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Discuss the life of Elie Wiesel since his liberation from Buchenwald in 1945.

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jose40 | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 21, 2009 at 4:13 AM via web

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Discuss the life of Elie Wiesel since his liberation from Buchenwald in 1945.

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akannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 3, 2009 at 9:41 AM (Answer #1)

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Wiesel has served as the moral conscious of the world in regard to genocide and silence since being liberated from the camp and "seeing a corpse stare back at me."  He emerged as a journalist and erudite scholar at the time he published Night.  He began the process of speaking out about the lessons from the Holocaust at a time when the world was more concerned with the global discussion of Communism and sought to put the Holocaust in the background, refusing to acknowledge it as a teachable moment.  Wiesel became a staunch advocate against this and committed himself to enhancing the dialogue of the Holocaust and the lessons to be absorbed from it.  Of particular note is his demand that silence and indifference be eliminated from the discussion of genocide and brutality, suggesting that such attitudes serve as "nods to the aggressor."  Wiesel's greatest contribution is this, his voice of both experience and wisdom in connecting current political actions to behaviors in the past, all the while understanding that the need to learn from events such as the Holocaust is the only option that we, as carriers of the testaments of the many who were betrayed demand of us.

As time has passed since the Holocaust, Wiesel is more committed than ever before in ensuring that these lessons are taught to a new generation.  His philosophy of ethics is something that has been used by Presidents and World Leaders.  When President Obama visits the gates of Buchenwald on a recent trip to Europe, it is only natural that Elie Wiesel stand there with him and discuss that the Holocaust, the text of Night, only happened because of the sin of indifference.  In a time period where the growth of individuals who deny the force or presence of the Holocaust is rising, Wiesel's voices and thoughts are one of the few weaponse that can stem such a ominous tide.  In the ongoing battle of, what Freud would call eros vs. thanatos, Wiesel's greatest contribution is that he represent the voice of the former, while all of us seek only to be a fraction of it.

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