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The Many Legacies of Elie Wiesel


TED KOPPEL: Elie was, in many respects, a great man, but what made him so approachable is that in some respects he was just a very ordinary man, but a very ordinary man who had been tempered in a dreadful furnace of experience. Elie became who he was only because of the dreadful experience of the Holocaust.

SARA J BLOOMFIELD: If Elie were sitting here today, he would say, 'I don't speak for all survivors.' Every survivor speaks for themselves and no one speaks for the victims. Having said that, his prominence did catapult a movement into national and international recognition that was vitally important.

PAUL SHAPIRO: He knew that understanding the Holocaust both honored and gave meaning to the people who lived in the past but could also unlock some insights about how to better manage the future. He was doing through a lifetime what he was encouraging other people to do.

ILEENE SMITH: Elie very definitely believed that all of humanity had a great deal to learn from the Holocaust. He was writing out of a desire for truth, I think, and I think he felt he was obliged to be as productive as he was because, because he was a survivor.

ELIE WIESEL: Much depends on us, on our sense of justice and integrity, on our dedication to truth, on our willingness to share our innermost memories. And we survivors have promised that we shall try.

“I believe firmly and profoundly that whoever listens to a witness becomes a witness, so those who hear us, those who read us must continue to bear witness for us. Until now, they’re doing it with us. At a certain point in time, they will do it for all of us.”
— Elie Wiesel

In the aftermath of the Holocaust, at a time when the world could not bear to remember, Auschwitz survivor Elie Wiesel could not bear to forget. Through his singular moral leadership, intellect, and eloquence, he gave voice to those who had been silenced forever and devoted his life to fulfilling the promise of “never again” for all future victims of genocide. 

Wiesel’s impact endures in his writings, the students he taught, the millions of lives he touched, and his choice to raise children in the Jewish faith. It also endures in a building in the heart of the capital of the free world, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, where he was the founding father. 

These videos explore different aspects of his impact and legacy through the voices of many of those who knew him best.

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