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Elie Wiesel’ Silence: Critical Essay

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Prime Minister Carlsson (Sweden), World Leaders, and Reporters from around the world:

50 years ago a boy and his family were taken away to a place of death and peril, a place where God would never visit. 50 years ago, the devil took away everything from him, his family, his home, and almost the precious faith he believed in. 50 years ago, no one spoke up for him and his people. 50 years ago his people were silenced. We have learned from what happened 50 years ago, that this living hell shall never occur again, and that is why we have met here today in the beautiful city of Stockholm, to break the silence. Right now people are being oppressed and murdered in Bosnia as many stand by and say nothing. But we can say something. We can do something. I realized why God hadn't saved us from the Holocaust. We had to suffer so that no one else could suffer the way that we did. The Jews, are now the Bosniaks. Adolf Hitler is now Slobodan Milošević. Mass murder and extermination camps are still the same. History is repeating itself. We shall not stand by to witness horrid events that have already occurred.

But the Bosnians have something that we Jews didn’t have, a voice. Now we have the power to use their voice and stop the oppression they are facing. The Lutheran pastor Martin Niemöller said it best, “Then they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me.” (Niemoller). The events that took place in World War II demand us to extinguish the flame of tyranny before it burns down the forest. When I wrote the book, Jews of Silence, I heard the stories of the Russian Jews. When they spoke out against the Soviet Government, they killed the poets. They were killed because they used the weapon that tyranny is afraid of, a voice. “Silence helps the killer, never his victims.”(Elie Wiesel: Witness for Humanity). And that is the weapon we will use to kill this genocide in Bosnia.

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But still have we learned our lesson? No, we haven't. This is one of many genocides that have taken place after the Holocaust. Slobodan has committed war crimes before, first in Croatia, then Bosnia, and now he is doing it again ('Slobodan Milošević”). The world is tired of these mass murders. The world is tired of ethnic cleansing. The world is tired of its Hitler. 6 million Jews had to suffer and for what? For it to happen again in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, and so many other times that I can’t count on my fingers (Elie Wiesel: Witness for Humanity). Let this be the last time that people be subjected to this violence. Let this be the last time people are broken. Let this be the last time we have to meet like this today.

I am their messenger. I am the one who is using their voice to keep the Bosniaks alive. I am the one using their voice to inform you of these events. In Srebrenica, 8000 Bosniaks were killed and 25,000 were deported from their land this year. They still don’t know for sure how many have died in total ('Bosnian genocide'). As the Bosnian War comes to an end, we shall not let this event be forgotten. I have already dedicated my life to keeping the stories of the six million Jews alive ('The Life and Work of Wiesel”). Let's keep the Bosniaks’ stories alive too so that people can see what the Bosniaks have gone through and to show the people that this event shouldn’t happen again. Let their voices reign down like thunder upon their oppressors so that they face justice!

50 years ago, the Nazis killed 6 million people. 50 years ago the Nazis killed my family. 50 years ago they killed me. 50 years ago I had to learn how to live again (Elie Wiesel: Witness for Humanity). But when I left that camp two things remained, my faith and my story. 50 years ago the Nazis failed. The Jews are still alive and so are their stories. We need to stop the Serbians and Milosevic so that the same can be said about the Bosniaks’ faith and stories. Let's put out the fire of tyranny before it engulfs another ethnicity.

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Elie Wiesel’ Silence: Critical Essay. (2023, September 15). Edubirdie. Retrieved February 21, 2024, from
“Elie Wiesel’ Silence: Critical Essay.” Edubirdie, 15 Sept. 2023,
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