ELIE WIESEL (1928-2016) Italy Mourns a “Symbol of the 20th Century”  

eliewieselBy Pagine Ebraiche staff
Italy and the Italian Jewish community join the rest of the world in mourning the Shoah survivor, writer and Nobel peace prize winner, Elie Wiesel, who passed away on Saturday at the age of 87.
“Wiesel worked ceaselessly to preserve the memory of the Holocaust, to fight indifference, lying and injustice all of which are unfortunately still common today,” said the president of the Republic Sergio Mattarella. “He was a defender of freedom, he stood by the side of the oppressed and his lesson will live on. In a time when humanity faces epochal challenges, such as the barbarism of terrorism and the tragedy of migration, his example pushes us not to defect from pursuing the goal of building free, just and equal societies.”
Among the leaders who expressed their condolences were some prominent historians.
“Wiesel said that nothing about the Holocaust can be described, but then he wrote incredible pages about it. I hope that also those who think that without witnesses it will be impossible to talk about the Holocaust will be proven wrong, as he was,” explained Marcello Pezzetti, the scientific director of the Foundation of the Holocaust Museum of Rome.
“We are experiencing an important moment of passage between generations, a moment of responsibility,” said Gadi Luzzatto Voghera, director of the Library Renato Maestro in Venice and appointed director of the Center of Contemporary Jewish Documentation in Milan.  “As the last survivors pass away, we have to ponder new actions and tools so that the memory of what happened does not disappear.”
“His view on reality was always formed through the lenses of the Holocaust, and this included when he spoke about different situations, from Rwanda to Bosnia, from the Kurds to Israel, Elie Wiesel was the voice of the Jewish collective conscience and we knew he would not go unheeded,” commented CDEC scholar Liliana Picciotto. “He had become a symbol of the 20th century.”