About Elie Wiesel

This timeline and bibliography are provided as a resource for learning more about the life and work of Nobel Laureate for Peace, Elie Wiesel. For more information about him and the work of The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity, visit http://www.eliewieselfoundation.org/.

Elie Wiesel speaks at Charlotte Latin School, 1997.


Courtesy of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

The Kellogg-Briand Pact renounces war as an instrument of national policy.

On September 30, Elie Wiesel is born in Sighet, Transylvania, then and now part of Romania.

Japan invades Manchuria, beginning hostilities in the Far East.

Adolf Hitler is appointed Chancellor of Germany and the Nazi party takes control of Germany's government. The first permanent concentration camp, Dachau, is established.

Nuremberg Race Laws against Jews are decreed, depriving Jews of German citizenship.

The SS renames its units deployed at concentration camps the "Death's Head Units," later known as "Death's Head Battalions." Reichsführer SS Heinrich Himmler is appointed chief of the German Police. The summer Olympic games are hosted in Berlin.

Japan invades China proper, initiating the Pacific War that would become a part of World War II.

Kristallnacht (night of crystal, also known as the night of broken glass): a government-organized pogrom against Jews in Germany, Austria, and the Sudeten region of Czechoslovakia results in widespread destruction of synagogues, businesses, and homes and the loss of at least 91 lives in November.

In April, Britain and France guarantee the integrity of Poland's borders after Hitler violates Munich Agreement of 1938 by invading and dismembering Czechoslovakia. In September, Germany invades Poland, starting World War II in Europe. In response, Great Britain, France, and the British Dominions declare war on Germany. In November, the first ghetto is established in Piotrków, Poland. Jews in parts of occupied Poland are forced to wear armbands bearing the Star of David for identification.

In spring, Germans conquer Denmark, Norway, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands; Winston Churchill becomes British Prime Minister. In May, Auschwitz concentration camp is established near the Polish city Oswiecim. Italy declares war on Britain and France in June. In August, at German and Italian arbitration, Romania is compelled to cede northern Transylvania, including Sighet, to Hungary. In autumn, Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia join the German-Italian alliance, called the Axis. German authorities begin to seal off ghettos in German-occupied Poland.

Elie Wiesel and his family become residents of Hungary.

Nazi Germany attacks the Soviet Union on June 22. The British and the Soviets sign a Mutual Assistance agreement. On July 31 Nazi Security Police chief Reinhard Heydrich is given authorization to plan and coordinate a "total" and "final" solution of the "Jewish Question." Construction of Auschwitz-Birkenau camp (Auschwitz II) begins in autumn. The U.S. enters World War II on December 8, a day after Germany's Axis partner, Japan, attacks the U.S. Naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. On December 8, the first of the killing centers in Nazi-occupied Poland begins operations.

Twelve-year-old Elie Wiesel begins studying the Kabbalah.

The Wannsee Conference held in Berlin in January in Berlin ensures the full cooperation of all state, Nazi Party, and SS agencies in implementing "the Final Solution"- a plan to murder the European Jews-under the coordination of the SS and police.

Jews in the Warsaw ghetto rise up against their oppressors. By the end of the year, the Germans and their Axis partners have killed more than four million European Jews.

Germany occupies Hungary in March. Between late April and early July, around 440,000 Hungarian Jews are deported from Hungary, most of them to Auschwitz. On June 6, D-Day, Anglo-American forces establish the first Allied beachhead in western Europe on the Normandy coast of German-occupied France. On June 22, Soviet forces begin a massive offensive in Belarus and advance to the outskirts of Warsaw in six weeks. Anne Frank's family is arrested by the German occupation authorities in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Reichsführer SS Heinrich Himmler orders a halt to the "Final Solution" in November 1944 and orders the destruction of the gas chambers at Auschwitz-Birkenau

Elie Wiesel is fifteen years old when he and his family are deported in May 1944 by the Hungarian gendarmerie and the German SS and police from Sighet to Auschwitz. His mother and younger sister perish; his two older sisters survive.

Soviet troops liberate Auschwitz on January 27. U.S. troops liberate Buchenwald on April 11. Germany surrenders on May 7; World War II in Europe ends on May 8. On September 2, the Pacific War ends with the surrender of Japan after the U.S. drops atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August. World War II is over. The United Nations is founded. Establishment of International Military Tribunal in August. On November 20, the trial of the top Nazi leaders begins in Nuremberg under the auspices of the International Military Tribunal. The Allies (France, Great Britain, the Soviet Union) indict 22 top-ranking Nazi leaders and six German and Nazi Party organizations for crimes against the peace, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.

SS units evacuate Auschwitz in January. Elie and his father are transferred to Buchenwald concentration camp, near Weimar Germany. Elie's father dies in January; Elie is liberated with the arrival of U.S. troops in April.

