Elie Wiesel, fully Eliezer "Elie" Wiesel

Elie
Wiesel, fully Eliezer "Elie" Wiesel
1928

Romanian-born Jewish-American Writer, Political Activist, Professor, Novelist and Holocaust Survivor, Awarded Nobel Peace Prize, Author of 57 books including "Night," a work based on his experiences as a prisoner in the Auschwitz and Buchenwald concentration camps

Author Quotes

I did not deny God's existence, but I doubted His absolute justice.

I remember he asked his father: Can this be true? This is the twentieth century, not the Middle Ages. Who would allow such crimes to be committed? How could the world remain silent?

In Jewish history there are no coincidences.

Keep your anger and hatred for another day, for later on. The day will come, but not now.

Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.

Once you bring life into the world, you must protect it. We must protect it by changing the world.

The doors were nailed up; the way back was finally cut off. The world was a cattle wagon hermetically sealed.

Those who kept silent yesterday will remain silent tomorrow.

We tried. It was not easy. At first, because of the language; language failed us. We would have to invent a new vocabulary, for our own words were inadequate, anemic. And then too, the people around us refused to listen; and even those who listened refused to believe; and even those who believed could not comprehend. Of course they could not. Nobody could. The experience of the camps defies comprehension.

Whose was that tear? Mine? His?

I do not recall a Jewish home without a book on the table.

I remember: it happened yesterday, or eternities ago. A young Jewish boy discovered the Kingdom of Night. I remember his bewilderment, I remember his anguish. It all happened so fast. The ghetto. The deportation. The sealed cattle car. The fiery altar upon which the history of our people and the future of mankind were meant to be sacrificed.

In the beginning there was faith - which is childish; trust - which is vain; and illusion - which is dangerous.

Life is really fascinated only by death. It vibrates only when it comes in contact with death.

Never have the relations between Jews and Catholics been as good.

One day when I was able to get up, I decided to look at myself in the mirror on the opposite wall. I had not seen myself since the ghetto. From the depths of the mirror, a corpse was contemplating me. The look in his eyes as he gazed at me has never left me.

The ghetto was not guarded. One could enter and leave as one pleased. Maria, our former maid, came to see us. Sobbing, she begged us to come with her to her village where she had prepared a safe shelter. My father wouldn’t hear of it. He told me and my big sisters, If you wish, go there. I shall stay here with your mother and the little one… Naturally, we refused to be separated.

To forget the dead would be akin to killing them a second time.

We were all going to die here. All limits had been passed. No one had any strength left. And again the night would be long.

Why do you pray? he asked me, after a moment. Why did I pray? A strange question. Why did I live? Why did I breathe? I don't know why, I said, even more disturbed and ill at ease. I don't know why. After that day I saw him often. He explained to me with great insistence that every question possessed a power that did not lie in the answer. Man raises himself toward God by the questions he asks Him, he was fond of repeating. That is the true dialogue. Man questions God and God answers. But we don't understand His answers. We can't understand them. Because they come from the depths of the soul, and they stay there until death. You will find the true answers, Eliezer, only within yourself!

I don't believe in accidents. There are only encounters in history. There are no accidents.

I shall always remember that smile. From which world did it come?

Indifference is the sign of sickness, a sickness of the soul more contagious than any other.

Listen to me, kid. Don't forget that you are in a concentration camp. In this place, it is every many for himself, and you cannot think of others. Not even you father. In this place, there is no such thing as father, brother, friend. Each of us lives and dies alone. Let me give you good advice: stop giving your ration of bread and soup to your old father. You cannot help him anymore. And you are hurting yourself. In fact, you should be getting his rations...

Never shall I forget that first night in camp, which has turned my life into one long night, ... Never shall I forget that smoke. Never shall I forget the little faces of the children, whose bodies I saw turned into wreaths of smoke beneath a silent blue sky.

Author Picture
First Name
Elie
Last Name
Wiesel, fully Eliezer "Elie" Wiesel
Birth Date
1928
Bio

Romanian-born Jewish-American Writer, Political Activist, Professor, Novelist and Holocaust Survivor, Awarded Nobel Peace Prize, Author of 57 books including "Night," a work based on his experiences as a prisoner in the Auschwitz and Buchenwald concentration camps