Saturday, July 2, 2016

Elie Wiesel September 30, 1928 – July 2, 2016 : Universal Lessons of the Holocaust. Never, Never, Never NEVER AGAIN ,

Elie Wiesel September 30, 1928 – July 2, 2016 : Universal Lessons of the Holocaust. Never, Never, Never NEVER AGAIN ,

Eliezer "ElieWiesel KBE (/ˈɛli wɪˈzɛl/; September 30, 1928 – July 2, 2016) was an American Romanian-born Jewish writer, professor, political activist, Holocaust survivor, and Nobel Laureate. He was the author of 57 books, written mostly in French and English, including Night, a work based on his experiences as a prisoner in the AuschwitzBuna, and Buchenwald concentration camps. Wiesel was also the Advisory Board chairman of the newspaper Algemeiner Journal. He was the Andrew Mellon Professor of the Humanities at Boston University, in Boston, Massachusetts.
When Wiesel was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986, the Norwegian Nobel Committee called him a "messenger to mankind," stating that through his struggle to come to terms with "his own personal experience of total humiliation and of the utter contempt for humanity shown in Hitler's death camps", as well as his "practical work in the cause of peace", Wiesel had delivered a powerful message "of peace, atonement and human dignity" to humanity.

Early life

The house in which Wiesel was born
Elie Wiesel was born in Sighet, Transylvania (now Sighetu Marmației), Maramureș Romania. in theCarpathian Mountains. His parents were Sarah Feig and Shlomo Wiesel. At home, Wiesel's family spoke Yiddish most of the time, but also German, Hungarian, and Romanian. Wiesel's mother, Sarah, was the daughter of Dodye Feig, a celebrated Vizhnitz Hasid and farmer from a nearby village. Dodye was active and trusted within the community. In the early years of his life, Dodye had spent a few months in jail for having helped Polish Jews who escaped and were hungry.
Wiesel's father, Shlomo, instilled a strong sense of humanism in his son, encouraging him to learn Hebrew and to read literature, whereas his mother encouraged him to study the Torah. Wiesel has said his father represented reason while his mother Sarah promoted faith.
Wiesel had three siblings – older sisters Beatrice and Hilda, and younger sister Tzipora. Beatrice and Hilda survived the war and were reunited with Wiesel at a French orphanage. They eventually emigrated to North America, with Beatrice moving to MontrealQuebec, Canada. Tzipora, Shlomo, and Sarah did not survive the Holocaust.

World War II

Buchenwald concentration camp, 1945. Wiesel is in the second row from the bottom, seventh from the left, next to the bunk post.
In 1940, when he was 15, Wiesel and his family, along with the rest of the town's Jewish population, were placed in one of the two confinement ghettos set up in Sighetu, the town where he had been born and raised. In May 1944 the Hungarian authorities under German pressure began to deport the Jewish community to the Auschwitz concentration camp.
After they were sent to Auschwitz, his mother and one of his sisters were killed soon after. Wiesel and his father were deported to the concentration camp at Buchenwald, where his father was also killed. In Night, Wiesel recalled the shame he felt when unable to help, he heard his father being beaten nearby. Weisel was tattooed as inmate number "A-7713" on his left arm. The camp was liberated by the U.S.Third Army on April 11, 1945.