Eighteen of 21 defendants are convicted by the International Military Tribunal at the Nuremberg Trial; 12 are sentenced to death.

177 Nazi offenders are tried under the jurisdiction of the International Military Tribunal in 12 subsequent Nuremberg trials of second rank Nazi leaders. Thousands more Nazi perpetrators and their collaborators are tried in the four zones of occupied Germany and in the countries that Germany and its Axis partners occupied.

The State of Israel is created. On May 14, 1948, the last British forces withdraw from Palestine and the State of Israel is established in accordance with the United Nations Partition Plan that proposed the partition of Palestine into two states, an Arab state and a Jewish state.

The U.S. Congress passes the Displaced Persons Act, authorizing 200,000 displaced persons to enter the United States.

On December 9, 1948, in the shadow of the Holocaust, the United Nations approves the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. This convention establishes "genocide" as an international crime, which signatory nations "undertake to prevent and punish."

Elie Wiesel studies at the Sorbonne in Paris. He becomes interested in journalism.

Elie Wiesel goes to Jerusalem for the first time.

The United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide enters into force.

After studying at the Sorbonne, Elie Wiesel begins travelling around the world as a reporter for the Tel Aviv newspaper Yediot Ahronot.

During an interview with the distinguished French writer, Francois Mauriac, Elie is persuaded to write about his experiences in the death camps.

Elie Wiesel finishes a nearly 900-page manuscript in Yiddish while on assignment in Brazil. And the World Stayed Silent is published in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Shortly after moving to New York City to be a permanent correspondent, Elie Wiesel is struck by a taxicab.

Recovered from his injuries but still a stateless person with expired visas, Elie Wiesel naturalizes to the United States.

La Nuit (appearing in 1960 in English translation as Night) is published, and has since been translated into more than 30 languages.

Dawn is published.

Following his conviction for crimes against the Jewish people, Adolf Eichmann is executed in Jerusalem.

Elie Wiesel becomes an American citizen.

Elie Wiesel returns to Sighet and visits his childhood home.

He receives the Ingram Merill award and publishes The Town Beyond the Wall.

The Gates of the Forest and The Jews of Silence are published.

Legends of our Time, essays and stories, is published. Elie Wiesel wins the Prix Medicis.

Elie Wiesel marries Marion.

A Beggar in Jerusalem and One Generation After are published.

His son, Elisha Shlomo, is born. Elie Wiesel also serves as Distinguished Professor of Judaic Studies at the City University of New York (1972-76).

In Rwanda, Juvenal Habyarimana comes to power in a military coup.

The Oath is published.

Elie Wiesel receives the Jewish Heritage Award, Haifa University, and the Holocaust Memorial Award, New York Society of Clinical Psychologists.

Teaching has always been central to Elie Wiesel's work. Since 1976, he has been the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Boston University, where he also holds the title of University Professor. He is a member of the Faculty in the Department of Religion as well as the Department of Philosophy.

Egyptian president Anwar Sadat makes the first visit by an Arab leader to Israel since the foundation of the State of Israel in 1948.

President Jimmy Carter appoints Elie Wiesel as Chairman of the President's Commission on the Holocaust.

The United States Congress, by unanimous vote, establishes the United States Holocaust Memorial Council.

Elie Wiesel receives the Prix Liber Inter, France, the S.Y. Agnon Medal, and the Jabotinsky Medal, State of Israel.

The Testament is published.

Elie Wiesel is the first Henry Luce Visiting Scholar in Humanities and Social Thought at Yale University (1982-83).

A symbolic ground breaking ceremony is held at the site of the future United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

President Ronald Reagan presents Elie Wiesel with the U.S. Congressional Gold Medal of Achievement.

In December, Elie Wiesel wins the Nobel Prize for Peace. Soon after, he and his wife, Marion, establish The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity, an organization to fight indifference, intolerance and injustice.

Elie Wiesel testifies at the trial of Klaus Barbie.

The United States signs the Genocide Convention.

Twilight, a novel, is published.

From the Kingdom of Memory is published.

Sages and Dreamers, Portraits and Legends from the Bible, the Talmud, and the Hasidic Tradition is published.

Elie Wiesel gives address at the opening of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. The Museum opens to the public.

In response to the atrocities occurring in Bosnia, the United Nations Security Council issues resolution 827, establishing the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague. It is the first international criminal tribunal since Nuremberg.

Extremist leaders of Rwanda’s Hutu majority launch a campaign of extermination against the country’s Tutsi minority. In October, the UN Security Council extends the mandate of the ICTY to include a separate but linked tribunal for Rwanda, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), located in Arusha, Tanzania.

