by Gary Bauer, Contributing Author
: The world lost a great man over the holiday weekend. Eliezer "Elie" Wiesel, a Romanian-born American,
who survived internment in Nazi death camps of Auschwitz and Buchenwald as teenager, died Saturday at the age of 87. From his experiences in the Holocaust, as a survivor of Auschwitz and Buchenwald, he wrote Night
, -- a raw, yet extraordinary story of the human spirit.Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp, which has turned my life into one long night, seven times cursed and seven times sealed. Never shall I forget that smoke. Never shall I forget the little faces of the children, whose bodies I saw turned into wreaths of smoke beneath a silent blue sky. Never shall I forget those flames which consumed my faith forever. Never shall I forget that nocturnal silence which deprived me, for all eternity, of the desire to live. Never shall I forget those moments which murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to dust. Never shall I forget these things, even if I am condemned to live as long as God Himself. Never. ~ Elie Wiesel, excerpt from Night
Over the years, Wiesel spoke out against other genocides and was a staunch defender of Israel. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu remembered him, saying, "Elie personified the triumph of the human spirit over the most unimaginable evil. Out of the darkness of the Holocaust, Elie became a powerful force for light, truth and dignity. His life and work were a great blessing to the Jewish people, the Jewish state and to all humanity."
I recall that Wiesel came to Washington just a few days before Prime Minister Netanyahu addressed Congress last year. Wiesel participated in a forum opposing the Iranian nuclear deal.
Much to the chagrin of many Democrats, he was in the House gallery when Netanyahu spoke. At the beginning of his remarks, Netanyahu singled out Wiesel, who received a standing ovation. I was also there, and I was stunned at the roughly dozen or so left-wing members of Congress sitting below me who remained seated, stubbornly refusing to honor this great man and his legacy.
Among his numerous notable awards were Nobel Peace Prize (1986), Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal.
Gary Bauer is a conservative family values advocate and serves as president of American Values and chairman of the Campaign for Working Families
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