FAU Carries On Wiesel’s Legacy Through ‘Elie Wiesel Memorial Symposium’ Event
By: Nikki Colonna
Florida Atlantic University is featuring the “Elie Wiesel Memorial Symposium: A Celebration of Wiesel’s Life and Work” event on Sunday, February 5, in the University Theatre. The school welcomes all to the free presentation from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m as the campus joins in remembering such a special man.
Elie Wiesel (1928-2016), a Holocaust survivor, is remembered as an influential man, an author and Nobel Peace Prize winner. His speeches and writings mirror his never ending fight for human rights. After living through the Holocaust and losing everything, his goals consisted of bettering his life, living with positivity and having love for others. He has taken his experiences and rendered them into messages in his books. He has published more than 60 books, each translated into 30 different languages, which influence his audience to value human rights and realize the importance of human life.
“Whatever you do in life, remember: think higher and feel deeper” is one of his most well-known mantras because he thought life was too short, too important and too precious to waste a moment.
This year is the first without Wiesel, as he left us at age 87.
“It really is sad [Wiesel is no longer with us]” said Holocaust studies professor and Judaic studies specialist, Alan L. Berger. “but that is why this event is to celebrate and to remember all the good he brought over the years.”
Berger, a ‘Raddock Family eminent scholar chair’, has taken it upon himself to coordinate and organize this celebration at FAU. Berger knew Wiesel for roughly 40 years and describes him as being the “moral conscience of the world”. Berger plans to convey the impact of Wiesel’s work on Jewish-Christian relations in his speech. He will also express how grateful he is for the time Elie spent teaching classes and mentoring him through the years.
“The most iconic thing about him? Where do I begin? I think that the fact that he always spoke truth to power and always fought for common human decency, which there is a lack of these days, is incredible,” stated Berger.
Berger acknowledges how truly memorable a man like Elie Wiesel was in every aspect. This event will hopefully frame how people see and remember such a figure with a message and influence of greatness rooted from a tragedy in history. He is an example of how love and positivity can come out of such a place of hate and prejudice. FAU’s event will make this honorable day into a memory of a lifetime for such an unforgettable individual.
Berger will be one of the eight specialists in all areas of education will come together at FAU to recognize Wiesel’s accomplishments and speak on his behalf. They will discuss topics emphasized in Wiesel’s books and present their own works written about Elie Wiesel. Each speaker crossed paths with Wiesel, and they are coming together to share their fondest memories of him.
Other guest speakers include: Judith Ginsberg (founding executive director of ‘The Covenant Foundation’ in 1990), Barbara Helfgott Hyett (director of PoemWorks), Carolyn Johnston (professor at Eckerd College and American intellectual history), Henry Knight (Holocaust and genocide studies professor at Keene State College), David Patterson (editor of the Anti-semitism Series at the Academic Studies Press), Alan Rosen (author and editor of 11 books), and John K. Roth (director of the Center for the Study of the Holocaust, Genocide and Human Rights at Claremont McKenna College).