“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. Because of indifference, one dies before one actually dies. To be in the window and watch people being sent to concentration camps or being attacked in the street and do nothing, that’s being dead.” (1)
Elie Wiesel – ‘U.S. News and World Report‘ (27 Oct. 1986)
Eliezer “Elie” Wiesel was a Romanian-born American Jewish writer, human right activist, and Holocaust survivor, who was born in a town in the Carpathian Mountains on 30 September 1928 and died in New York in 2016.
When he was 15, he was sent to the Auschwitz concentration camp where his mother and his younger sister were immediately murdered. He was next taken to Buchenwald camp, liberated in 1945 when it was going to be evacuated. It was too late for his father, who had died after a beating.
Wiesel wrote more than fifty books including his memoir “Night” based on his experiences as a prisoner in those Nazi German concentration camps.
He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1986 for speaking out against violence, repression, and racism. During his acceptance speech he explained his feelings:
“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.” (2)
(1) L’opposto dell’amore non è l’odio, è l’indifferenza. L’opposto dell’arte non è il brutto, è l’indifferenza. L’opposto della fede non è eresia, è indifferenza. E l’opposto della vita non è la morte, è l’indifferenza. A causa dell’indifferenza, si muore prima di morire realmente. Stare alla finestra e guardare le persone che vengono mandate nei campi di concentramento o aggredite per strada e non fare nulla, è essere morti
(2) Ho giurato di non tacere mai quando e dove gli esseri umani sopportano sofferenze e umiliazioni. Dobbiamo sempre prendere posizione. La neutralità aiuta l’oppressore, mai la vittima. Il silenzio incoraggia il tormentatore, mai il tormentato.