The 1986 Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel was laid to rest at a Manhattan synagogue.
Elie Wiesel, the Romanian-born American Jewish writer, Holocaust survivor, and Nobel Laureate, passed away last Saturday (July 2), at his home in Manhattan. The 87-year old political activist was laid to rest at the Fifth Avenue Synagogue in Manhattan, during a private service that was held last Sunday.
The service was attended by his family and friends. President Barack Obama offered his condolences and paid tribute to him by calling him one of the great moral voices of modern times. He further said that Wiesel was a dear friend of his. He is grateful for all the moments that they shared. They even shared a deep commitment to the State of Israel.
Wiesel was also a professor of the humanities at the Boston University. It was his father Shlomo instilled a strong sense of humanism in him.
Wiesel was only fifteen when Germany occupied Hungary. He and his family were sent to the Auschwitz concentration camp in Germany. There, the Nazis killed his younger sister and his mother. His left arm was tattooed with the inmate number A-7713.
Later, he and his father were deported to the Buchenwald concentration camp. His father died after 8 months. Wiesel remained in the camp until it was liberated by the U.S. army, in 1945. He was freed after the end of World War II.
Wiesel refused to discuss or write about the Holocaust experiences for a long time after the war. It was his close friend Francois Mauriac, a Nobel Laureate in Literature, who eventually persuaded him to write about his harrowing experiences in the German concentration camps. He wrote a 900-page memoir, at first, in Yiddish.
He then rewrote a shortened version of it in 1955 in French. It was translated into English in 1960. The English version, titled Night, eventually became a huge hit. It was translated into 30 languages and sold over 10 million copies in the U.S.
In 1985, Wiesel was given the Congressional Gold Medal. In 1986, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for speaking out against racism, repression and violence. He soon became a popular speaker on the Holocaust subject.
— Jack Mendel (@Mendelpol) July 6, 2016
Wiesel has also been an avid advocate for causes such as the plight of Ethiopian and Soviet Jews, South Africa's apartheid victims, Bosnian genocide victims and so on. In 2006, he received a knighthood in London for raising Holocaust awareness in the UK.
President of the American Jewish Heritage Organization, Rabbi Perry Berkowitz, called the death of Wiesel as a double tragedy. He said during the service that the world indeed lost a rare person. Also, the line of the Holocaust survivors is thinning out. When there are none left, would history repeat itself, especially in a time when Holocaust revisionism and anti-Semitism are on the rise?
According to Ronald Lauder, the president of the World Jewish Congress, Wiesel was a person who did not hate. During their visit to Auschwitz, he told him that the opposite of love was not hate, but indifference. It was indifference that brought about the Holocaust.