Elie Wiesel - Life and Work

"Reading the old and simple texts, I discovered something that frightened me, captivated me and delighted me. Without moving, I wandered through visible and invisible worlds. I was at two, at thousand places at once, doing thousand things at once."

(Elie Wiesel: All rivers flow into the sea)

(Foto: Astrid Kimmig)

Short tabular biography of Elie Wiesel

Born in Sighet (Transylvania, today Romania) as the son of Schlomo Wiesel (merchant) and Sarah Wiesel, née Feig. Wiesel grows up in a Chassidic family.

Elie Wiesel attends the Cheder, the Jewish religion-, primary school (Introduction to Hebrew and the Torah), then the Jeschiwa (secondary school, in particular study of the Talmud). Besides he studies the Kabbala and the teachings of the Chassidic Masters.

After the establishment of a ghetto in Sighet, the family Wiesel together with the entire Jewish community is deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau. The mother and the younger sister Tsiporah are murdered in Auschwitz. The father dies shortly before the end of the war in Buchenwald, where he and Elie are evacuated at the beginning of 1945.

Liberation of the Buchenwald camp. Elie Wiesel is brought to France by the children’s charity. In Paris he meets his two older sisters again.

  • 1948-1951

Elie Wiesel studies philosophy, French literature and psychology at the Sorbonne, Paris. He starts working as a journalist for Israeli newspapers and magazines and as a UN reporter.

  • 1956

Publishing of Un di Welt hot geschwign. Elie Wiesel comes to the United States and in 1963 he becomes an American citizen.

  • 1958

The shortened and translated publication of Un di Welt hot geschwign as La Nuit establishes Elie Wiesel’s fame as a writer.

  • 1965

Visit of the USSR, to claim the human rights of the Russian Jews.

First honorary doctorates at the American universities. Stay in Israel during the Six-Day War.

Marriage to Marion E. Rose, herself survivor of the Shoa and translator of the books of Elie Wiesel.

Birth of the Son Schlomo Elischa. Professor at the City University of New York, Department of Jewish Studies

Professor at the Boston University (Professor in the Humanities, Department of Religion, Literature and Philosophy)

Appointment as the president of the United States Memorial Council by Jimmy Carter

  • 1986

Award of the Nobel Peace Prize. The committee justifies the award of the prize with the words: “Elie Wiesel is one of the most important leaders and guides of our time. His words proclaim the message of peace, reconciliation and human dignity.”

Speech before the German Bundestag
Speeche at the Buchenwald Memorial on the occasion of the joint visit of Angela Merkel and Barack Obama.

On the 2 of July Elie Wiesel dies after serious illness.

  (Quellen: Reinhold Boschki: Der Schrei. Gott und Mensch im Werk vom Elie Wiesel, Mainz 2/2005,