Elie Wiesel was a Romanian-born American Jewish writer, professor, political activist, Nobel Laureate, and Holocaust survivor. He was the author of 57 books, written mostly in French and English, including Night, a work based on his experiences as a prisoner in the Auschwitz and Buchenwald concentration camps.
Along with writing, he was a professor of the humanities at Boston University, which created the Elie Wiesel Center for Jewish Studies in his honor. He was involved with Jewish causes, and helped establish the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. In his political activities he also campaigned for victims of oppression in places like South Africa and Nicaragua and genocide in Sudan. He publicly condemned the 1915 Armenian genocide and remained a strong defender of human rights during his lifetime. He had been described as "the most important Jew in America" by the Los Angeles Times.
Wiesel was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986, at which time 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 message "of peace, atonement, and human dignity" to humanity. He was a founding board member of the New York Human Rights Foundation, and remained active throughout his life.