My first encounters with Elie Wiesel came during several early conferences on the Holocaust where he was a plenary speaker. I was amazed at the way he could silence a large ballroom with his message. It clearly had profound intellectual content, but most of all, it spoke to the heart.
Without the latter, the passionate commitment to remembrance and continuing human dignity that were the hallmark of Wiesel’s contribution to contemporary global society likely would have fallen on deaf years.
My encounters with Wiesel took on much greater depth when he graciously included me in the original membership of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council, which was charged by President Jimmy Carter, with the unanimous consent of Congress, to erect a suitable memorial to the victims of the Nazi genocide in the nation’s capital.
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