Wiesel was born in 1928 in Sighet, Transylvania, which is now part of Romania. In his memoir, which has been translated into dozens of languages, Wiesel detailed his experience in the Auschwitz concentration camp, where he was sent with his family at the age of 15. The memoir has since come to be seen as essential reading in understanding the horrors and history of the Holocaust.
An outspoken human rights activist and advocate for Holocaust education, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986. The committee praised him as “one of the most important spiritual leaders and guides in an age when violence, repression and racism continue to characterize the world.”
In an interview with TIME in 2006, Wiesel discussed his goal of advocating for peace and humility, especially among world leaders.
“My mission has not changed, because I don’t think the world has changed,” he said. “In the beginning, I thought, Maybe my witness will be received, and things will change. But they don’t. Otherwise we wouldn’t have had Rwanda and Darfur and Cambodia and Bosnia. Human nature cannot be changed in one generation.”
Wiesel’s death was reported Saturday by media outlets including the New York Times, which cited a friend.
This story originally appeared on Time.com