Elie Wiesel Quotes: His Most Powerful Quotes on Indifference, Humanity
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Elie Wiesel Quotes: His Most Powerful Quotes on Indifference, Humanity

Holocaust survivor, humanitarian, and author Elie Wiesel died July 2 at the age of 87, CNN reports. Wiesel was a Nobel Laureate; he won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986. In the book, “Night,” published in 1955, Wiesel described in vivid detail how his family was sent to concentration camps in Nazi Germany. One of his most famous quotes:

Indifference, to me, is the epitome of evil.

Wiesel spoke on indifference many times.

Few captured the humanity behind the Holocaust better than Wiesel, whose words highlighted a longing for a better world and the power of the human spirit. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Wiesel “master of words.” Wiesel once said, “Write only if you cannot live without writing. Write only what you alone can write.”

Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel's words called for humanity to never be indifferent to suffering.(Facebook/The Elise Wiesel Foundation for Humanity)

Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel’s words called for humanity to never be indifferent to suffering.(Facebook/The Elise Wiesel Foundation for Humanity)

And so we turn to Wiesel’s words to remember him. Here are some of his most powerful quotes:

Quotes on the power of the human spirit

There are victories of the soul and spirit. Sometimes, even if you lose, you win.

No human race is superior; no religious faith is inferior. All collective judgments are wrong. Only racists make them.

Hope is like peace. It is not a gift from God. It is a gift only we can give one another.

[Albert] Camus said, ‘Where there is no hope, one must invent hope.’ It is only pessimistic if you stop with the first half of the sentence and just say, There is no hope. Like Camus, even when it seems hopeless, I invent reasons to hope (Time)


Quotes on Elie Wiesel’s Views About Life and His Own Feelings

I decided to devote my life to telling the story because I felt that having survived I owe something to the dead. and anyone who does not remember betrays them again.

I have not lost faith in God. I have moments of anger and protest. Sometimes I’ve been closer to him for that reason.

Writing is not like painting where you add. It is not what you put on the canvas that the reader sees. Writing is more like a sculpture where you remove, you eliminate in order to make the work visible. Even those pages you remove somehow remain.

Mankind must remember that peace is not God’s gift to his creatures; peace is our gift to each other.

Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds.

I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.


Quotes from Elie Wiesel’s Night book trilogy

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 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.

We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Wherever men and women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must – at that moment – become the center of the universe.

Then came the march past the victims. The two men were no longer alive. Their tongues were hanging out,
swollen and bluish. But the third rope was still moving: the child, too light, was still breathing…
And so he remained for more than half an hour, lingering between life and death, writhing before our eyes.
And we were forced to look at him at close range. He was still alive when I passed him. His tongue was still
red, his eyes not yet extinguished.

Behind me, I heard the same man asking:
“For God’s sake, where is God?”
And from within me, I heard a voice answer:
“Where He is? This is where–hanging here from this gallows…”

That night, the soup tasted of corpses.


Quotes on the Holocaust, and man’s inhumanity to man

The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.

Human suffering anywhere concerns men and women everywhere.


Quotes from Elise Wiesel’s Nobel Peace Prize speech

It seemed as impossible to conceive of Auschwitz with God as to conceive of Auschwitz without God. Therefore, everything had to be reassessed because everything had changed.

I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented</blockquote

For us, forgetting was never an option. Remembering is a noble and necessary act.


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1 Comment

yehuda ahmad

Elie
I admired you as a child
You left us but we will never forget your contributions.

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