Elie Wiesel passes away

July 3, 2016 by J-Wire Staff
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1986 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Elie Wiesel, has passed away at the age of 87.

Elie Wiesel received the Presidential medal in 2013 Photo: GPO

Elie Wiesel received the Presidential medal in 2013 Photo: GPO

World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder called Wiesel “a beacon of light” and said the Jewish world “owes him an enormous debt of gratitude.”

Wiesel was honored by the World Jewish Congress in 2010, with the Guardian of Jerusalem Prize, and in 2013, with the World Jewish Congress’ highest honor, the Theodor Herzl Award.

Ronald S. Lauder declared: “Elie Wiesel was more than a revered writer. He was also a teacher for many of us. He taught us about the horrors of Auschwitz. He taught us about Judaism, about Israel, and about not being silent in the face of injustice.

“Elie once remarked: ‘This is what we must do: not to sleep well when people suffer anywhere in the world, not to sleep well when someone is persecuted, not to sleep well when people are hungry all over here or there, not to sleep well when there are people sick and nobody is there to help them, not to sleep well when anyone somewhere needs you.’

“He never slept. And he woke others when he saw injustice. Himself a survivor of the Nazi genocide, he knew what he was talking about when he raised the plight of persecuted people in Rwanda, or the former Yugoslavia, or in other parts of the world.

“Through his many books and articles, he brought the Holocaust into public consciousness like no other writer.

“Elie was at home everywhere, in the Old World and the New World, in Yiddish, Hungarian, French, English and Hebrew. He was at ease with world leaders, and many US presidents and world statesmen sought his counsel.

“Although he was always a soft-spoken man, his message was clear and straightforward. Elie was also a vocal advocate for Israel. And when he spoke, he had something to say, and people listened to him.

“It is now almost 30 years that Elie Wiesel was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace. What the Nobel Committee had to say about him then still holds true today: ‘Elie Wiesel has emerged as one of the most important spiritual leaders and guides in an age when violence, repression and racism continue to characterize the world. Wiesel is a messenger to mankind; his message is one of peace, atonement and human dignity. His belief that the forces fighting evil in the world can be victorious is a hard-won belief. His message is based on his own personal experience of total humiliation and of the utter contempt for humanity shown in Hitler’s death camps. The message is in the form of a testimony, repeated and deepened through the works of a great author.’
“Today, Jews and non-Jews around the world mourn a man who was undoubtedly one of the great Jewish teachers and thinkers of the past 100 years. His passing leaves a void that will be impossible to fill. At the same time, his writings will live on.

“Our hearts go out to Elie’s wife, Marion, herself a survivor of the Holocaust and a great campaigner for justice, and their son, Elisha. Together, they set up the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity which does such a fantastic job in fighting indifference and injustice. We have lost the most articulate witness to history’s greatest crime. Without Elie Wiesel in the world, it is up to every one of us now to stand up to the deniers. With his passing, we will all have to work a little harder because we will no longer have Elie to remind us of what happens when the world is silent and indifferent to evil. It is now our job, and that of our children and grandchildren, to pick up the baton and to relay Elie’s message of hope and peace to the world.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu commented: “The State of Israel and the Jewish people mourn the passing of Elie Wiesel. Through his unforgettable books, moving words and personal example, Elie personified the triumph of the human spirit over the most unimaginable evil.

Out of the darkness of the Holocaust, Elie became a powerful force for light, truth and dignity. His life and work were a great blessing to the Jewish people, the Jewish state and to all humanity.

I feel fortunate to have known him and to have learned from his prodigious wisdom. On behalf of all the people of Israel, Sara and I send condolences to the entire Wiesel family. May the memory of Elie Wiesel, a towering spirit who taught us all to remember, be forever blessed.”

President Reuven Rivlin added: “Tonight we bid farewell to a hero of the Jewish People, and a giant of all humanity. Elie Wiesel, of blessed memory, embodied the determination of the human spirit to overcome the darkest of evils, and survive against all the odds. His life was dedicated to the fight against all hatred, and for the sake of man as created in the image of God – he was a guide for us all. One of the Jewish people’s greatest sons, who touched the hearts of so many, and helped us to believe in forgiveness, in life, and in the eternal bond of the Jewish people. May his memory be a blessing, everlastingly engraved in the heart of the nation.”