After the war

After World War II, Wiesel taught Hebrew and worked as a choirmaster before becoming a professional journalist. He learned French, which became the language he used most frequently in writing. He wrote for Israeli and French newspapers, including Tsien in Kamf (in Yiddish).
In 1946, after learning of Irgun's bombing of the King David Hotel, Wiesel made an unsuccessful attempt to join the underground movement. In 1948 he translated articles from Hebrew to Yiddish for Irgun periodicals, but says he was not a member of the organization. In 1949 he travelled to Israel as a correspondent for the French newspaper L'arche. He then was hired as Paris correspondent for the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, subsequently becoming its roaming international correspondent.
For ten years after the war, Wiesel refused to write about or discuss his experiences during the Holocaust. However, a meeting with the French author François Mauriac, the 1952 Nobel Laureate in Literature who eventually became Wiesel's close friend, persuaded him to write about his experiences. Wiesel said that a discussion he had with The Rebbe Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson was a turning point in his writing of the Holocaust.
Wiesel first wrote the 900-page memoir Un di velt hot geshvign (And the World Remained Silent) in Yiddish, which was published in abridged form in Buenos Aires. Wiesel rewrote a shortened version of the manuscript in French, which was published as the 127-page La Nuit, and later translated into English as Night. Even with Mauriac's support, Wiesel had trouble finding a publisher for his book and initially it sold only a few copies.
In 1960 Arthur Wang of Hill & Wang agreed to pay a $100 pro-forma advance and published it in the United States in September that year as Night. The book agent was Georges Borchardt, then just starting his career. Borchardt was Wiesel's literary agent all his life.
The book sold just 1,046 copies over the next 18 months, but attracted interest from reviewers, leading to television interviews with Wiesel and meetings with literary figures such as Saul Bellow. "The English translation came out in 1960, and the first printing was 3,000 copies," Wiesel said in an interview. "And it took three years to sell them. Now, I get 100 letters a month from children about the book. And there are many, many million copies in print." The 1979 book and play The Trial of God are said to have been based on his real-life Auschwitz experience of witnessing three Jews who, close to death, conduct a trial against God, under the accusation that He has been oppressive of the Jewish people. Regarding his personal beliefs, Wiesel calls himself an agnostic.
Night has been translated into 30 languages. By 1997 the book was selling 300,000 copies annually in the United States alone. By March 2006, about six million copies were sold in the United States. On January 16, 2006, Oprah Winfrey chose the work for her book club. One million extra paperback and 150,000 hardcover copies were printed carrying the "Oprah's Book Club" logo, with a new translation by Wiesel's wife, Marion, and a new preface by Wiesel. On February 12, 2006, the new translation of Night was No. 1 on The New York Times bestseller list for paperback non-fiction, and the original translation placed third.
Film director Orson Welles approached Wiesel about making Night into a feature film. Wiesel refused, saying that his widely read memoir would lose its meaning if it were told without the silences in between his words.

