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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

IMMIGRANT OF THE DAY: ELIE WIESEL - NOBEL PEACE PRIZE WINNER

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Elie Wiesel's life began peacefully, but as with every Jew in Europe, it was torn apart by the terror of the Nazi Holocaust. He was deported from his native Romania to the Auschwitz Concentration Camp, the site of more than a million murders in the half decade of its existence. His mother, father and one of his three sisters were murdered. After the war, Elie and his two surviving sisters were placed in a French orphanage. For ten years, he was unwilling to speak or write about his experience, but he was persuaded by his friend Francois Mauriac, a Nobel Literature Prize winner, to write about the war as a form of therapy. 



Wiesel immigrated to the US in 1955 and became a citizen within a few years. In 1958, he wrote Night, the first of 40 books. He has also been a well known activist around the world in matters relating to genocide and spearheaded the creation of the Smithsonian's Holocaust Museum in Washington. He has been recognized for his work including being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986 and being granted honorary knighthood by Queen Elizabeth in 2006. He . His profile in the US recently rose again when Oprah Winfrey selected Night as her book club selection instantly bringing the half century title to the top of the bestseller list, something it did not achieve in its initial publication. His recent visit back to Auschwitz with Oprah Winfrey brought awareness of genocide in the world to millions of Americans and he was provided a platform for raising awareness of genocide in Darfur, a subject that has recently been taking up much of his attention.

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