Elie Wiesel, the Holocaust survivor and Nobel laureate who became a leading icon of Holocaust remembrance and a global symbol of conscience, died Saturday at 87. His death was the result of natural causes, the World Jewish Congress said in a statement.
A philosopher, professor and author of such seminal works of Holocaust literature as “Night” and “Dawn,” Wiesel perhaps more than any other figure came to embody the legacy of the Holocaust and the worldwide community of survivors.
“I have tried to keep memory alive,” Wiesel said at the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in 1986. “I have tried to fight those who would forget. Because if we forget, we are guilty, we are accomplices.”
Often he would say the “opposite of love is not hate, it is indifference.”
The quest to challenge indifference was a driving force in Wiesel’s writing, advocacy and public presence. Though he considered himself primarily a writer, by the end of the 1970s he had settled into the role of moral compass, a touchstone for presidents and a voice that challenged easy complacency about history.