It can be said, however, that Elie Wiesel was best known for his role in keeping alive the memory of the Holocaust and for promoting Holocaust education. Over the years, he spoke of these subjects innumerable times, before countless audiences, around the globe.

In 1978, U.S. President Jimmy Carter appointed him as chairman of the Presidential Commission on the Holocaust (later renamed the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council), a role in which he served until 1986. In that capacity, Wiesel became a major, driving force behind the establishment of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. His words, “For the dead and the living, we must bear witness” are engraved in stone at the entrance to the museum.

In 1986, after receiving the Nobel, he and his wife established the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity to combat intolerance and injustice around the world through dialogue in general, and via programs for youth. The following year Wiesel served as a witness during the trial of war criminal Klaus Barbie in Lyons, France, during which he spoke of his bitter experiences in Auschwitz.