Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Elie Wiesel, R.I.P.

Elie Wiesel, Romanian-born American Jewish political activist,
writer, professor, and holocaust survivor, passed away quietly
at his Manhattan home on July 2, aged 87. Author of 57 books,
including writing of his experiences in Hitler's concentration
camps at Auschwitz and Buchenwald, he helped establish the
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.
Wiesel dedicated the rest of his life after liberation from
Buchenwald by the U.S. Third Army on April 11, 1945,
at the end of the Second World War. Weak and emaciated,
he appeared in a famous and haunting photo with some of his
fellow prisoners taken by one of the soldiers, a photo which
became tragically iconic.

After the war, Wiesel lived in Paris where he studied French and
studied philosophy, psychology, and literature at the Sorbonne.
In time he became a journalist as well as a choirmaster. It would
be another decade following the war before Wiesel would begin
to write about his years in Nazi death camps. But once he began
to share his harrowing story, the world followed along in shock,
horror, sorrow, and ultimately hope, hope for understanding and
the beginning of a better, closer, more just world.

Wiesel was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986 for his speaking
out against violence, repression, and racism. He became renown
as not only an activist but as spiritual leader for his work.
Wiesel stated in his acceptance speech: "Silence encourages the
tormentor, never the tormented. When human lives are endangered,
when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities
become irrelevant."

Words of wisdom for us all. Rest in Peace, great soul.


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