All Time Famous Elie Wiesel Quotes

Elie Wiesel Quotes

Eliezer “Elie” Wiesel (September 30, 1928 – July 2, 2016) was a Romanian-born American writer, professor, political activist, Nobel laureate, and Holocaust survivor. He authored 57 books, written mostly in French and English, including Night, a work based on his experiences as a Jewish prisoner in the Auschwitz and Buchenwald concentration camps.

Beyond his own writing, Elie Wiesel dedicated himself to fighting for human rights and remembering the horrors of the past. He founded and supported organizations dedicated to Jewish causes and the Holocaust, including the US Holocaust Memorial Museum. Wiesel actively advocated for oppressed people around the world, speaking out against injustices in South Africa, Nicaragua, Kosovo, and Sudan, and even condemning the Armenian genocide. His tireless efforts earned him the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986, recognizing him as a “messenger to mankind” who promoted peace, atonement, and human dignity. While his work began with the Jewish people, it ultimately embraced all victims of oppression. He remained a champion for human rights until his death, leaving a lasting legacy of remembrance and advocacy.

Elie Wiesel Quotes

1. “What hurts the victim most is not the cruelty of the oppressor, but the silence of the bystander.”
— Elie Wiesel

2. “I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”
— Elie Wiesel

3. “The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.”
— Elie Wiesel

4. “Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Whenever men or women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must – at that moment – become the center of the universe.”
— Elie Wiesel

5. “There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.”
— Elie Wiesel

6. “To remain silent and indifferent is the greatest sin of all.”
— Elie Wiesel

7. “Which is worse? Killing with hate or killing without hate?”
— Elie Wiesel

8. “Take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim.”
— Elie Wiesel

9. “For the dead and the living, we must bear witness. Not only are we responsible for the memories of the dead, we are responsible for what we do with those memories.”
— Elie Wiesel

10. “Even in darkness, it is possible to create light.”
— Elie Wiesel

11. “In order to fly, you have to give up the ground you are standing on.”
— Elie Wiesel

12. “I still believe in man in spite of man. I believe in language even though it has been wounded, deformed, and perverted by the enemies of mankind. And I continue to cling to words because it is up to us to transform them into instruments of comprehension rather than contempt. It is up to us to choose whether we wish to use them to curse or to heal, to wound or to console.”
— Elie Wiesel

13. “A Jew must be sensitive to the pain of all human beings. A Jew cannot remain indifferent to human suffering… The mission of the Jewish people has never been to make the world more Jewish, but to make it more human.”
— Elie Wiesel

14. “Be careful with words, they’re dangerous. Be wary of them. They begat either demons or angels. It’s up to you to give life to one or the other. Be careful, I tell you, nothing is as dangerous as giving free rein to words.”
— Elie Wiesel

15. “One person of integrity can make a difference.”
— Elie Wiesel

16. “Mankind must remember that peace is not God’s gift to his creatures; peace is our gift to each other.”
— Elie Wiesel

17. “… True, we are often too weak to stop injustices, but the least we can do is to protest against them. True, we are too poor to eliminate hunger; but in feeding one child, we protest against hunger. True, we are too timid and powerless to take on all the guards of all the political prisons in the world, but in offering our solidarity to one prisoner we denounce all the tormentors. True, we are powerless against death; but as long as we help one man, one woman, and one child live one hour longer in safety and dignity, we affirm man’s [woman’s] right to live.”
— Elie Wiesel

18. “People become the stories they hear and the stories they tell.”
— Elie Wiesel

19. “What is man?
Hope turned to dust.
No.
What is man?
Dust turned to hope.”
— Elie Wiesel

20. “I believe that all the survivors are mad. One time or another their madness will explode. You cannot absorb that much madness and not be influenced by it. That is why the children of survivors are so tragic. I see them in school. They don’t know how.”
— Elie Wiesel

