CONTACT: MELVIN O. SHAW
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0010; fax (319) 384-0024
Editor's note: Elie Wiesel will not be available to meet with the media
at a press conference. Lecture attendees can submit handwritten questions
on cards available before the lecture. There will not be an open-microphone
question and answer session with Wiesel after the lecture.
Nobel Peace Prize winner, human rights pioneer Elie Wiesel lectures
at UI Oct. 14
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Elie Wiesel, the 1986 Nobel Peace Prize laureate
who once vowed never to speak of his experiences as a prisoner at the infamous
Auschwitz death camp, will present a lecture on human rights at 8 p.m.
Wednesday, Oct. 14 at Hancher Auditorium at the University of Iowa.
The lecture, "On the Threshold of the 21st Century," is part
of Global Focus: Human Rights '98, the UI's year-long commemoration of
the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Human Rights.
The lecture is free and is open to the public.
Wiesel and his six-member family were forcibly taken from their home
in Sighet, Transylvania (now Romania), and imprisoned at the World War
II camp when he was 15-years-old. His mother and a sister were later exterminated
in a camp gas chamber; his father died during the latter part of war, leaving
Weisel and his two sisters as the family's survivors.
Wiesel, who is the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities and
University Professor at Boston University, became a literary figure after
engrossing himself in literature, philosophy and psychology at the University
of Paris in Sorbonne. He first wrote of the eye-witnessed Holocaust atrocities
in 1948 after some persuasion by Nobel laureate and French writer Francois
In 1958 Wiesel received wide acclaim with the publication of La Nuit
(Night). The novel, detailing inside experiences of Jews within concentration
camps, has been translated into 25 languages. La Nuit's success
was followed by 35 later works on the Holocaust and Judaism.
"Elie Wiesel's visit to our campus is important not least because
of who Wiesel is and what he has done, keeping us forever reminded of one
of the most barbaric and treacherous episodes in all of human history.
His visit is important also because it was the Holocaust through which
Wiesel miraculously lived that was the catalyst for the Universal Declaration
of Human Rights and all the human rights initiatives that have followed
"It is an important visit, and we are very lucky," says Burns
Weston, chair of Global Focus: Human Rights '98.
Wiesel has defended the causes of Soviet Jews, Nicaragua's Miskito Indians,
Cambodian refugees, Kurds, Argentineans, apartheid opponents in Africa,
and Yugoslavian prisoners.
Wiesel and wife Marion, in 1987, established The Elie Wiesel Foundation
for Humanity, which has sponsored human rights conferences across the globe
and has been recognized by universities, governments and organizations
He holds a distinguished professorship at Boston University; he was
awarded The Presidential Medal of Freedom, The Congressional Gold Medal
of Achievement, and former President Jimmy Carter appointed Weisel Chairman
of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council in 1978. Wiesel holds the
rank of Grand Officer in the French Legion of Honor and is the author of
the trilogy Night, Dawn and Day, and All Rivers Run to the Sea.
For more information about HR '98 events, visit the Web site: http://www.uiowa.edu/~hr98