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Holocaust Chronicler Elie Wiesel Dead At 87

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Elie Wiesel

Elie Wiesel

Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel has died at the age of 87, Israel's Holocaust memorial Yad Vashem says.

"Yad Vashem mourns the passing of Elie Wiesel -- Holocaust survivor, Nobel laureate, renowned author," the museum said on Twitter on July 2.

Wiesel died at his home in New York City of unannounced causes.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a statement saying that “Elie Wiesel served as a ray of light and an example of humanity that believes in the goodness of man." Israeli President Reuven Rivlin called Wiesel “a hero of the Jewish people."

U.S. President Barack Obama described Wiesel as "the conscience of the world."

“He raised his voice, not just against anti-Semitism, but against hatred, bigotry, and intolerance in all its forms,” Obama said. “He implored each of us, as nations and as human beings, to do the same, to see ourselves in each other and to make real that pledge of ‘never again.’”

Germany’s justice minister, Heiko Maas, posted on Twitter that Wiesel was a “witness of the Holocaust and chronicler of the indescribable.” French President Francois Hollande call Wiesel “a grand humanist [and a] tireless defender of peace.”

Born in 1928 in the Romanian town of Sighet, Wiesel wrote extensively of his experiences in Nazi concentration camps and promoted Holocaust education.

His book Night, considered among the most important works documenting the horrors of the Holocaust, is based on his time as a prisoner in the Auschwitz, Buna, and Buchenwald concentration camps.

Wiesel's mother, father, and one sister died in the Holocaust. Another sister survived.

Wiesel was awarded the Nobel peace Prize in 1996, with the Norwegian Nobel Committee describing him as “as one of the most important spiritual leaders and guides in an age when violence, repression, and racism continue to characterize the world.”

"Whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation, take sides," Wiesel said in his Nobel acceptance speech. "Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented."

Wiesel is survived by his wife, Marion, and their son, Elisha.

With reporting by Reuters, Haaretz, AP, and dpa
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