21. “In the face of suffering, one has no right to turn away, not to see. In the face of injustice, one may not look the other way. When someone suffers, and it is not you, that person comes first. One’s very suffering gives one priority. . . . To watch over one who grieves is a more urgent duty than to think of God.”
— Elie Wiesel

22. “The philosophers are wrong: it is not words that kill, it is silence.”
— Elie Wiesel

23. “The opposite of love is not hate, but indifference. Indifference creates evil. Hatred is evil itself. Indifference is what allows evil to be strong, what gives it power.”
— Elie Wiesel

24. “There is much to be done, there is much that can be done… one person of integrity can make a difference.”
— Elie Wiesel

25. “Young people want to learn, they are thirsty for knowledge, they want to understand and remember. The main thing is to teach them where not to go. Oppression, not to go; dictatorship, not to go; racism and prejudice, absolutely not to go. This is a moral plan [for society].”
— Elie Wiesel

26. “No human being is illegal. That is a contradiction in terms. Human beings can be beautiful or more beautiful, they can be fat or skinny, they can be right or wrong, but illegal? How can a human being be illegal?”
— Elie Wiesel

27. “There is much to be done, there is much that can be done… One person of integrity, can make a difference, a difference of life and death. As long as one dissident is in prison, our freedom will not be true. As long as one child is hungry, our lives will be filled with anguish and shame. What all these victims need above all is to know that they are not alone; that we are not forgetting them, that when their voices are stifled we shall lend them ours, that while their freedom depends on ours, the quality of our freedom depends on theirs.”
— Elie Wiesel

28. “All collective judgments are wrong. Only racists make them. No human race is superior; no religious faith is inferior.”
— Elie Wiesel

29. “In the word question, there is a beautiful word – quest. I love that word.”
— Elie Wiesel

30. “I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation.”
— Elie Wiesel

31. “Emphasis must be put on learning: there is no substitute to education. It can be briefly formulated in a few words: always, whatever you do in life, think higher and feel deeper.”
— Elie Wiesel

32. “Every moment is a new beginning.”
— Elie Wiesel

33. “In the word question, there is a beautiful word – quest. I love that word. We are all partners in a quest. The essential questions have no answers. You are my question, and I am yours – and then there is dialogue. The moment we have answers, there is no dialogue. Questions unite people.”
— Elie Wiesel

34. “Just as man cannot live without dreams, he cannot live without hope. If dreams reflect the past, hope summons the future.”
— Elie Wiesel

35. “Life is not a fist. Life is an open hand waiting for some other hand to enter it.”
— Elie Wiesel

36. “Education in the key to preventing the cycle of violence and hatred that marred the 20th century from repeating itself in the 21st century.”
— Elie Wiesel

37. “Because I remember, I despair. Because I remember, I have the duty to reject despair.”
— Elie Wiesel

38. “Always remember, my good friends, that there is one sin we must never commit and it is to humiliate another person or to allow another person to be humiliated in our presence without us screaming and shouting and protesting.”
— Elie Wiesel

39. “We are all teachers or should be. Anyone who relays experience to another person is a teacher. Not to transmit your experience is to betray it.”
— Elie Wiesel

40. “Think higher, feel deeper.”
— Elie Wiesel

41. “In the face of suffering, one has no right to turn away, not to see.”
— Elie Wiesel

42. “When you die and go to heaven our maker is not going to ask, ‘Why didn’t you discover the cure for such and such? why didn’t you become the Messiah?’ The only question we will be asked in that precious moment is ‘Why didn’t you become you?’”
— Elie Wiesel

43. “Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”
— Elie Wiesel

44. “[Friedrich] Nietzsche said something marvelous, he said “Madness is not a consequence of uncertainty but of certainty”, and this is fanaticism.”
— Elie Wiesel

45. “Every moment contains a spark of eternity.”
— Elie Wiesel

46. “Ultimately, the only power to which man should aspire is that which he exercises over himself.”
— Elie Wiesel