Life in the United States

In 1955, Wiesel moved to Washington, D.C., having become a U.S. citizen. He was offered this citizenship to resolve his status of living with an expired visa from being forced to stay in New York due to an injury. In 1964 The Rebbe  Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson encouraged Wiesel to get married.Wiesel went on to marry Marion and they had a son, Elisha.[24] In the US, Wiesel wrote over 40 books, both fiction and non-fiction, and won many literary prizes. Wiesel's writing is considered among the most important in Holocaust literature. Some historians credit Wiesel with giving the term "Holocaust" its present meaning, but he did not feel that the word adequately described the event and wished it would be used less frequently to describe significant occurrences as everyday tragedies.
He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986 for speaking out against violencerepression, and racism. He received many other prizes and honors for his work, including the Congressional Gold Medal in 1985, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and The International Center in New York's Award of Excellence. Additionally, he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1996
Wiesel also played a role in the initial success of The Painted Bird by Jerzy Kosinski by endorsing it before revelations that the book was fiction and, in the sense that it was presented as all Kosinski's true experience, a hoax.[26][27]
Wiesel published two volumes of his memoirs. The first, All Rivers Run to the Sea, was published in 1994 and covered his life up to the year 1969. The second, titled And the Sea is Never Full and published in 1999, covered 1969 to 1999.
Wiesel and his wife, Marion, started the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity. He served as chairman for the Presidential Commission on the Holocaust (later renamed US Holocaust Memorial Council) from 1978 to 1986, spearheading the building of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., during which he pleaded for intervention during the persecutions in Yugoslavia after a visit in December 1992.
Wiesel was particularly fond of teaching and held the position of Andrew Mellon Professor of the Humanities at Boston University, where he became a close friend of the president and chancellor John Silber. From 1972 to 1976 Wiesel was a Distinguished Professor at the City University of New York and member of the American Federation of Teachers. In 1982 he served as the first Henry Luce Visiting Scholar in Humanities and Social Thought at Yale University. He also co-instructed Winter Term (January) courses at Eckerd CollegeSt. Petersburg, Florida. From 1997 to 1999 he was Ingeborg Rennert Visiting Professor of Judaic Studies at Barnard College of Columbia University.
Wiesel in 1987.
Wiesel co-founded Moment Magazine with Leonard Fein in 1975. They founded the magazine to provide a voice for American Jews.
Wiesel became a popular speaker on the subject of the Holocaust. As a political activist, he advocated for many causes, including Israel, the plight of Soviet and Ethiopian Jews, the victims of apartheid in South Africa, Argentina'sDesaparecidos, Bosnian victims of genocide in the former Yugoslavia, Nicaragua's Miskito Indians, and the Kurds. Conversely, he withdrew from his role as chair of the International Conference on the Holocaust and Genocide, and made efforts to abort the conference, in deference to Israeli objection to the inclusion of sessions on the Armenian genocide.
In 2004 he voiced support for intervention in Darfur, Sudan at the Darfur Emergency Summit convened at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York by the American Jewish World Service and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. He also led a commission organized by the Romanian government to research and write a report, released in 2004, on the true history of the Holocaust in Romania and the involvement of the Romanian wartime regime in atrocities against Jews and other groups, including the Roma. The Romanian government accepted the findings in the report and committed to implementing the commission's recommendations for educating the public on the history of the Holocaust in Romania. The commission, formally called the International Commission for the Study of the Holocaust in Romania, came to be called the Wiesel Commission in honor of his leadership.
Wiesel was a member of the International Council of the New York–based Human Rights Foundation.
On March 27, 2001, Wiesel appeared at the University of Florida for Jewish Awareness Month and was presented with an honorary degree from the University of Florida.
In 2002, he inaugurated the Elie Wiesel Memorial House in Sighet, in his childhood home.

