer Wiesel and Adoption

Wiesel, 2012



Political Activist

Wiesel was born into a Hasidic Jewish family in Transylvania, Romania. In 1944 his village was captured by the Nazis and at 15 he and his family were sent to the Auschwitz concentration camp. One sister and his mother were sent to the gas chambers; he and his father remained together for another year, but his father died just before the end of the war, in January 1945. Wiesel also spent time in the Buna, Buchenwald and Gliewitz camps before liberation in April 1945. He and his two other sisters survived.

After the end of the war he spent several years in a French orphanage, but in 1948 be began study at the Sorbonne. The Nobel prize-winning author François Mauriac convinced him to break his vow of silence on his experiences, and he has since devoted his life to writing (over 35 books to date, including novels and factual works) and teaching about the Holocaust and supporting humanitarian causes in general.

He was naturalized a US citizen in 1963, awarded the US Congressional Medal of Honor in 1978 and the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986. Since 1976 he has been the Andrew Mellon Professor of Humanities at Boston University.


Wiesel, Elie. All Rivers Run to the Sea. (New York: Knopf, 1995) Microsoft Encarta 98 Encyclopedia, 1993-97 Who's Who in America, 1996 Kallin, Diedra, and Robinson, Michael. "Elie Wiesel." Available at: "Elie Wiesel." [Includes portraits]. Available at: