Elie Wiesel

Elie Wiesel has known horrors none of us can imagine. Through his life's work and especially books such as Night, those of us born post-Holocaust can perhaps achieve some measure of understanding about that darkest moment in humankind's history. Wiesel, and his fellow survivor Primo Levi, bear un-silenceable witness to unspeakable crimes.

Another crime has just occured. Wiesel has lost his entire life's savings, and all the money of his Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity, in the Bernie Madoff scandal. Instead of investing his client's money, Madoff spent it in a Ponzi scheme. The money is gone.

Surely many of Madoff's clients are equally hurt, but the great injustice here is the loss of funds for the Foundation for Humanity. Their important work in Darfur is a necessary reminder for the world that genocide is happening right now, this very day, far away from the world's attention. Everyone who feels outrage over the possibility of the Foundation for Humanity closing because of the greed of one man should donate now, in order to demonstrate that Madoff's malice cannot snuff out Wiesel's good work.

Last year a mentally-disturbed Holocaust denier--a redundancy if ever there were one--attacked Wiesel at a hotel in San Francisco.

Yet I suspect that despite being physically attacked at an advanced age, despite being left penniless in the wake of Madoff's obscene betrayal, Elie Wiesel--winner of the Nobel Prize and one of the most influential persons of the 20th century--has a sense of perspective about these hardships that few of us will ever have. He knows just how bad things can really become.


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