A man who dedicated his adult life reminding the world the horrors that scared his childhood has passed away today. Elie Wiesel, who passed away at eighty-seven years of age. His life shows the strength of the human spirit in spite of terrible tragedies. And the resilience of one to never give in to their inner demons.
Born in what is now Romania, his life took a turn in 1944 when he and his family were taken to the concentration camp, Auschwitz. Exposed to daily horrors, and forced to revert to a primal state of living to survive, Wiesel found it difficult to return to a world that took his parents
The years following his ordeal, Wiesel found his purpose in telling his story to the world. Writing many works on the Holocaust, including the seminal work, Night. Having read the book myself as a young man, recalling the harrowing scenes of Wiesel’s youth still gives me a cold shiver running up my spine.
Wiesel explored themes regarding how one continues living in a world after such trauma, why human beings could resort to such barbarity, and how one does live on when their faith in God is shattered.
Wiesel’s key causes in life was to keep the world from forgetting what happened to him and millions of victims during the Second World War. This effort has not been without opposition, including an attack by a Holocaust denier back in 2007.
His achievements later in life did not ease the pain of the Holocaust, openly stating suffering from nightmares, continual feelings of insecurity and other similar afflictions. Yet, this did not stop his drive to preserve the memory of all victims of Nazi atrocities.
Wiesel never claimed to be a flawless character, but his example is one that we should emulate, in lieu of the plethora of false idols and figures who share the spotlight in our modern age. In the face of adversity and depravity, it is the will of men and women such as Wiesel that show us how to achieve a greater purpose, and find tranquility in the world’s turbulent madness.
Elie Wiesel is survived by his wife and son. And his influence will never be forgotten.