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Elie Wiesel’s Acceptance Speech for the Nobel Peace Prize

It is via a prodiscovered sense of humility that I accept the honor you have actually favored to bestow upon me. I know: your choice transcends me. This both frightens and pleases me.

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It frigh10s me because I wonder: perform I have the right to represent the multitudes that have actually perished? Do I have the right to accept this excellent honor on their behalf? I perform not. That would certainly be presumptuous. No one might sheight for the dead, no one may translate their mutilated desires and visions.

It pleases me bereason I might say that this honor belongs to all the survivors and also their kids, and with us, to the Jewish civilization via whose destiny I have actually always determined.

I remember: it occurred yesterday or eternities ago. A young Jewish boy found the kingdom of night. I remember his bewilderment. I remember his anguish. It all taken place so quick. The ghetto. The deportation. The sealed cattle car. The fiery altar upon which the background of our people and also the future of mansort were supposed to be sacrificed.

I remember: he asked his father: “Can this be true? This is the 20th century, not the Middle Ages. Who would allow such crimes to be committed? How can the people reprimary silent?”

And now the boy is turning to me: “Tell me,” he asks. “What have you done through my future? What have you done through your life?”

And I tell him that I have tried. That I have tried to save memory alive, that I have actually tried to fight those that would certainly forget. Due to the fact that if we forgain, we are guilty, we are accomplices.

And then I describe to him exactly how naive we were, that the human being did know and stayed silent. And that is why I swore never before to be silent once and also wherever people endure suffering and also humiliation. We need to always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never before the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never before the tormented.

Sometimes we have to interfere. When human stays are endangered, when humale dignity is in jeopardy, nationwide borders and also sensitivities come to be irpertinent. Whenever before males or women are persecuted because of their race, religion or political views, that must—at that moment— end up being the facility of the universe…

Yes, I have faith. Faith in God and also also in His development. Without it no action would be feasible. And activity is the just remedy to indifference: the a lot of insidious peril of all. Isn’t this the definition of Alfred Nobel’s legacy? Wasn’t his are afraid of war a shield against war?

Tright here is much to be done, there is a lot that have the right to be done. One person … of integrity can make a distinction, a difference in between life and also death. As lengthy as one dissident is in prichild, our flexibility will not be true. As long as one son is hungry, our lives will certainly be filled via anguish and shame.

What all these victims require over all is to recognize that they are not alone; that we are not forobtaining them, that once their voices are stilled we shall lfinish them ours, that while their freedom depends on ours, the quality of our flexibility counts on theirs.

This is what I say to the young Jewish boy wondering what I have done with his years. It is in his name that I speak to you and I express to you my deepest gratitude. No one is as qualified of gratitude as one that has emerged from the kingdom of night.

We understand that every minute is a minute of grace, eextremely hour an offering; not to share them would intend to betray them. Our lives no much longer belengthy to us alone; they belong to all those that require us desperately.

Thank you Chairman Aarvik. Thank you, members of the Nobel Committee. Thank you, human being of Normethod, for advertising on this singular occasion that our survival has actually meaning for mankind.

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From the New York Times, December 11, 1986.

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