The Niebuhr Legacy

Elie Wiesel

Elmhurst College presented the inaugural Niebuhr Medal to Elie Wiesel at the College’s fifth annual Holocaust Education Guestship on April 2, 1995. An acclaimed author and recipient of the Nobel Prize for Peace, Wiesel is a Nazi death-camp survivor who speaks compellingly of his experiences—and of the need to remember.

Born in a small town in Transylvania, Wiesel was a teenager when he was deported to Auschwitz with his family. His mother and younger sister perished, his two older sisters survived. Elie and his father were later transported to Buchenwald, where his father died shortly before the camp was liberated in April 1945.

After the war, Wiesel studied in Paris and later became a journalist. He first wrote about his experiences in the death camps in the internationally acclaimed memoir, La Nuit, which has since been translated into more than 30 languages. Since then, he has written more than 40 books, both fiction and non-fiction.

Wiesel has served as chairman of the President's Commission on the Holocaust, founding chairman of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council, and chairman of the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity, an organization devoted to the struggle against indifference, intolerance and injustice.

Elie Wiesel won the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1986. Additional awards include the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the U.S. Congressional Gold Medal and the Medal of Liberty Award and the rank of Grand-Croix in the French Legion of Honor.

Since 1976, Wiesel has been the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Boston University, where he also holds the title of university professor.

 

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Excerpts from Wiesel's address to the College community at the Niebuhr Medal ceremony (pdf)

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