In 1979 President Jimmy Carter (1924–) named Wiesel chair of the President's Commission on the Holocaust, which recommended creation of a memorial museum and educational center in Washington, . In 1980 Wiesel was appointed chairman to the . Holocaust Memorial Council. In 1985 Wiesel led the opposition to President Ronald Reagan's (1911–) trip to a German military cemetery which contained the graves of Adolf Hitler's (1889–1945) elite . Waffen soldiers.
Night is Elie Wiesel’s personal account of the Holocaust as seen through the eyes of a 15-year-old boy. The book describes Wiesel’s first encounter with prejudice and details the persecution of a people and the loss of his family. Wiesel’s experiences in the death camps of Auschwitz and Buchenwald are detailed; his accounts of starvation and brutality are shattering—a vivid testimony to the consequences of evil. Throughout the book, Wiesel speaks of the struggle to survive, the fight to stay alive while retaining those qualities that make us human. While Wiesel lost his innocence and many of his beliefs, he never lost his sense of compassion nor his inherent sense of right.
It is a painful irony that Eliezer and his father decide to be evacuated from Buna with the rest of the prisoners. Wiesel's tone in describing this tactical mistake is understated and quietly ironic. After Eliezer suggests to his father that they leave with the other prisoners, his father replies, "Let's hope that we shan't regret it, Eliezer." The very next paragraph reads: "I learned after the war the fate of those who had stayed behind in the hospital. They were quite simply liberated by the Russians two days after the evacuation." This casual, almost off-handed paragraph clearly conveys the bitter regret that Wiesel feels for having made the wrong decision, and like the narrator, we are haunted by how things could have turned out differently had they decided to stay.