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Elie Wiesel's Night and the Holocaust

Primary Source Set

Published in English in 1960, Elie Wiesel’s Night is an autobiographical account of his experience in the Nazi concentration camps of Auschwitz and Buchenwald from 1944-1945. Wiesel was born in Sighet, Romania in 1928, and raised in the Jewish faith. He was just fifteen years old when he and his family were deported to Auschwitz II-Birkenau in a cattle car. His mother and younger sister both perished at Auschwitz, while Wiesel and his father remained together through several camp transfers within Auschwitz and a death-march evacuation from Auschwitz III, the Monowitz-Buna camp, to Buchenwald. He lost his father on January 29, 1945 but managed to stay alive and was liberated by the American army on April 11, 1945.

It was ten years before Wiesel could write his memoir about his experiences within the concentration camps, and then he struggled to get it published; the world was not ready to hear about the atrocities of Hitler’s Final Solution. However, Night was well-reviewed and would later go on to sell over ten million copies. Wiesel continued to write over the years, becoming one of the most prominent voices among Holocaust survivors. In 1986, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Elie Wiesel died on July 2, 2016 in Manhattan.

Additional resources for research

  1. Elie Wiesel,” Holocaust Encyclopedia, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
  2. Introduction to the Holocaust,” Holocaust Encyclopedia, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
  3. Online Exhibitions, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
  4. Holocaust, Facing History and Ourselves.

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