Elie Wiesel, Auschwitz survivor and Nobel Peace Prize winner, charismatic lecturer and author of several dozen books, died Saturday at age 87.
It was his voice—and his gift for the haunting phrase—that emerged to fill the frozen silence in the aftermath of the Germans’ systematic massacre of Jews, searing the memory of the Holocaust on the world’s conscience.
“Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp, which has turned my life into one long night, seven times cursed and seven times sealed,” Wiesel wrote. “Never shall I forget that smoke. Never shall I forget the little faces of the children, whose bodies I saw turned into wreaths of smoke beneath a silent blue sky. Never shall I forget those flames which consumed my faith forever. Never shall I forget the nocturnal silence which deprived me, for all eternity, of the desire to live. Never shall I forget those moments which murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to dust. Never shall I forget these things, even if I am condemned to live as long as God himself. Never.”