All Rivers Run to the Sea is published.

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda issues the world’s first conviction for genocide when Jean-Paul Akayesu is judged guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity for acts he engaged in and oversaw as mayor of the Rwandan town of Taba.

And the Sea is Never Full and King Solomon and his Magic Ring, a book for children, are published.

Elie Wiesel addresses the Days of Remembrance ceremony in the Capitol Rotunda, Washington D.C., saying "How does one mourn for six million people who died? How many candles does one light? How many prayers does one recite? Do we know how to remember the victims, their solitude, their helplessness? They left us without a trace, and we are their trace."

He is granted the rank of Grand-Croix in the French Legion of Honor, France (Commandeur, 1984; Grand Officier, 1990).

President Iliescu of Romania presents Wiesel with "The Star of Romania."

In November Wiesel addresses the Tribute to Holocaust Survivors, at the USHMM, Washington D.C. 

In July Elie Wiesel delivers remarks “On the Atrocities in Sudan” at the Darfur Emergency Summit, convened at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York on July 14, 2004, by the American Jewish World Service and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. In September U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that "genocide has been committed in Darfur."  

Elie Wiesel receives the Commander's Cross from the Republic of Hungary and delivers the Final Report of the International Commission on the Holocaust in Romania. Wiesel was chairman of the commission.

Elie Wiesel receives the Man of the Year award from the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, the Light of Truth award from the International Campaign for Tibet, and publishes The Time of the Uprooted, a novel.

Elie Wiesel travels to Auschwitz with Oprah Winfrey.










Courtesy of The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity.

Night, a memoir (1960)
Dawn, a novel (1961)
The Accident, a novel (1962) (later published in The Night Trilogy as Day - see below)
The Town Beyond the Wall, a novel (1964)
The Gates of the Forest, a novel (1966)
The Jews of Silence, a personal testimony (1966)
Legends of Our Time, essays and stories (1968)

A Beggar in Jerusalem, a novel (1970)
One Generation After, essays & stories (1971)
Souls on Fire: Portraits & Legends of Hasidic Masters (1972)
The Oath, a novel (1973)
Ani Maamin, a cantata (1973)
Zalmen, or The Madness of God, a play (1975)
Messengers of God: Biblical Portraits & Legends (1976)
Four Hasidic Masters, more portraits & legends (1978)
A Jew Today, essays, stories, & dialogues (1978)
The Trial of God, a play (1979)

The Testament, a novel (1980)
Images from the Bible (1980)
Five Biblical Portraits (1981)
Somewhere a Master, more Hasidic tales (1982)
Paroles d'étranger, essays, stories, & dialogues (1982)
The Golem, the retelling of a legend (1983)
The Fifth Son, a novel (1985)
Signes d'exode, essays, stories, & dialogues (1985)
Against Silence: The Voice & Vision of Elie Wiesel, collected shorter writings edited by Irving Abrahamson, 3 volumes (1985)
Night/Dawn/Day, his first memoir & first two novels (1985) (known as The Night Trilogy)
Job ou Dieu dans la tempête, dialogue & commentary with Josy Eisenberg (1986)
A Song for Hope, a cantata (1987)
The Nobel Speech (1987)
Twilight, a novel (1988)
The Six Days of Destruction, Meditations toward Hope, with Albert Friedlander (1988)
Silences et mémoire d'homme, essays & dialogues (1989)

From the Kingdom of Memory, Reminiscences (1990)
Evil and Exile, dialogues with Michael de Saint-Cheron (1990 & 2000)
A Journey of Faith, with John Cardinal O'Connor (1990)
Sages and Dreamers: Biblical, Talmudic, & Hasidic Portraits & Legends (1991)
Célébration talmudique, portraits of Talmudic Masters (1991)
The Forgotten, a novel (1992)
A Passover Haggadah, as told by Elie Wiesel (1993)
All Rivers Run to the Sea, Memoirs (1995)
Célébration prophétique, portraits and legends of the Prophets (1998)
Les Juges, a novel (1999)
King Solomon and His Magic Ring, a children's book, illustrated by Mark Podwal (1999)
And The Sea Is Never Full, Memoirs II (1999)

D'où viens-tu?, essays (2001)
Conversations with Elie Wiesel, with Richard Heffner (2001)
The Judges, a novel (2002)
After the Darkness, essays (2002)
Elie Wiesel: Conversations, Robert Franciosi, editor (2002)
Le temps des déracinés, a novel (2003)
Wise Men and Their Tales, portraits of Biblical, Talmudic, and Hasidic Masters (2003)
Et où vas-tu?, essays (2004)
The Time of the Uprooted, a novel (2005)
A Mad Desire to Dance, a novel (2009)
Rashi, a biography (2009)