JERUSALEM – Nobel Peace Prize winner and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel died on Saturday, the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem announced. He was 87.
Wiesel, a native of the Hungarian town of Sighet (now Romania) and who was held during the Nazi period at Auschwitz and other extermination camps, was one of the best known Jewish writers and an ardent defender of commemorating the Holocaust through education.
He died Saturday at his home in New York accompanied by his family, according to the Israeli news service Ynet.
Author of 47 books, four of them about the Holocaust that Jews suffered at the hands of the Nazis during World War II (1939-1945), Wiesel dedicated his life to defending human rights and the fight against oppression on all five continents, which won him a Nobel Peace Prize in 1980.
The writer was born to an Ultra-Orthodox Jewish family in Transylvania, and during World War II was held in several Nazi concentration camps, where he lost his parents and his younger sister.
He and his two elder brothers survived and, once freed from the Buchenwald camp, he went to Paris to study at the Sorbonne, after which he worked as a journalist.
His work in defense of the Jewish people and the state of Israel made him generally honored in that country, which in 2014 considered asking him to take office as head of the Israeli government, which he apparently refused.