1986 – Elie Wiesel, author, humanitarian
Elie Wiesel was fifteen years old when his entire family was taken from their homes in Romania to the Nazi concentration camps, first to Auschwitz where his mother and younger sister died, and then to Buchenwald where his father perished. He and his two older sisters were the family’s only survivors.
After the war, Wiesel studied in Paris and later became a distinguished journalist. His acclaimed memoir of the war, La Nuit or Night, was translated into more than thirty languages. In 1978, President Jimmy Carter appointed him as Chairman of the President’s Commission on the Holocaust. A dedicated advocate of tolerance and human rights, he is not only a devoted supporter of Israel but has also defended the cause of Nicaragua’s Miskito Indians, Argentina’s Desaparecidos, Cambodian refugees, the Kurds, victims of famine in Africa, victims of apartheid in South Africa, and victims of war in the former Yugoslavia.