Eli Wiesel, who survived Nazi death camps as a boy, died last week at 87. In this week’s edition of Capitol Report on News 9 in Oklahoma City, Pat McGuigan shared memories of Wiesel’s role in promoting understanding of the Holocaust. After hearing about Wiesel’s death, the CapitolBeatOK editor said, he went online to read the Israeli newspaper Haaratz (whose English language editor is his friend Charlotte Halle).
In recent days, many recalled Wiesel’s criticism in 1985, of Ronald Reagan’s decision (after a request from West German leadership), to visit a place that included the graves S.S. soldiers: “That place, Mr. President, is not your place. Your place is with the victims of the S.S.”
Reagan said Wiesel “teaches about death, but in the end he teaches about life.” Holocaust survivors worried reconciliation might yield forgetfulness about the death camps. Reagan promised, “We will never forget.”
McGuigan told reporter Alex Cameron that Wiesel’s writing and personal witness impacted many in recent decades. With this death, “the world this week is a little less than it was two weeks ago.”