"The Board, supporters, and friends of the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights mourns the passing of Holocaust survivor, Nobel Peace laureate, and conscience of humanity Professor Elie Wiesel, who served also as the founding honourary co-chair of the Wallenberg Centre.
Indeed, Professor Wiesel delivered the first ever Raoul Wallenberg lectureship in Human Rights at McGill university in 1987 – titled “witness” – a compelling, evocative and inspirational address where audience members sat transfixed, a lecture that has been credited with transforming the lives of many.
When a Nobel committee awarded Professor Wiesel the Prize in 1986 the choice was greeted with international acclaim, for it is difficult to imagine any citizen in the world who so commanded the respect and attention of political leaders the people themselves. One suspects that, if the Nobel committee had awarded the prize for literature, the acclaim would have been no less.
Elie Wiesel writes, as the title of one of his books suggest, as a “soul on fire.” That flame has not only illuminated the literary imagination, it has ignited the struggle for peace and human rights worldwide. Yet the man who argued that Auschwitz and Birkenau were beyond communication – let alone comprehension – not only conveyed the particularity of the horror but also the universality of its lessons – the danger of forgetting and the imperative of remembrance; the danger of indifference and the responsibility to act; in a word, the responsibility to always struggle for justice and against injustice."