Friday, December 19, 2008


Elie Wiesel (born Eliezer Wiesel in 1928) is a Jewish writer, professor, political activist, Nobel Laureate and Holocaust survivor. He is the author of 57 books, the best known of which is Night, a memoir that describes his experiences during the Holocaust and his imprisonment in several concentration camps. Wiesel was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986.

He was born in Sighetu Marmaţiei, Maramureş, Romania, to Shlomo and Sarah Wiesel. Sarah was the daughter of Dodye Feig, a Hasid and farmer from a nearby village. Shlomo was an Orthodox Jew of Hungarian descent, and a shopkeeper who ran his own grocery store. He was active and trusted within the community, and had spent a few months in jail for having helped Polish Jews who escaped and were hungry in the early years of his life. It was Shlomo who instilled a strong sense of humanism in his son, encouraging him to learn Modern Hebrew and to read literature, whereas his mother encouraged him to study Torah and Kabbalah. Wiesel has said his father represented reason, and his mother, faith. Visit the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity.

Source: Wikipedia

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Brassaï, pseudonym of Gyula Halász (1899-1984), is considered one of the greatest photographers of the 20th century. Halász was born in the Transylvanian town of Braşov, Romania, to a Hungarian father and an Armenian mother. At age three, his family moved to live in Paris for a year, while his father, a Professor of Literature, taught at the Sorbonne. As a young man, Gyula Halász studied painting and sculpture in Budapest, before joining a cavalry regiment of the Austro-Hungarian army, where he served until the end of the I World War. In 1920 Halász went to Berlin, where he worked as a journalist and studied at the Academy of Fine Arts.

In 1924 he moved to Paris where he would live the rest of his life. Living amongst the huge gathering of artists in the Montparnasse Quarter, he took a job as a journalist. Halász's job and his love of the city, whose streets he often wandered late at night, led to photography. He later wrote that photography allowed him to seize the Paris night and the beauty of the streets and gardens, in rain and mist. Using the name of his beloved birthplace, Gyula Halász went by the pseudonym Brassaï, which means from Braşov.

Source: Wikipedia

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Palade: Romanian Nobel Prize

George Emil Palade (1912-2008) was a highly regarded Romanian cell biologist. In 1974, he received the Nobel Prize in Medicine for discovering the vacuole. Palade also received the US National Medal of Science in Biological Sciences in 1986, and was previously elected Member of the National Academy of Science in 1961.

Palade was born in Iaşi, Romania; his father was a Professor of Philosophy at the University and his mother was a high school teacher. Both parents strongly encouraged George to further develop his abilities through higher education at the university. Palade received his M.D. in 1940 from the School of Medicine of the University of Bucharest. He was a member of the faculty of that famous school until 1945 when he went to the USA for postdoctoral studies. There, he joined Prof. Albert Claude at the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research. Read his autobiographical article here.

Source: Wikipedia