President Barack Obama remembered Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel in a heartfelt tribute, where he called the late author and Holocaust survivor a “living memorial.”
“Elie Wiesel was one of the great moral voices of our time, and in many ways, the conscience of the world. Tonight, Michelle and I join people across the United States, Israel, and around the globe in mourning the loss and celebrating the life of a truly remarkable human being,” Obama said of the writer, who died Saturday at age 87. “Elie was not just the world’s most prominent Holocaust survivor, he was a living memorial.”
Obama continued: “As a writer, a speaker, an activist, and a thinker, he was one of those people who changed the world more as a citizen of the world than those who hold office or traditional positions of power,” he said. “His life, and the power of his example, urges us to be better. In the face of evil, we must summon our capacity for good. In the face of hate, we must love. In the face of cruelty, we must live with empathy and compassion. We must never be bystanders to injustice or indifferent to suffering. Just imagine the peace and justice that would be possible in our world if we all lived a little more like Elie Wiesel… May God bless the memory of Elie Wiesel, and may his soul be bound up in the bond of eternal life.”
Wiesel wrote over 40 works of fiction and nonfiction throughout his career, including the internationally acclaimed novel Night, inspired by his experiences in Nazi concentration camps during World War II. Originally published in France in 1958, Night was later published in English beginning in 1960.
Wiesel went on to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986 for his humanitarian efforts, having spoken out against racism, repression, and violence ahead of establishing the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity, which, according to its mission statement, aims to “combat indifference, intolerance, and injustice through international dialogues and youth-focused programs that promote acceptance, understanding, and equality.”
Read Obama’s full statement on Wiesel’s death here.