47. “Our obligation is to give meaning to life and in doing so to overcome the passive, indifferent life.”
— Elie Wiesel

48. “No one is as capable of gratitude as one who has emerged from the kingdom of night. We know that every moment is a moment of grace, every hour an offering; not to share them would mean to betray them. Our lives no longer belong to us alone; they belong to all those who need us desperately.”
— Elie Wiesel

49. “We cannot indefinitely avoid depressing subject matter, particularly if it is true, and in the subsequent quarter century the world has had to hear a story it would have preferred not to hear – the story of how a cultured people turned to genocide, and how the rest of the world, also composed of cultured people, remained silent in the face of genocide.”
— Elie Wiesel

50. “I write to understand as much as to be understood.”
— Elie Wiesel

51. “You can do something. You can, even for one person Don’t turn away; help. Because those who suffer, often suffer not because of the person or the group that inflicts the suffering; they seem to suffer because nobody cares.”
— Elie Wiesel

52. “I came to the conclusion that I am free to choose my own suffering. But I am not free to consent to someone else’s suffering.”
— Elie Wiesel

53. “I think the Messianic concept, which is the Jewish offering to mankind, is a great victory. What does it mean? It means that history has a sense, a meaning, a direction; it goes somewhere, and necessarily in a good direction–the Messiah.”
— Elie Wiesel

54. “I never compared Nazis into communism, but communism was the same thing, the end justifies the means. Whatever the means.”
— Elie Wiesel

55. “Every single human being is a unique human being. And, therefore, it’s so criminal to do something to that human being, because he or she represents humanity.”
— Elie Wiesel

56. “Human suffering anywhere concerns men and women everywhere.”
— Elie Wiesel

57. “Remembering is a noble and necessary act. The call of memory, the call to memory, reaches us from the very dawn of history. No commandment figures so frequently, so insistently, in the Bible. It is incumbent upon us to remember the good we have received, and the evil we have suffered.”
— Elie Wiesel

58. “My faith is a wounded faith, but my life is not without faith. I didn’t divorce God, but I’m quarreling and arguing and questioning, it’s a wounded faith.”
— Elie Wiesel

59. “To forget the dead would be akin to killing them a second time.”
— Elie Wiesel

60. “Night is purer than day; it is better for thinking and 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. The tragedy of man is that he doesn’t know how to distinguish between day and night. He says things at night that should only be said by day.”
— Elie Wiesel

61. “Eternity is the place where questions and answers become one.”
— Elie Wiesel

62. “To forget a Holocaust is to kill twice.”
— Elie Wiesel

63. “The danger lies in forgetting.”
— Elie Wiesel

64. “Once you bring life into the world, you must protect it. We must protect it by changing the world.”
— Elie Wiesel

65. “Will you join me in hearing the case for keeping weapons from those who preach death to Israel and America?”
— Elie Wiesel

66. “Words can be turned into spears. They can be turned into prayers. It’s a strange world that you are in. But you deal with words.”
— Elie Wiesel

67. “I learned to trust the threats of enemies before the promises of friends.”
— Elie Wiesel

68. “This is the role of writers: to turn their tears into a story – and perhaps into a prayer.”
— Elie Wiesel

69. “Human beings should be held accountable. Leave God alone. He has enough problems.”
— Elie Wiesel

70. “Which is better, truth that is a lie or the lie that is truth?”
— Elie Wiesel

71. “Even in darkness, it is possible to create light and encourage compassion. That it is possible to feel free inside a prison. That even in exile, friendship exists and can become an anchor. That one instant before dying, man is still immortal.”
— Elie Wiesel

72. “I don’t think I should accept other people’s suffering because I suffered. Just the opposite, because I suffered I don’t want others to suffer.”
— Elie Wiesel

73. “For us it’s not easy to be conformist, I cannot stand to be conformist, I don’t accept what it is, I like to say no. If I see an injustice I scream.”
— Elie Wiesel

