What was the importance of religion in Mr. Wiesel's life?
Judaism is central to Elie Wiesel's existence. It is not only the religion in which he was brought up, but it is the religion with which he continues to identify. As a survivor of the Holocaust, Wiesel has first-hand experience as the target of genocidal policies. How much Wiesel practices the basic tenets of his religion is secondary to his identification as a Jew. Following his release from the concentration camp in which he was held at the time of liberation, Wiesel dedicated his life to making sure that the horrors of the Holocaust would be known to future generations. Toward this end, he has had to contend with individuals, overwhelmingly driven by anti-semitism, who attempt to deny that the Holocaust occurred.
Wiesel's description of himself, uttered in response to the controversial practice of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints of posthumously baptizing Jews in an effort to "save" them, is suffiently telling: "I am a Jew. Born a Jew. Lived as a Jew. Tried to write about the Jewish condition..."