Israel’s ninth president Shimon Peres said: “Today, the Jewish people and the world lost a larger than life individual – Holocaust Survivor, Author and Nobel Prize Laureate Elie Wiesel.

Wiesel, left his mark on humanity through preserving and upholding the legacy of the Holocaust and delivering a message of peace and respect between people worldwide.

He endured the most serious atrocities of mankind – survived them and dedicated his life to conveying the message of – “Never Again”.

I had the honor and privilege to personally thank him for his numerous years of work and for saving the world from apathy when I gave him the Presidential Medal on behalf of the State of Israel. May his memory be a blessing to us all. “

Executive Council of Australian Jewry President, Robert Goot, and Executive Director, Peter Wertheim, said that the passing of Elie Wiesel is a devastating loss to the Jewish people and to the whole of humankind.

In a joint statement they said: “He was a giant of humanity and among its most powerful voices of conscience.   In today’s morally confused and compromised world, his message remains more relevant than ever: Thou shalt not be a by-stander.  Thou shalt not remain silent in the face of evil”.

Noting that Elie Wiesel published more than forty books which had been translated into many languages, Goot and Wertheim added:  ‘The highest tribute we can pay to Elie Wiesel is to commit ourselves to continue working to fulfil the pledge he made before the whole world when he accepted the Nobel Peace prize in 1986:  “I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Wherever men or women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must – at that moment – become the center of the universe.”’

Mayor of Jerusalem Nir Barkat said:  “This was a sad evening for the Jewish people. Only a few months ago I had the distinction of bestowing Prof. Elie Weisel with the “Honorary Citizen of the City of Jerusalem” award.
Weisel, who survived the horrors of the Holocaust and witnessed the cruelty of humanity’s darkest hour, chose not to surrender or despair. Instead, he delivered a message of peace and tolerance for all.
The vast trove of Weisel’s writing, which included dozens of books and literary creations, brought him the Nobel Peace Prize, and turned him into an unofficial ambassador of the Jewish people in general and Holocaust survivors in particular.
When I bestowed the award upon Weisel, in an emotional ceremony, I said it was a great privilege to express the deep appreciation Jerusalem has for his heroism and his life’s work.
Elie Weisel was a loyal ambassador and a true friend of Jerusalem, and has demonstrated unwavering support and empathy with the people of the city.
His ability to touch the hearts of so many enabled his message and life’s work for the Jewish people and Jerusalem to become global, influence millions, and change the world.”
Jeremy Jones with Elie Wiesel

Jeremy Jones with Elie Wiesel

“Elie Wiesel was a remarkable, inspirational thinker, leader and activist, and his passing is a tremendous loss to humanity” said:  Jeremy Jones, Director of International and of Community Affairs for the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council, said today.

“He radiated wisdom and compassion, but also humility, and in those meetings I was privileged enough to work with him, he was open-minded and personable, and always willing to contribute insights and knowledge.”

“He had too many attributes to list – with  the outpourings of grief testimony to the impact he had on the lives of so many – he was a teacher, a voice for the Oppressed, a keeper of Memory, who always had time to mentor young people and share his learning and experiences”.

” I first worked with him through the World Jewish Congress, then the Conference on Material Claims Against Germany, then in projects concerned with Jewish education and in combatting Antisemitism.”

“Every moment in his presence was invaluable – his Memory will always be a blessing”

“AIJAC sends condolences to his family and those closest to him, and expresses our gratitude for all he contributed to humanity”

Elie Wiesel was born in Romania on September 30, 1928

He passed away at the of 87 at his home in Manhattan on  July 2, 2016



2 Responses to “Elie Wiesel passes away”
  1. Alexandra Landau says:

    Another of our great writers lost to eternity

  2. Lynne Newington says:

    Yes; Elie Wiesel passes away.
    Hearing of it early hours of this morning and reminiscing on his life my youngest daughter intoducing him to me through a book she was reading with many filling my library shelf hencewith.
    A man I would’ve liked to have shaken hands with.
    I hope he had a peaceful death.

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