When Wiesel was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986, the Norwegian Nobel Committee called him a "messenger to mankind," stating that through his struggle to come to terms with "his own personal experience of total humiliation and of the utter contempt for humanity shown in Hitler's death camps", as well as his "practical work in the cause of peace", Wiesel had delivered a powerful message "of peace, atonement and human dignity" to humanity.
In March 1944,
After they were sent to
After World War II ended and Wiesel was freed, he went to
In 1946, after learning of Irgun's bombing of the
For ten years after the war, Wiesel refused to write about or discuss his experiences during the Holocaust. However, a meeting with the French author François Mauriac, the 1952 Nobel Laureate in Literature who eventually became Wiesel's close friend, persuaded him to write about his experiences. Wiesel said that a discussion he had with Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson was a turning point in his writing of the Holocaust.
Wiesel first wrote the 900-page memoir Un di velt hot geshvign (And the World Remained Silent) in Yiddish, which was published in abridged form in
The book sold few copies over the next 18 months, but attracted interest from reviewers, leading to television interviews with Wiesel and meetings with literary figures such as Saul Bellow. Night has been translated into 30 languages with ten million copies sold in the
In 1955, Wiesel moved to
The 1979 book and play The Trial of God are said to have been based on his real-life
Wiesel also played a role in the initial success of The Painted Bird by Jerzy Kosinski by endorsing it before revelations that the book was fiction and, in the sense that it was presented as all Kosinski's true experience, a hoax.
Wiesel published two volumes of memoirs. The first, All Rivers Run to the Sea, was published in 1994 and covered his life up to the year 1969. The second, titled And the Sea is Never Full and published in 1999, covered the years from 1969 to 1999.
He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986 for speaking out against violence, repression, and racism. The Norwegian Nobel Committee described Wiesel as "one of the most important spiritual leaders and guides in an age when violence, repression and racism continue to characterize the world." Wiesel explained his feelings during his acceptance speech:
He received many other prizes and honors for his work, including the Congressional Gold Medal in 1985, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and The International Center in
Wiesel became a popular speaker on the subject of the Holocaust. As a political activist, he also advocated for many causes, including Israel, the plight of Soviet and Ethiopian Jews, the victims of apartheid in South Africa, Argentina's Desaparecidos, Bosnian victims of genocide in the former Yugoslavia, Nicaragua's Miskito Indians, and the Kurds.
In early 2006, Wiesel accompanied Oprah Winfrey as she visited