A Tribute to Elie Wiesel

The following statement was issued by Amy Dean, Chair of the Board, and Jacob Solomon, President and CEO of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation:

On behalf of the Officers, Board of Directors and Staff of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation, we express our deep sadness on the passing of Elie Wiesel, z”l, revered Holocaust survivor, author, teacher and Nobel Laureate.

Speaking and writing with the fervor of a passionate preacher, the wisdom of a sage, the certainty of an eyewitness and the words of a poet, Mr. Wiesel traversed the world, sharing his message about the importance of confronting evil. After surviving the depths of hell during the Shoah, he reminded all of us that the greatest enemy of humanity is indifference. He demanded that we never forget the horrible lessons of the Holocaust. He implored us to speak out against the forces of genocide and discrimination in our own time, lest our silence be perceived as acquiescence and capitulation.

As a part-time resident of South Florida, Mr. Wiesel was a beloved presence in our community and a respected voice of compassion and activism. Speaking to an audience of thousands at the dedication of the Holocaust Memorial Miami Beach in 1990, Mr. Wiesel referred to the Memorial’s graphic depictions of heartache and suffering, declaring:

“Look and you will realize that there existed a suffering that transcended suffering. Woe unto us. For the tragedy which this museum is trying to integrate is beyond words and beyond imagination, but not beyond memory. And only those who were there know what it meant being there.”

In 2010, Mr. Wiesel addressed the Greater Miami Jewish Federation’s Main Event and reminded us of our moral responsibility to preserve memories of the Holocaust and insist that its legacy is taught to future generations.

As we mourn the passing of Eli Wiesel, we appreciate the depth of our loss and the eternal relevance of his life’s message. We must remember the calamity of the Holocaust and teach its lessons. We must respect the dignity of human life and decry prejudice in all its forms. We must give voice to the oppressed and stand united against the tyranny of their oppressors.

If we remain true to these principles, the spirit of Elie Wiesel will remain with us in our hearts and minds, forever, serving as a voice of remembrance, conscience and moral activism. May his memory and the lessons of his life forever be a blessing.

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