Nobel laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel has died at the age of 87, the AP reports. The death of one of the world's foremost witnesses and humanitarians was announced Saturday. Wiesel summed up his mission in 1986 when accepting the Nobel Peace Prize: "Whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation, take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented." For more than a half-century, he voiced his passionate beliefs to world leaders, celebrities, and general audiences in the name of victims of violence and oppression. He wrote more than 40 books, but his most influential by far was Night, a classic ranked with Anne Frank's diary as standard reading about the Holocaust.
Wiesel's prolific stream of speeches, essays, and books emerged from the helplessness of a teenager deported from Hungary to Auschwitz. Tattooed with the number A-7713, he was freed in 1945—but only after his mother, father, and one sister had all died in Nazi camps. Wiesel spoke at the dedication of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington in 1993. His words are now carved in stone at its entrance: "For the dead and the living, we must bear witness." Despite Wiesel's mission to remind the world of past mistakes, the greatest disappointment of his life was that "nothing changed," he said in an interview. "Human nature remained what it was. Society remained what it was. Too much indifference in the world, to the Other, his pain, and anguish, and hope."