74. “I have no doubt that faith is only pure when it does not negate the faith of another. I have no doubt that evil can be fought and that indifference is no option. I have no doubt that fanaticism is dangerous. And of all the books in the world on life, I have no doubt that the life of one person weighs more than them all.”
— Elie Wiesel

75. “Peace is our gift to each other.”
— Elie Wiesel

76. “..you do not leave a library; if you do what it wants you to do, you are taking it with you.”
— Elie Wiesel

77. “Once upon a time refugee meant somebody who has a refuge, found a place, a haven where he could find refuge.”
— Elie Wiesel

78. “Anything you want to say about God you better make sure you can say in front of a pit of burning babies.”
— Elie Wiesel

79. “Human beings all change. Not what they are but who they are. We have the power to change what we do with our life and turn it into our destiny.”
— Elie Wiesel

80. “An indifference to suffering makes humans inhuman.”
— Elie Wiesel

81. “A religious person answers to God, not to the elected or non-elected official.”
— Elie Wiesel

82. “Write only if you cannot live without writing. Write only what you alone can write.”
— Elie Wiesel

83. “We must choose between the violence of adults and the smiles of children. Between the ugliness of hate and the will to oppose it. Between inflicting suffering and humiliation on our fellow man and offering him the solidarity and hope he deserves.”
— Elie Wiesel

84. “For me democracy is the only way of life. The opposite is dictatorship or anarchy.”
— Elie Wiesel

85. “In the beginning there was faith – which is childish; trust – which is vain; and illusion – which is dangerous.”
— Elie Wiesel

86. “Today, as yesterday, a nation is judged by its attitude towards refugees.”
— Elie Wiesel

87. “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.”
— Elie Wiesel

88. “Whoever survives a test, whatever it may be, must tell the story. That is his duty.”
— Elie Wiesel

89. “When you listen to a witness, you become a witness.”
— Elie Wiesel

90. “For me, every hour is grace. And I feel gratitude in my heart each time I can meet someone and look at his or her smile.”
— Elie Wiesel

91. “Take sides. Neutrality always serves the oppressor and never the oppressed.”
— Elie Wiesel

92. “I listen to music when I write. I need the musical background. Classical music. I’m behind the times. I’m still with Baroque music, Gregorian chant, the requiems, and with the quartets of Beethoven and Brahms. That is what I need for the climate, for the surroundings, for the landscape: the music.”
— Elie Wiesel

93. “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!”
— Elie Wiesel

94. “Only the guilty are guilty: the children of killers are not killers, but children.”
— Elie Wiesel

95. “I don’t want my past to become anyone else’s future.”
— Elie Wiesel

96. “Whenever an angel says “Be not afraid!” you’d better start worrying. A big assignment is on the way.”
— Elie Wiesel

97. “Every Jew, somewhere in his being, should set apart a zone of hate – healthy virile hate – for what the German personifies and for what persists in the German.”
— Elie Wiesel

98. “I have not lost faith in God. I have moments of anger and protest. Sometimes I’ve been closer to him for that reason.”
— Elie Wiesel

99. “When a person doesn’t have gratitude, something is missing in his or her humanity.”
— Elie Wiesel

100. “You know, words have a strange destiny, too. They grow. They get old. They die. They come back.”
— Elie Wiesel

101. “I decided to devote my life to telling the story because I felt that having survived I owe something to the dead. and anyone who does not remember betrays them again.”
— Elie Wiesel

102. “For nearly 3,500 years Exodus has left such an imprint on people’s memories that I cannot imagine it had been invented just as a legend or a tale.”
— Elie Wiesel

103. “What all these victims need above all is to know that they are not alone; that we are not forgetting them, that when their voices are stifled we shall lend them ours, that while their freedom depends on ours, the quality of our freedom depends on theirs.”
— Elie Wiesel

