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Handmaker Residents Remember Elie Wiesel

by Simply BIts | Jul 15, 2016

Elie Wiesel 2
"Even in darkness it is possible to create light and encourage compassion.” – Elie Wiesel (September 30, 1928 – July 2, 2016)

The world lost a great man earlier this month. Elie Wiesel, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, Presidential Medal of Freedom and Congressional Gold Medal winner, human rights advocate, writer, and Holocaust survivor, passed away at the age of 87.

Wiesel is probably best known as the author of “Night", in which he touched millions of people with his honesty about what he went through physically, emotionally and spiritually.

He helped to establish the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC. And, in the words of the museum, Wiesel was the international leader of the Holocaust remembrance movement.

Wiesel became an activist against racism and discrimination, earning him the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986. In his acceptance speech, he spoke of the need to keep the Holocaust’s memory alive to prevent future genocides.

Some Handmaker residents shared their memories of Wiesel on his passing…

Gertrude remembers when the Dalai Lama was forced out of Tibet by the Chinese. She recalls that he came to Elie Wiesel to ask him, in her words “what the Jews have done to survive for so many years that he could apply to his people. Since he (Wiesel) had survived the Holocaust, he had to have knowledge enough to help. That to me” says Gertrude, “was a very big thing.”

Nathan says that Elie Wiesel was a terrific and prolific writer. He thinks that he heard him speak once. “The remembrance of the Holocaust is a part of our history”, said Nathan. And it was important that Wiesel was a leader in ensuring that the world never forgot. Nathan recently took a trip to the Jewish History Museum and Holocaust Center in Tucson. And he said that even though it was sad to look at the exhibit and to remember, it is important that we do so.

Gloria recalls hearing about a trip that Wiesel took to Europe where he won people over and showed everyone that “Jews were not so bad”. Perhaps she is speaking of his world travels and efforts on behalf of oppressed groups throughout the world, including Jews living in the Soviet Union. In any case, she thinks that the message that she got from him and his life is to “Keep your head up. Keep going.” And that is what she is doing.