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.