Wiesel granted honorary knighthood

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Elie Wiesel is to be presented with an honorary knighthood by the British government next month for his services to Holocaust education in the UK.

Wiesel, an author, academic and human rights campaigner, will be presented with the award by Foreign Secretary Margaret Becket at a ceremony at the Foreign Office on November 30. Following the award, Wiesel, vice chairman of the Yad Vashem Council and chairman of the US Holocaust Memorial Council, will be guest of honor at a dinner hosted by Yad Vashem UK.

On learning of the award, Wiesel said: “I am grateful for the honor and hope it will help us serve the noble and urgent cause of remembrance.”

After surviving Auschwitz and Buchenwald, Wiesel dedicated his life to ensuring that the Holocaust is never forgotten. He is the author of 36 educational works dealing with Judaism, the Holocaust and the fight against racism.

In 1986 he received the Nobel Peace Prize. He was also awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1985 and established the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity in 1987. Its mission to advance the cause of human rights and peace throughout the world by creating a new forum for the discussion of urgent ethical issues confronting humankind.

Wiesel has given the world an insight into the horrors of the Nazi regime. His more than 45 books have won numerous awards. His first book, written in 1958, the internationally acclaimed Night, details his own experience in the death camps and is used as an educational tool in schools across the UK.

Jeffrey Pinnick, chairman of Yad Vashem UK, said: “Elie Wiesel’s life has been dedicated to keeping the memory of the Holocaust alive and we are thrilled that the British government has recognized his unique and far-reaching contribution in the UK.

“No other individual has played such an influential role in ensuring that the next generation can learn from the lessons of the Holocaust. Yad Vashem UK feels privileged to work alongside such an inspirational and exceptional individual.”

The Yad Vashem UK Foundation’s mission is to ensure that the tragedy of the Holocaust is never forgotten, honor the memory of those who perished and to impart the legacy of the Holocaust to shape a more humane future.

The foundation is involved in remembrance and in the field of informal education. It organizes day visits to Auschwitz and works closely with educators at Jewish schools and youth movements across the UK.

It has just launched its “Guardian of the Memory” campaign, which seeks to enlist the support of every Jew in the UK, as well as those of other faiths, to become a “guardian” of a victim of the Holocaust to ensure that each victim will never be forgotten.