Later life

President George W. Bush, joined by the Dalai Lama and Wiesel, October 17, 2007, to the ceremony at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., for the presentation of theCongressional Gold Medal to the Dalai Lama
In early 2006, Wiesel traveled to Auschwitz with Oprah Winfrey, a visit which was broadcast as part of The Oprah Winfrey Show on May 24, 2006.Wiesel said that this would most likely be his last trip there. In September 2006, he appeared before the UN Security Council with actor George Clooney to call attention to the humanitarian crisis in Darfur. On November 30, 2006, Wiesel received a knighthood in London in recognition of his work toward raising Holocaust education in the United Kingdom.
During the early 2007 selection process for the Kadima candidate for President of IsraelPrime Minister Ehud Olmert reportedly offered Wiesel the nomination (and, as the ruling-party candidate and an apolitical figure, likely the presidency), but Wiesel "was not very interested." Shimon Peres was chosen as the Kadima candidate (and later President) instead.
In 2007, Wiesel was awarded the Dayton Literary Peace Prize's Lifetime Achievement Award.That same year, the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity issued a letter condemning Armenian genocide denial, a letter that was signed by 53 Nobel laureates including Wiesel. Wiesel has repeatedly called Turkey's 90-year-old campaign to downplay its actions during the Armenian genocide a double killing.
Wiesel was a member of the International Advisory Board of NGO Monitor.
Wiesel and his wife invested their life savings, and the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity invested nearly all of its assets (approximately $15.2 million USD) through Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme, an experience Wiesel later spoke about at a Condé Nast roundtable. Although an exact recovery percentage is not yet known, as of April 2013, 53% of victims' monies have been recovered and returned to them. In a New York Times article, Wiesel called Madoff a "thief, scoundrel, criminal."
Elie Wiesel at a celebration for President Obama inauguration in 2009
In 2009, Wiesel criticized the Vatican for lifting the excommunication of controversial bishop Richard Williamson, a member of the Society of Saint Pius X.
On June 5, 2009, Wiesel accompanied US President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkelas they toured Buchenwald. Merkel and Wiesel each spoke about Buchenwald in personal terms, with Merkel considering the responsibility of Germans vis-à-vis Nazi history, and Wiesel reflecting on the suffering and death of his father in the camp.
Wiesel returned to Hungary for the first visit since the Holocaust between December 9–11, 2009, by the invitation of Rabbi Slomó Köves, executive rabbi of the Unified Hungarian Jewish Congregation and the Hungarian branch of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement. During his visit, Wiesel participated in a conference at the Upper House Chamber of the Hungarian Parliament, met Prime Minister Gordon Bajnai and PresidentLászló Sólyom, and made a speech to the approximately 10,000 participants of an anti-racist gathering held in Faith Hall. The speech was broadcast live by Magyar ATV, a nationwide television channel.
In November 2011, Wiesel accepted an appointment to the Board of Visitors of Ralston College, a start-up liberal arts college based in Savannah, Georgia.
In June 2012, he protested against "the whitewashing of tragic and criminal episodes" that happened in Hungary during the Holocaust. He gave up the Great Cross award received from the Hungarian government and sent a letter to László Kövér, the Speaker of Hungarian Parliament, where he criticized him for his participation in a ceremony celebrating József Nyírő, a loyal member of Hungary's World War II fascist parliament. During the short rule of the Arrow Cross Party, which led a government in Hungary, ten to fifteen thousand Jews were murdered outright, and 80,000 Jews, including many women, children and elderly were deported from Hungary to their deaths in the Auschwitz concentration camp. In his letter Wiesel wrote:
It has become increasingly clear that Hungarian authorities are encouraging the whitewashing of tragic and criminal episodes in Hungary's past, namely the wartime Hungarian governments' involvement in the deportation and murder of hundreds of thousands of its Jewish citizens. I found it outrageous that the Speaker of the Hungarian National Assembly could participate in a ceremony honoring a Hungarian fascist ideologue.
Wiesel was currently an adviser at the Gatestone Institute. In 2010, Wiesel accepted a five-year appointment as a Distinguished Presidential Fellow at Chapman University. In that role, he made a one-week visit to Chapman annually to meet with students and offer his perspective on subjects ranging from Holocaust history to religion, languages, literature, law and music.
Wiesel was in attendance and his famous "Never Again" quote was recited by the Israeli prime minister's Benjamin Netanyahu; during Netanyahu 2015 address to United States congress.
2007 attack on Wiesel
Elie Wiesel at the 2008 World Economic Forum.
Wiesel was attacked in a San Francisco hotel by 22-year-old Holocaust denier Eric Hunt in February 2007. Hunt was arrested the following month and charged with multiple offences.
Baptism against his knowledge or desire
In February 2012, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints performed a posthumous baptism of Simon Wiesenthal's parents. After Wiesel's name had been submitted to be proxy baptised, he spoke out against the practice of posthumously baptizing Jews and asked presidential candidate and Latter-day SaintMitt Romney to denounce it.
Iran and Gaza
In December 2013 Wiesel wrote an ad in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal declaring that "Iran must not be allowed to remain nuclear", and that "If there is one lesson I hope the world has learned from the past it is that regimes rooted in brutality must never be trusted. And the words and actions of the leadership of Iran leave no doubt as to their intentions."
In an August 4, 2014, full-page advertisement in The New York Times and other newspapers, Wiesel condemned Hamas for the "use of children as human shields" during the 2014 Israel-Gaza ConflictThe Times (London) refused to run the advertisement, saying "the opinion being expressed is too strong and too forcefully made and will cause concern amongst a significant number of Times readers."
Wiesel lived in Greenwich, Connecticut.