104. “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.”
— Elie Wiesel

105. “The darkest days in my life after the war, after the war, was when I discovered that the … most of the members and commanders of the Einsatz group that were doing the killings, not even in gas chambers, but killing with machine guns, had college degrees from German universities and PhD’s and MD’s. Couldn’t believe it.”
— Elie Wiesel

106. “None of us is in a position to eliminate war, but it is our obligation to denounce it and expose it in all its hideousness. War leaves no victors, only victims.”
— Elie Wiesel

107. “My good friends, we are all waiting. We are waiting, if not for the Messiah, as such, we are waiting for the messianic moment. And the messianic moment is what each and every one of us tries to build, meaning a certain area of humanity that links us to all those who are human and, therefore, desperately trying to fight despair as humanly as possible and – I hope – with some measure of success.”
— Elie Wiesel

108. “Gratitude is a word that I cherish. Gratitude is what defines the happiness and humanity of the human being.”
— Elie Wiesel

109. “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.”
— Elie Wiesel

110. “Because I survived, I must do everything possible to help others.”
— Elie Wiesel

111. “I think this century more than any other really has seen the phenomenon of people being uprooted in such numbers, such a degree. They even have a word for it: The refugees. It’s a new word, a 20th Century word, but refugee is actually a misnomer.”
— Elie Wiesel

112. “Only fanatics — in religion as well as in politics — can find meaning in someone else’s death.”
— Elie Wiesel

113. “The most important question a human being has to face… What is it? The question is, Why are we here?”
— Elie Wiesel

114. “Suffering pulls us farther away from other human beings. It builds a wall made of cries and contempt to separate us.”
— Elie Wiesel

115. “But where was I to start? The world is so vast, I shall start with the country I knew best, my own. But my country is so very large. I had better start with my town. But my town, too, is large. I had the best start with my street. No, my home. No, my family. Never mind, I shall start with myself.”
— Elie Wiesel

116. “We believed in God, trusted in man, and lived with the illusion that every one of us has been entrusted with a sacred spark.”
— Elie Wiesel

117. “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.”
— Elie Wiesel

118. “I marvel at the resilience of the Jewish people. Their best characteristic is their desire to remember. No other people has such an obsession with memory.”
— Elie Wiesel

119. “There is no word in Hebrew for religion, by the way.”
— Elie Wiesel

120. “For one who is indifferent, life itself is a prison. Any sense of community is external or, even worse, nonexistent. Thus, indifference means solitude. Those who are indifferent do not see others. They feel nothing for others and are unconcerned with what might happen to them. They are surrounded by a great emptiness. Filled by it, in fact. They are devoid of all hope as well as imagination. In other words, devoid of any future.”
— Elie Wiesel

121. “I was there when God was put on trial…At the end of the trial, they used the word chaya, rather than ‘guilty’. It means ‘He owes us something’. Then we went to pray.”
— Elie Wiesel

122. “John XXI was a very great pope and he’s the one who actually corrected the liturgy. He did so because of his friend Jules Isaac, a French Jewish historian who was a friend of John Paul, of John 23rd, and he convinced him and he changed the liturgy, no more Jew, the perfidious Jew, and so forth, and now, and don’t speak any more of the Jews killing Christ. Things have changed.”
— Elie Wiesel

123. “Never shall I forget those moments that murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to ashes.”
— Elie Wiesel

124. “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.”
— Elie Wiesel

125. “Philosophy is a slow process of logic and logical discourse: A bringing B bringing C and so forth. In mysticism, you can jump from A to Z. But the ultimate objective is the same. It’s knowledge. It’s truth.”
— Elie Wiesel

126. “Just as despair can come to one only from other human beings, hope, too, can be given to one only by other human beings.”
— Elie Wiesel

127. “All those – or most of those – who went through the experience during the Second World War – they want to remember more – more and more. It’s never enough because we feel that we have to tell the story. And no one can tell the story fully.”
— Elie Wiesel

