100 Inspirational Quotes By Elie Wiesel, The Holocaust Survivor & Author Of Night
A Nobel laureate writer, professor and political activist, Eliezer ‘Elie’ Wiesel was a Romanian-born American Jewish who jumped to fame after his work,
a memoir ‘Night’ that gave a first-hand account of his life as a survivor of Holocaust and as a prisoner in the Auschwitz and Buchenwald concentration camps. In the book, he gave a detailed account recounting his experiences of surviving Holocaust. Post the overwhelming success of ‘Night’, Wiesel took to writing professionally. In his lifetime, he penned more than 57 books, mostly in French and English. He also became an active activist, orator and teacher, speaking out against persecution and injustice across the globe. When bestowed the Nobel Peace Prize, Wiesel was introduced as a ‘messenger to mankind’. He not just came to terms with his own personal experience of total humiliation and of the utter contempt for humanity shown in Hitler's death camps but organized practical work in the cause of peace. Post the honor, Wiesel became a founding board member of the New York Human Rights Foundation and remained active throughout his life. Just as his work, his quotes have been equally life-changing that touch various aspects of life and give readers a new perception and outlook.
There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest. Friendship marks a life even more deeply than love. Love risks degenerating into obsession, friendship is never anything but sharing. Human suffering anywhere concerns men and women everywhere. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. To forget the dead would be akin to killing them a second time. When a person doesn’t have gratitude, something is missing in his or her humanity. A person can almost be defined by his or her attitude toward gratitude. For the dead and the living, we must bear witness. One person of integrity can make a difference. If the only prayer you say throughout your life is "Thank You," then that will be enough. Write only if you cannot live without writing. Write only what you alone can write. I pray to the God within me that He will give me the strength to ask Him the right questions. No human race is superior; no religious faith is inferior. All collective judgments are wrong. Only racists make them Only the guilty are guilty. Their children are not. Which is worse? Killing with hate or killing without hate? I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. For in the end, it is all about memory, its sources and its magnitude, and, of course, its consequences. 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. I shall always remember that smile. From what world did it come from? Think higher, feel deeper. We must not see any person as an abstraction. Instead, we must see in every person a universe with its own secrets, with its own treasures, with its own sources of anguish, and with some measure of triumph. One more stab to the heart, one more reason to hate. One less reason to live. His cold eyes stared at me. At last, he said wearily: "I have more faith in Hitler than in anyone else. He alone has kept his promises, all his promises, to the Jewish people. There are victories of the soul and spirit. Sometimes, even if you lose, you win. I don't want my past to become anyone else's future. They are committing the greatest indignity human beings can inflict on one another: telling people who have suffered excruciating pain and loss that their pain and loss were illusions. (v) He explained to me with great insistence that every question posessed a power that did not lie in the answer. Whoever survives a test, whatever it may be, must tell the story. That is his duty. Ultimately, the only power to which man should aspire is that which he exercises over himself. Most people think that shadows follow, precede or surround beings or objects. The truth is that they also surround words, ideas, desires, deeds, impulses and memories. Indifference is the sign of sickness, a sickness of the soul more contagious than any other. I told him that I did not believe that they could burn people in our age, that humanity would never tolerate it . . . I feel that books, just like people, have a destiny. Some invite sorrow, others joy, some both. Love makes everything complicated. Music does not replace words, it gives tone to the words No human being is illegal. Better that one heart be broken a thousand times in the retelling, he has decided, if it means that a thousand other hearts need not be broken at all. Did I write it so as not to go mad or, on the contrary, to go mad in order to understand the nature of madness? ...I believe it important to emphasize how strongly I feel that books, just like people, have a destiny. Some invite sorrow, others joy, some both. I write to understand as much as to be understood. In the beginning there was faith - which is childish; trust - which is vain; and illusion - which is dangerous. The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference. Those who kept silent yesterday will remain silent tomorrow. God is God because he remembers. Bread, soup - these were my whole life. I was a body. Perhaps less than that even: a starved stomach. The stomach alone was aware of the passage of time. I've been fighting my entire adult life for men and women everywhere