Past Honorees

At Central Synagogue

Marion Wiesel
1993 Translator and Humanitarian Activist

Born in Vienna as Marion Erster, Marion is generally known as the wife of Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel. A Holocaust survivor herself, Marion Wiesel is also a tireless activist, and has worked with her husband on many humanitarian projects and publications throughout their marriage.

Mrs. Wiesel’s family escaped Austria during the Holocaust by hiring a guide to illegally transport them to Belgium. However, once the Nazis took over Belgium in 1940, her family was taken to an internment camp in France. Mrs. Wiesel’s family escaped from the camp in 1942 when her mother sold her jewelry to bribe another guide to take them across the border into Switzerland, where they remained until 1947.

In 1959, she married F. Peter Rose and they had a daughter named Jennifer in 1960. Marion divorced Peter in 1969 and married Eli Wiesel that same year in Jerusalem.

The pair became a writing team as well as a couple; fluent in five languages, Mrs. Wiesel translated his works, many of which were originally written in Yiddish or French.

In 1986 Mrs. Wiesel co-founded, with her husband, The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity. The foundation is dedicated to combating indifference, intolerance, and injustice. Their programs include an essay contest on the topic of ethics for high school students in the U.S. as well as international conferences for young people in conflict-ridden countries.

Marion Wiesel has two children – Jennifer, her daughter from her first marriage, and Elisha, her son with Mr. Wiesel.