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Auschwitz survivor's home vandalized

August 5, 2018

Romanian police have opened an inquiry into anti-Semitic graffiti sprayed on the home of Auschwitz survivor and Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel. One of the comments said Wiesel, who died in 2016, was "in hell with Hitler."

Auschwitz survivor and Nobel Peace Prize Winner Elie Wiesel 1928 - 2016
Image: picture-alliance/CNP/AdMedia/D. Brack

Police are investigating after anti-Semitic slogans were scrawled on the home of late Nobel Prize winner Elie Wiesel. The small house, in the Romanian town of Sighetu Marmatiei, is a protected historical monument.

The graffiti, which appeared on Friday night, was quickly removed by authorities. A police spokesperson said investigators were studying closed-circuit TV footage from the town.

The World Jewish Congress has strongly condemned the "despicable anti-Semitic vandalism" in a message posted on Twitter.

'Unprecedented anti-Semitic act'

"This grotesque act represents an attack not only on the memory of Elie Wiesel but on all the victims of the Holocaust," said the National Institute for Holocaust Studies, which is named after Wiesel.

The Romanian group for Monitoring and Fighting Anti-Semitism called it an act of vandalism against the "memory of Elie Wiesel, the memory of the Holocaust victims and the souls of the Holocaust survivors."

The Israeli embassy in Romania has condemned an "unprecedented anti-Semitic act," and expressed the hope that those responsible would be swiftly brought to justice. 

Tragic life

Eliezer "Elie" Wiesel was born in 1928 in Transylvania, Romania. He was deported to Auschwitz along with his family when he was 15 years old. His mother and younger sister died in the camp and Wiesel was moved to Buchenwald with his father, who died shortly before Allied forces liberated the prisoners in 1945.

The Holocaust survivor lived in Paris after the end of World War II and studied to become a journalist, according to his biography on the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity website.

In the years that followed, Wiesel was motivated to write his book Night, about his experiences in the Nazi concentration camps. It sold more than 10 million copies. Night was the first book of the Holocaust memorial trilogy, which included Dawn and Day. He also authored over 60 books, mostly in French. These included A Beggar in Jerusalem, The TestamentThe Fifth Son and his memoirs.

Aside from his work as a writer, Wiesel also enjoyed a career as an academic, serving at Boston, Columbia and Yale universities. Wiesel was honored with the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986 for his lifelong work on raising awareness about the Holocaust. He died in 2016.

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kw/cmk (AP, AFP)