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Reuters/ Jason Reed
A “messenger to mankind.”

“One person of integrity can make a difference”: The powerful words of “Night” author Elie Wiesel

Olivia Goldhill
By Olivia Goldhill

Science reporter

The Nobel Peace Prize laureate and author Elie Wisel has died at the age of 87. The author of “Night,” which describes his experiences at Auschwitz concentration camp, was described as a “messenger to mankind,” when he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986. Here are few of his most powerful messages.

  • “We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”
  • “Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Wherever 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.”
  • “Friendship marks a life even more deeply than love. Love risks degenerating into obsession, friendship is never anything but sharing.”
  • “No human race is superior; no religious faith is inferior. All collective judgments are wrong. Only racists make them.”
  • 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.”
  • “Think higher, feel deeper.”
  • “No human being is illegal.”
  • “There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.”
  • “One person of integrity can make a difference.”
  • “When a person doesn’t have gratitude, something is missing in his or her humanity. A person can almost be defined by his or her attitude toward gratitude.”
  • “To forget the dead would be akin to killing them a second time.”
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