128. “Indifference is the sign of sickness, a sickness of the soul more contagious than any other.”
— Elie Wiesel

129. “My faith is a wounded faith, but it’s not without faith. My life is not without faith.”
— Elie Wiesel

130. “How can one explain the attraction terror holds for some minds — and why for intellectuals? . . .In a totalitarian and terrorist regime, man is no longer a unique being with infinite possibilities and limitless choices but a number, a puppet, with just this difference — numbers and puppets are not susceptible to fear.”
— Elie Wiesel

131. “Friendship marks a life even more deeply than love.”
— Elie Wiesel

132. “Because of indifference, one dies before one actually dies.”
— Elie Wiesel

133. “Hunger is isolating; it may not and cannot be experienced vicariously. He who never felt hunger can never know its real effects, both tangible and intangible. Hunger defies imagination; it even defies memory. Hunger is felt only in the present.”
— Elie Wiesel

134. “There is divine beauty in learning… To learn means to accept the postulate that life did not begin at my birth. Others have been here before me, and I walk in their footsteps.”
— Elie Wiesel

135. “You shouldn’t act as a spokesperson for someone who’s trying to impose his will on you.”
— Elie Wiesel

136. “One day when I was able to get up, I decided to look at myself in the mirror on the opposite wall. I had not seen myself since the ghetto. From the depths of the mirror, a corpse was contemplating me. The look in his eyes as he gazed at me has never left me.”
— Elie Wiesel

137. “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.”
— Elie Wiesel

138. “I don’t know the real answer, my answer to anything which is essentially human relations is education. Whatever the answer is, education must be its measured component and if you try to educate with generosity not with triumphalism I think sometimes it works, especially young people, that’s why I teach, I’ve been teaching all my life.”
— Elie Wiesel

139. “Memory feeds a culture, nourishes hope and makes a human, human.”
— Elie Wiesel

140. “I believe in books. And when our people [coughing] – our people of Jerusalem, let’s say after the Romans destroyed the temple and the city, all we took is a little book, that’s all. Not treasures, we had no treasures. They were ransacked, and taken away. But the book – the little book – and this book produced more books, thousands, hundreds of thousands of books, and in the book we found our memory, and our attachment to that memory is what kept us alive.”
— Elie Wiesel

141. “Certain things, certain events, seem inexplicable only for a time: up to the moment when the veil is torn aside.”
— Elie Wiesel

142. “When adults wage war, children perish.”
— Elie Wiesel

143. “For the dead and the living, we must bear witness.”
— Elie Wiesel

144. “Perhaps someday someone will explain how, on the level of man, Auschwitz was possible; but on the level of God, it will forever remain the most disturbing of mysteries.”
— Elie Wiesel

145. “Without memory, there is no culture. Without memory, there would be no civilization, no society, no future.”
— Elie Wiesel

146. “When has religion ever been unifying? Religion has introduced many wars in this world, with enough bloodshed and violence.”
— Elie Wiesel

147. “It is by his freedom that a man knows himself, by his sovereignty over his own life that a man measures himself.”
— Elie Wiesel

148. “What would the future of man be if it were devoid of memory?”
— Elie Wiesel

149. “Some stories are true that never happened.”
— Elie Wiesel

150. “’Indifference to evil is equal to evil’ because it strengthens people.”
— Elie Wiesel

151. “Never shall I forget these things, even if I am condemned to life as long as God himself.”
— Elie Wiesel

152. “Some events do take place but are not true;
others are, although they never occurred.”
— Elie Wiesel

153. “For the survivor who chooses to testify, it is clear: his duty is to bear witness for the dead and for the living. He has no right to deprive future generations of a past that belongs to our collective memory. To forget would be not only dangerous but offensive; to forget the dead would be akin to killing them a second time.”
— Elie Wiesel

