30-Day Challenge: Spirituality — Day 11

Day 11:   Who is your favorite spiritual author, besides the author of your book of faith, (Bible, Torah, Q’uran, etc.)?

Elie Wiesel is a Jewish author and Nobel laureate who has written extensively of his experiences in Auschwitz, Buchenwald, and Buna.  A good biography of him can be found at the link above.  My first experience of him was reading his book, Night, while in seminary.  Wiesel claims that Night was based on real events which he witnessed in the camps; scholars are divided on whether or not the story is autobiographical.  Night was an account of a Jewish boy who loses his faith as a result of his experiences of the Holocaust; this was doubly tragic in that Wiesel had been brought up in a devout Jewish community.

Wiesel lost his parents and his younger sister in the extermination camps.  He has since written 30 novels, many of which bear witness to the horror that the Jews, and others as well, experienced at the hands of the Germans.  Over the years, he was appointed head of the President’s Commission on the Holocaust, and was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal of Achievement. (http://xroads.virginia.edu/~cap/holo/eliebio.htm)  He has spent his life pursuing the truth of the Holocaust, and ensuring through his writings and lectures that no one forgets what happened during World War II.

I have drawn heavily on the website in the previous paragraph for this post.  There exist literally thousands, or millions, of references to Mr. Wiesel online. He embodies the best a person can do to guarantee that the Holocaust is never repeated.  This is a quote from Night, also found on the link above:

Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp, which has turned my life into one long night, seven times cursed and seven times sealed. 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.
Never shall I forget those flames which consumed my faith forever.
Never shall I forget that nocturnal silence which deprived me, for all eternity, of the desire to live. Never shall I forget those moments which murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to dust. Never shall I forget these things, even if I am condemned to live as long as God Himself. Never.

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6 responses to “30-Day Challenge: Spirituality — Day 11

  1. I think this is a powerful post. I particularly like the quote at the end. I’m glad you shared about Elie – with his death, much of this is being forgotten.

    We have a wonderful Holocaust museum here in Richmond. The man who funds it is a Holocaust survivor. He shares his family story and acknowledges the many others who were impacted by what happened, whether they were Jewish or not. At the end if a Hall of Fame / Shame of those who helped or didn’t help. He also reconstructed the Neurenburg trial court room, with the recordings of the trials and pictures on the walls of what happened to the varioud defendants.

    Nancy

    • Wow. Richmond, Virginia? I want to go there. Thank you so much for telling me about it. I will include it in my next trip. Elie Wiesel was an amazing man — did you know that he kept a vow to himself not to say a word about his experiences — and only broke the vow when he published the book, Night? And then, for the rest of his life, the Nazis, the Holocaust and its victims were in everything he wrote or produced. A man who is dearly missed.

      • I didn’t know that! He was so influential in bringing justice, yet many of today’s generation don’t know him. The holocaust museum here get a lot of field trips through it, which I’m glad of.

        Let me know if you come down here – I’d love to meet you.

      • It may take quite a while, as I usually only travel every couple of years, and I just had a great trip to Epcot Center in Florida. But Washington, D.C., is tied for tops on my travel list, so as soon as I plan the trip, I’ll let you know. We’ll get together for lunch, or something like it! 😎

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