to be equal and to be different. But there is one right I would not grant anyone. And that is the right to be indifferent. Peace is our gift to each other. Indifference to me, is the epitome of all evil. Never shall I forget those moments that murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to ashes. Some stories are true that never happened. Only fanatics — in religion as well as in politics — can find a meaning in someone else’s death. Life belongs to man, but the meaning of life is beyond him. I believe in God--in spite of God! I believe in Mankind--in spite of Mankind! I believe in the Future--in spite of the Past! Never shall I forget these things, even if I am condemned to life as long as God himself The world? The world is not interested in us. Today, everything is possible, even the crematoria... Suffering pulls us farther away from other human beings. It builds a wall made of cries and contempt to separate us. Not all games are innocent. Some come dangerously close to cruelty. Bite your lips, little brother...Don't cry. Keep your anger, your hate, for another day, for later. The day will come but not now...Wait. Clench your teeth and wait... Never shall I forget the little faces of the children, whose bodies turned into wreaths of smoke beneath a silent blue sky. Which is better, truth that is a lie or the lie that is truth? I have tried to keep memory alive... I have tried to fight those who would forget. Because if we forget, we are guilty, we are accomplices. Everybody around us was weeping. Someone began to recite Kaddish, the prayer for the dead. I don't know whether, during the history of the Jewish people, men have ever before recited Kaddish for themselves. Questions outlive the answers. The more you ask certain questions, the more dangerous they become. Every question possessed a power that was lost in the answer . . . The stars were only sparks of the fire which devoured us. Should that fire die out one day, there would be nothing left in the sky but dead stars, dead eyes. The sky is so close to the sea that it is difficult to tell which is reflected in the other, which one needs the other, which one is dominating the other. And action is the only remedy to indifference, the most insidious danger of all. I have not lost faith in God. I have moments of anger and protest. Sometimes I've been closer to him for that reason. The darkness enveloped us. All I could hear was the violin and it was as if Juliek's soul had become the bow. He was playing his life...He played that which he would never play again. We are all brothers and we are all suffering the same fate. The same smoke floats over all our heads. Help one another. It is the only way to survive. (pg. 39) Each man was his own executioner and his own victim. Not to transmit an experience is to betray it. From the depths of the mirror, a corpse gazed back at me. The look in his eyes, as they stared into mine, has never left me. To remain silent and indifferent is the greatest sin of all. It was like a page torn from a history book, from some historical novel about the captivity of babylon or Spanish Inquisition. When you listen to a witness, you become a witness. I needed to know that there was such a thing as love and that it brought smiles and joy in its wake. A man can laugh while he suffers. To forget a Holocaust is to kill twice Certain things, certain events, seem inexplicable only for a time: up to the moment when the veil is torn aside. Humanity? Humanity is not concerned with us. Today anything is allowed. Anything is possible. Night is purer than day; it is better for thinking, loving and dreaming. At night everything is more intense, more true. The echo of words that have been spoken during the day takes on a new and deeper meaning. You’re shaking … so am I. It’s because of Jerusalem, isn’t it? One doesn’t go to Jerusalem, one returns to it. That’s one of its mysteries. We believed in God, trusted in man, and lived with the illusion that every one of us has been entrusted with a sacred spark. This day I ceased to plead. I was no longer capable of lamentation. On the contrary, I felt very strong. I was the accuser, God the accused. Life is really fascinated only by death. It vibrates only when it comes in contact with death. I am much more afraid of my good deeds that please me than of my bad deeds that repel me. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. In those dark times, one rose to the very heights of humanity by simply remaining human. You shouldn’t act as a spokesperson for someone who’s trying to impose his will on you. A word is worth a thousand pictures. Humanity would never tolerate it War is like night, she said. It covers everything. We have to go into the despair and go beyond it, by working and doing for somebody else, by using it for something else.
Had the situation not been so tragic, we might have laughed.
You're at the bottom of the mountain. May you climb up without suffering.
...Those who know don't talk and those who talk don't know.
It was the beginning of the war. I was twelve years old, my parents were alive, and God still dwelt in our town.
Next to him lay his violin, trampled, an eerily poignant little corpse. If life is not a celebration, why remember it ? If life --- mine or that of my fellow man --- is not an offering to the other, what are we doing on this earth?