154. “With every cell of my being and with every fiber of my memory I oppose the death penalty in all forms. I do not believe any civilized society should be at the service of death. I don’t think it’s human to become an agent of the angel of death.”
— Elie Wiesel

155. “I shall always remember that smile. From what world did it come from?”
— Elie Wiesel

156. “I’ve given my life to the principle and the ideal of memory, and remembrance.”
— Elie Wiesel

157. “After my father’s death, nothing could touch me anymore.”
— Elie Wiesel

158. “There is a difference between a book of two hundred pages from the very beginning and a book of two hundred pages which is the result of an original eight hundred pages. The six hundred are there. Only you don’t see them.”
— Elie Wiesel

159. “I told him that I did not believe that they could burn people in our age, that humanity would never tolerate it . . .”
— Elie Wiesel

160. “What is Scripture? The Hebrew word is Torah. Torah means teaching and learning.”
— Elie Wiesel

161. “My teachers [ had the most impact in my life]. Of course, my father and grandfather, but after my family, my teachers.”
— Elie Wiesel

162. “A destruction, an annihilation that only man can provoke, only man can prevent.”
— Elie Wiesel

163. “I think those governments who resent religion, they’re afraid of religion because religion may be in their eyes, in their views be seen as a counter-government or a parallel government.”
— Elie Wiesel

164. “I think so. 9/11 has been a turning point in American history, there’s no doubt about that.”
— Elie Wiesel

165. “Whatever you think in life… think higher and feel deeper.”
— Elie Wiesel

166. “I thought that culture and education are the shields. An educated person cannot do certain things and, and be educated, you cannot, and there they were, killing children day after day.”
— Elie Wiesel

167. “Man asks and God replies but we don’t understand his replies because they dwell in the depths of our souls and remain there until we die.”
— Elie Wiesel

168. “My approach is not a scientific approach. For that, we have greater minds than mine. My approach is: I am in the possession of a text, it has survived so many centuries, and it is my task, my pleasure, to try to decipher it and find all the things that have been said about these few words by generations and generations of commentators. That is what I’m doing. I don’t innovate anything. I’m just repeating.”
— Elie Wiesel

169. “Did everything I could in my life to be immune to hatred, because hatred is a cancer.”
— Elie Wiesel

170. “I may be a descendant of Seth. I say to myself, What does [the story of Cain and Abel] teach me? So I go back to all the interpretations in the Talmud, which to me are a source of pleasure and joy. Then I say, maybe this story is not for then; maybe it’s for now! Brothers can kill one another in civil wars. But most importantly, whoever kills, kills his brother. That’s a moral conclusion that may not be there, but that must be my conclusion. Otherwise, why read it? Whoever kills, kills his brother.”
— Elie Wiesel

171. “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.”
— Elie Wiesel

172. “You know how many reasons we have to be desperate and despairing, the world is not learning anything. We have seen that.”
— Elie Wiesel

173. “Indifference elicits no response. Indifference is not a response. Indifference is not a beginning; it is an end. And, therefore, indifference is always the friend of the enemy, for it benefits the aggressor – never his victim, whose pain is magnified when he or she feels forgotten.”
— Elie Wiesel

174. “Yet another last night. The last night at home, the last night in the ghetto, the last night in the train, and, now, the last night in Buna. How much longer were our lives to be dragged out from one ‘last night’ to another?”
— Elie Wiesel

175. “What [Franz] Kafka says about the Tower of Babel: In the beginning, there were actually many languages, and then as a punishment God gave the world a single language. And then they stopped understanding each other.”
— Elie Wiesel

176. “Everything is in it: the promise and the hope and the fear and the challenge and the defiance. The test is a double test: Just as God tested Abraham, Abraham tested God: “Let’s see if you really want me to go ahead with it and kill my son.” Then the angel says, “Do not raise your hand against the boy” [Genesis 22:12]. It was the Angel of God who says this, not God. God was embarrassed.”
— Elie Wiesel

