Elie Wiesel was a Romanian-born Jewish author and professor who was sent along with his family to the Aushwitz and Buchenwald concentration camps at the age of 15. Wiesel and two of his three sisters managed to survive the camps, while his parents and youngest sibling did not. Post-war Elie began his writing career in France before emigrating to the United States where he became a citizen. The author of 57 books, Wiesels most famous work was Night which drew on his harrowing experiences in the Nazi death camps. Elie become a prominent political and humanitarian activist, devoting himself to causes around the world including fighting apartheid in South Africa as well as calling attention to the crisis in Sudan. He served as a founding board member of the Human Rights Foundation and helped to establish the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Among countless awards recognizing his human rights work, Wiesel received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986.
Illustration by Jessica Andrew
In a small city called Sapanta, very close to Elie’s hometown, is a truth-telling graveyard called the Merry Cemetery. It consists of hand painted tombstones that reveal honest stories of the people buried there, whether good or bad. Although this is not where Elie was buried, the embellished borders and bright colors reflect the style typically seen in Romanian art and serve as a fitting frame to honor Elie’s memory.
238,391 km2 (83rd)
Unitary semi-presidential republic