There is a well known slogan that many in Israel and throughout the world use with regard to the Holocaust. We all say it, but Elie Wiesel, having experienced unthinkable hardship, lived it and dedicated is life to it: “Never Again.” Wiesel’s life was a testimony and a symbol. The story he told was not just his, rather is was the story of those who experienced the mass scale genocide committed by the Nazis, and ignored by much of the world. Wiesel did this for both the sake of those who perished, but also for the sake of current and future generations.
We should remember Elie Wiesel and what he stood for. We should immortalize, the stories he passed on of those who did and did not survive. Wiesel was a constant living source of hope. As someone who had experienced the darkest parts of mankind, he was a beacon of light for the entire world. He was more than just a survivor he was a champion, his life is the proof of that, and his life long work, the gift he bequeathed upon all of us, is the medal. He is a symbol for how a nation almost exterminated can not just survive but thrive, how a country being persecuted can stand strong and shine. It is now up to us to ensure that the righteousness and pure humanity Elie Wiesel displayed and resiliently fought for does not die with him. It is now our turn to never stay silent.
Wherever men and women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must – at that moment – become the center of the universe. –– Elie Wiesel
In a world where threats and hate seem to be creeping up on us from every corner, no matter who you are or where you are, it’s essential we preserve every name, and enshrine the memory of every single victim. From the Holocaust, to Brussels, to Orlando, to young Hallel Yaffa Ariel who was murdered in her bed. We can’t push aside and neglect the attacks on humanity that are happening on a weekly basis. We must open our eyes to the dangerous world we are living in and recognize every one of these acts for what it is. As Wiesel put it, it is our duty to “make them the center of our universe” — learn from them, understand them, and like Wiesel, remember them and make them a memory of Humanity — an experience deep routed in our existence that is never to be forgotten.
Elie Wiesel spent his life fighting for humanity. For true and pure humanity that he knew first hand, was dreadfully needed in the world he lived in. In doing this, Wiesel sanctified his life as well as attributing some meaning to the deaths of those killed by the Nazis. The burden of eternalization and Zikaron (Remembrance — in Hebrew) which Wiesel dedicated his life to is a treasure we must hold dear and continue memorializing.
I didn’t have the honor of knowing Elie Wiesel. Not personally. I’ve read some of his books, and know his story, or at least parts of it, but I did not know him. In light of his passing, I think we should all take minute and reexamine the world we live in. We must be sure that we are not brushing under the rug acts of hatred nor being indifferent to them. We can cherish Elie Wiesel’s memory by continuing his legacy and using actions to ensure that “Never Again” is anyone persecuted because of their differences, and by actively working to allow our diversity to serve as a source of strength and unity, not hatred and separation.
Elie Wiesel was a hero. It is now our responsibility to continue carrying the lantern he so bravely and outstandingly held.