Opinions about Jerusalem

Wiesel has often emphasized the Jewish connection to Jerusalem, and has criticized the Obama administration for pressuring Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to halt East Jerusalem Israeli settlement construction. He has explained that "Jerusalem is above politics. It is mentioned more than six hundred times in Scripture—and not a single time in the Koran.... It belongs to the Jewish people and is much more than a city..."

Awards and honors

  • Prix de l'Université de la Langue Française (Prix Rivarol) for The Town Beyond the Wall, 1963.
  • National Jewish Book Council Award for The Town Beyond the Wall, 1963.
  • Ingram Merrill award, 1964.
  • Prix Médicis for A Beggar in Jerusalem, 1968.
  • Jewish Heritage Award, Haifa University, 1975.
  • Holocaust Memorial Award, New York Society of Clinical Psychologists, 1975.
  • S.Y. Agnon Medal, 1980.
  • Jabotinsky Medal, State of Israel, 1980.
  • Prix Livre Inter, France, for The Testament, 1980.
  • Grand Prize in Literature from the City of Paris for The Fifth Son, 1983
  • Commander in the French Legion of Honor, 1984.
  • U.S. Congressional Gold Medal, 1984.
  • Four Freedom Award for the Freedom of Worship, 1985.
  • Medal of Liberty, 1986.
  • Nobel Peace Prize, 1986.
  • Grand Officer in the French Legion of Honor, 1990.
  • Presidential Medal of Freedom, 1992
  • Niebuhr Medal, Elmhurst College, Illinois, 1995.
  • Grand Cross in the French Legion of Honor, 2000.
  • Star of Romania, 2002.
  • Man of the Year award, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, 2005.
  • Light of Truth award, International Campaign for Tibet, 2005.
  • Honorary Knighthood, United Kingdom, 2006.
  • Honorary Visiting Professor of Humanities, Rochester College, 2008.
  • National Humanities Medal, 2009.
  • Norman Mailer Prize, Lifetime Achievement, 2011.
  • Loebenberg Humanitarian Award, Florida Holocaust Museum, 2012.
  • Nadav Award, 2012.[84]
  • S. Roger Horchow Award for Greatest Public Service by a Private Citizen, an award given out annually by Jefferson Awards, 2013
  • John Jay Medal for Justice John Jay College, 2014

Honorary degrees

  • Doctor of Humane Letters, Siena Heights University, Adrian, MI, 1984
  • Doctor of Humane Letters, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA, 1985.
  • Doctor of Humane Letters, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL, 1988
  • Doctor of Humane Letters, DePaul University, Chicago, 1997
  • Doctorate, Seton Hall University, New Jersey, 1998.
  • Doctor of Humanities, Michigan State University, 1999.
  • Doctorate, McDaniel College, Westminster, MD, 2005.
  • Doctor of Humane Letters, Chapman University, 2005.
  • Doctor of Humane Letters, Dartmouth College, 2006.
  • Doctor of Humane Letters, Cabrini College, Radnor, PA, 2007.
  • Doctor of Humane Letters, University of Vermont, 2007.
  • Doctor of Humanities, Oakland University, Rochester, Michigan, 2007.
  • Doctor of Letters, City College of New York, 2008.[
  • Doctorate, Tel Aviv University, 2008.
  • Doctorate, Weizmann InstituteRehovotIsrael, 2008.
  • Doctor of Humane Letters, Bucknell University, Lewisburg, PA, 2009.
  • Doctor of Letters, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA, 2010.
  • Doctor of Humane Letters, Washington University in St. Louis, 2011.
  • Doctor of Humane Letters, College of Charleston, 2011.
  • Doctorate, University of Warsaw, June 25, 2012.
  • Doctorate, The University of British Columbia, September 10, 2012.


Elie Wiesel died on July 2, 2016 in Manhattan, New York at the age of 87.

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