On July 2, while the nation was in the midst of celebrating a long weekend and the anniversary of our independence, one of the beacons for change and tolerance quietly left this world.
Elie Wiesel, Holocaust Survivor, author of the acclaimed “Night” and Nobel Prize Winner, passed away in New York City. For me, and the world, his passing is a great loss.
To quote Yad Vashem: “His passing not only saddens and fills us with a sense of loss, it also constitutes a painful milestone in the gradual transition to an era and world lacking live, personal Shoah testimony.”
I have had the pleasure of meeting Elie numerous times, most recently at an event in Las Vegas in February. I’ve always felt a connection to him, because we have lived very parallel lives; we were both born around the same time, and were taken from Hungary to Auschwitz about the same time in 1944, too. Above all else, we are survivors. The two of us survived the hell of Auschwitz, the marches and trains leading up to it, and eventually, the liberation. And, we both made the important decision to share our stories so the world would never forget.
Elie chose to spend his years post-Liberation educating millions about the Nazi concentration camps. He warned the world the opposite of love was not, in fact, hate, but indifference. It was his work that helped show us that we cannot simply be bystanders. We must act.
I look back on Elie’s life and see one lived with such passion, such purpose. Honored with the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986, Elie did everything in his power to keep the memory of the Shoah alive. The Survivor paved the way for others who survived the horrors of the Holocaust, so they, too, could share their own stories. Because of him, so many others experiences were told. And retold. He helped empower the other Survivors, enabling them to hold their heads high, to speak up, and bear witness. He helped keep the world from (as I like to say) acquiring amnesia.
ZACHOR, may his memory and his teachings remain alive forever.
It’s why I-SHOUT-OUT is so very important. And why we need you to help. The goal of the campaign is to bring together six million voices in honor of the six million who were silenced by hate, bigotry, ignorance, intolerance and beyond. To show others the value of not being indifferent. Please, take a moment today and visit I-SHOUT-OUT and lend your voice. To honor those who were killed during the Holocaust. To honor Elie and his life’s work. To honor those who continue to tell their story. And, to show the world intolerance is not acceptable.