Richard Ben-Veniste and
Richard Holbrooke and Elie Wiesel
Tom Brokaw, Richard Holbrooke,
Elie Wiesel and Kofi Annan
Wiesel Spends Lifetime
Searching For Words
OM BROKAW, the NBC news anchor, said he’s “your Shabbos goy for the evening” as he welcomed 400 black-tie guests to Elie Wiesel’s 75th birthday party in May at New York’s Waldorf-Astoria.
Actually, Wiesel was born on September 30, but we won’t quibble with the Anti-Defamation League, which sponsored the celebration for the Nobel Peace laureate.
Sen. Hillary Clinton said the fight against anti-Semitism goes on every day and “we need eloquent fighters like Elie Wiesel.”
Former UN Ambassador Richard Holbrooke recalled a day in 1995 when heads of state gathered to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.
The European leaders wanted to universalize “the world’s most infamous killing fields,” but Wiesel protested that the truth must be told: “the death camp was built solely to annihilate the Jewish people.”
Poland’s Lech Walesa was perplexed, but came around in support of Wiesel.
“I cannot imagine the world understanding the Holocaust without Elie Wiesel,” Holbrooke said.
UN secretary general Kofi Annan said, “Elie, the world needs you to speak out.” And ADL national director Abraham Foxman added, “Elie, you have given voice and continuity to a million and a half children who were murdered.”
For his part Wiesel said he spent a lifetime searching for the right words.
Conductor Matthew Lazar got Wiesel on stage to join the Zamir Chorale. The world’s most famous Holocaust survivor sang to a hushed audience his people’s song of hope, Ani Maamin (“I believe in the coming of Moshiach”).
Brokaw spoke for all the guests, including Gen. Wesley Clark, Ted Koppel, Bush campaign officer Ralph Reed and Kerry campaign officer Cam Kerry, when he said, “That was very moving.”