Sunday, July 3, 2016

Elie Wiesel, R. I. P.

Eliezer “Elie” Wiesel (1928-2016)
Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize winner

Elie Wiesel’s life is a powerful reminder that when good men do nothing, evil will triumph.

Wiesel survived three concentration camps during World War II, and spent his life fighting to sustain our memory of the Holocaust and to champion the causes of peace as he understood them. He was not inclined to be bashful about provoking strong feelings.

I saw and heard Wiesel in the mid-1960s when I was a college freshman at Lehigh University. At that time, early in his career, he was relentlessly taking the story of the Holocaust to venues all over the world. I recall that he said many German concentration camp guards were well educated, and my livid memory is his explanation that SS troopers who were intellectually committed to the Nazi cause were the most reliable instruments of the Final Solution.

Elie Wiesel, second row from bottom , seventh from left next to post
His 1996 film, “Elie Wiesel Goes Home,” is close to unbearably candid about the pathos of his life. The documentary follows his return to his birthplace in Sighet, Romania, and his conversations with other survivors about the fates of their families and friends when Germans sent all the Jews in the village to Auschwitz-Birkenau in May 1944.

Wiesel never stopped remembering the horror of the camps. He never stopped looking at the number “A-7713” tattooed on his left arm. He helped me to understand why it’s important that we never forget.

Elie Wiesel, requiescat in pace.

Copyright © Richard Carl Subber 2016 All rights reserved.

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