177. “I was convinced that hatred among nations and among people perished in Auschwitz. It didn’t. The victims died but the haters are still here.”
— Elie Wiesel

178. “I make a difference between genocide and the Holocaust. Holocaust was mainly Jewish, that was the only people, to the last Jew, sentenced to die for one reason, for being Jewish, that’s all.”
— Elie Wiesel

179. “Fanaticism is the greatest threat today. Literally, the 21st century threatened by fanatics, and we have fanatics in every religion, unfortunately, and what can we do against them? Words nothing else, I’m against violence but only words.”
— Elie Wiesel

180. “If anyone had told us in 1945 that there are certain battles we’ll have to fight again we wouldn’t have believed it. Racism, anti-Semitism, starvation of children and, who would have believed that? At least I was convinced then, naively, that at least something happened in history that, because of myself, certain things cannot happen again.”
— Elie Wiesel

181. “The only way for us to help ourselves is to help others and to listen to each other’s stories.”
— Elie Wiesel

182. “The books I have read were composed by generations of fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, teachers and disciples. I am the sum total of their experiences, and so are you.”
— Elie Wiesel

183. “Refugee today means somebody who has no home. No homeland. No security. No government to protect him or her. And it is of course one feels not only uprooted, one feels useless. One feels always surrounded by hostile forces. Arousing suspicion.”
— Elie Wiesel

184. “At Auschwitz, not only man died, but also the idea of man. To live in a world where there is nothing anymore, where the executioner acts as god, as judge-many wanted no part of it. It was its own heart the world incinerated at Auschwitz.”
— Elie Wiesel

185. “Holy War is a contradiction of terms.”
— Elie Wiesel

186. “I think that human beings are capable of the worst things possible and they show that there were times, and there probably are times, that it is human to be inhuman.”
— Elie Wiesel

187. “For in the end, it is all about memory, its sources and its magnitude, and, of course, its consequences.”
— Elie Wiesel

188. “Love makes everything complicated.”
— Elie Wiesel

189. “If there is one person on the planet who still is suffering from loneliness and from pain or despair, and we don’t know about it, or we don’t want to know about it, then something is wrong with the world.”
— Elie Wiesel

190. “Fanaticism in many lands has surfaced as the greatest threat to the world. Indifference to its consequences would be a serious mistake.”
— Elie Wiesel

191. “I think that human beings are capable of the worst things possible.”
— Elie Wiesel

192. “The more you ask certain questions, the more dangerous they become.”
— Elie Wiesel

193. “Often I say to myself “Really, what are we doing on this planet?” We are passing the message as well as we can, communicating our fears, our hopes … Day in day out, week after week and year after year, people kill each other.”
— Elie Wiesel

194. “There are victories of the soul and spirit. Sometimes, even if you lose, you win.”
— Elie Wiesel

195. “Man, by definition, is born a stranger: coming from nowhere, he is thrust into an alien world which existed before him-a world which didn’t need him. And which will survive him.”
— Elie Wiesel

196. “My God was never happiness, but to understand and be understood.”
— Elie Wiesel

197. “Now, when I hear that Christians are getting together in order to defend the people of Israel, of course it brings joy to my heart. And it simply says, look, people have learned from history.”
— Elie Wiesel

198. “Listen to me, kid. Don’t forget that you are in a concentration camp. In this place, it is very many for himself, and you cannot think of others. Not even you father. In this place, there is no such thing as father, brother, friend. Each of us lives and dies alone. Let me give you good advice: stop giving your ration of bread and soup to your old father. You cannot help him anymore. And you are hurting yourself. In fact, you should be getting his rations.”
— Elie Wiesel

199. “Indifference, to me, is the epitome of evil.”
— Elie Wiesel

200. “I’d rather speak as a student of philosophy. Philosophically it makes no sense, absolutely makes no sense. Why should people inherit evil things when their memories could contain and should invoke good things?”
— Elie Wiesel

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