Elie Wiesel’s Moving Remarks at Buchenwald Concentration Camp

By Sadie Bass

Jun 5, 2009 12:32pm

Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Elie Wiesel joined President Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel at Buchenwald concentration camp in Germany today.  They placed white roses at a memorial and toured the crematorium where thousands were burned during WWII.  Wiesel and his family were imprisoned in Auschwitz where his mother and sister died.  He was then taken to Buchenwald, where his father and 56,000 others passed away. Following remarks from Obama and Merkel, Wiesel spoke the legacy of Buchenwald and his hopes for the U.S.  A few selected excerpts are below: "As I came here today it was actually a way of coming and visit my father's grave — but he had no grave.  His grave is somewhere in the sky.  This has become in those years the largest cemetery of the Jewish people."   “Mr. President, we have such high hopes for you because you, with your moral vision of history, will be able and compelled to change this world into a better place, where people will stop waging war — every war is absurd and meaningless; where people will stop hating one another; where people will hate the otherness of the other rather than respect it.” “You spoke of humanity, Mr. President.  Though unto us, in those times, it was human to be inhuman.  And now the world has learned, I hope.  And of course this hope includes so many of what now would be your vision for the future, Mr. President.  A sense of security for Israel, a sense of security for its neighbors, to bring peace in that place.  The time must come.  It's enough — enough to go to cemeteries, enough to weep for oceans.  It's enough.  There must come a moment — a moment of bringing people together.” “And therefore we say anyone who comes here should go back with that resolution.  Memory must bring people together rather than set them apart.  Memories here not to sow anger in our hearts, but on the contrary, a sense of solidarity that all those who need us.  What else can we do except invoke that memory so that people everywhere who say the 21st century is a century of new beginnings, filled with promise and infinite hope, and at times profound gratitude to all those who believe in our task, which is to improve the human condition."

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