Elie Wiesel'S Thesis

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I remember, May 1944: I was 15-and-a-half, and I was thrown into a haunted universe where the story of the human adventure seemed to swing irrevocably between horror and malediction. For in my tradition, as a Jew, I believe that whatever we receive we must share.

I remember, I remember because I was there with my father. When we endure an experience, the experience cannot stay with me alone.

He wrote more than 50 books, and won the 1986 Nobel Peace Prize for his work to advance human rights and peace around the world. Independently produced for NPR by Jay Allison and Dan Gediman with John Gregory and Viki Merrick.

Story and Silence: Transcendence in the Work of Elie Wiesel By Gary Henry Elie Wiesel's literary work prompted one reviewer to recall Isaac Bashevis Singer's definition of Jews as "a people who can't sleep themselves and let nobody else sleep," and to predict, "While Elie Wiesel lives and writes, there will be no rest for the wicked, the uncaring or anyone else." [1] If uneasiness is the result of Wiesel's work, it is not a totally unintended result.

I believe that the witnesses, especially the survivors, have the most important role.

They can simply say, in the words of the prophet, “I was there.” What is a witness if not someone who has a tale to tell and lives only with one haunting desire: to tell it. Without memory, there would be no civilization, no society, no future. As a teenager, Elie Wiesel was imprisoned in Nazi concentration camps for 11 months.

During World War II, Elie Wiesel’s parents and a sister were killed in Nazi death camps, and he was imprisoned at Buchenwald. Some of us even believed that they survived in order to become witnesses.

In later years, the Nobel laureate came to believe it was his job to share his memories of the horrors he experienced. But then I knew deep down that it would be impossible to communicate the entire story. I personally decided to wait, to see during ten years if I would be capable to find the proper words, the proper pace, the proper melody, or maybe even the proper silence to describe the ineffable.

How can we therefore speak, unless we believe that our words have meaning, that our words will help others to prevent my past from becoming another person’s — another people’s — future.

Yes, our stories are essential — essential to memory.

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