For the record, publicly criticizing a man no longer able to speak is simply disgusting behavior. How would you expect him to defend himself? You wouldn't.These "critics," though "cowards" might be a more apt description, were silent while Wiesel was alive. Obviously, they chose their moment carefully. Quite a triumph. Insulting the dead. The truly awful part is that both criticisms have come from within Wiesel's own community. An Israeli friend of mine, now living in Atlanta, once said, "The biggest enemy of the Jewish people are not non-Jews...our biggest enemy is us."
Perhaps other Jews are too afraid to speak out against Wiesel's critics. But anyone who did not survive the Holocaust, yet criticizes a person who did, is not a real Jew. I don't care what DNA may suggest. You are no better than the Judenrat--the Jews who saved themselves by helping Nazis to round up and kill their friends and neighbors. Hell is where you belong. And, it is where you will go. Wiesel has died. He was lauded as a "messenger of God." His voice was heard by millions around the world. Not for inciting hate, like the preposterous men who call themselves "journalists" and "scholars."
Those who criticize a soul such as Wiesel's will die one day, too. Lest you have forgotten, I am quite happy to remind you of your mortality....
Wiesel was born in a little town in Romania located in the Carpathian Mountains. Half of my family is from the Carpathian Mountains that run along the border of Ukraine. Wiesel likely knew my relatives during his time at Buchenwald, one of the Nazi concentration camps. But he also survived Auschwitz. After living through what more than twelve-million people did not, Wiesel studied under Sartre at the Sorbonne in Paris. He was reunited with two of his sisters through a French orphanage; the family eventually immigrated to Canada.
Whatever the most horrible thing to have happened to you in your lifetime may be, it is not even close to what someone like Wiesel survived. Allow me to provide a little context: I have been beaten, raped, abandoned, abused, neglected...I survived not only all of that, but the loss of a child, as well as two bouts of malignant cancer, which robbed me of many things, including my dignity. And yet, none of my rather significant pain even remotely touches what a Holocaust survivor has lived through.
I've met many survivors. I even taught the history of the Holocaust. But there is no key to knowledge in understanding how that kind of deliberate extermination can affect the psyche. And yet, Wiesel managed to hold on to his humanity. His soul. THAT speaks loudest to who Elie Wiesel truly was.
His posthumous critics are both upper to upper-middle class, educated men, one of whom has a very famous, politically-connected father. Neither have ever had to face the demons that Wiesel faced. Neither have ever had to survive even half of what I have faced in just four decades on the planet. Their mewling whines sound more like the rhetoric of opportunist traitors given their rather privileged lives.
Ugly is as ugly does....
The beauty of Wiesel is that he not only spoke out about the Holocaust, but raised his voice against tyranny and persecution in many, many countries and for many, many peoples. His legacy is not just in his books, or through his work as a political activist, but through his teachings. He was a professor, notably at Boston University (BU). Ironically, I was born and raised in Boston. Because of Wiesel, my dream at 16 and 17 years old was to attend BU. The Elie Wiesel Center for Jewish Studies at Boston University is a rare place of learning and compassion. Wiesel taught at many universities and was granted a plethora of honorary Doctorates. He had thousands upon thousands of students. What a wonder it would be to see one of them write in defense of their professor. Maybe that is yet to come.
The world is poorer for the loss of Elie Wiesel...he was more than a survivor of the worst atrocity the world has ever ALLOWED to happen. In the language of our ancestors, Elie Wiesel was a true mensch. A tzadik. Those who lived while he did are better for it. I know I am.
It is now up to those of us who live on to continue Wiesel's work. To keep the world a safe place. A place where the kind of hatred responsible for millions upon millions upon millions of deaths will "never again" be allowed to flourish.