Elie and Marion Wiesel were presented the Theodor Herzl Award last evening, in a ceremony led by Hillary Clinton.
“Elie’s own story of survival and those of others he’s helped tell…has steeled the world’s resolve that such an atrocity can never be repeated,” Clinton said at the New York gala hosted by the World Jewish Congress.
“The Wiesels have worked to overcome indifference toward the suffering of oppressed and marginalized populations around the world: Soviet Jews, Miskito Indians, refugees from Cambodia, prisoners from the former Yugoslavia, victims of the genocide in Darfur. Looking toward the future, Elie and Marion have filled us with hope and optimism for a freer, more just world.”
The former secretary of state also took a moment to laud the international efforts of the WJC: “For nearly 80 years, the World Jewish Congress has helped protect Jewish communities around the world, worked to stamp out anti-Semitism wherever it still exists and promoted understanding and friendship among people of all faiths.”
The Herzl Award is given out annually by the WJC, to honor individuals who “carry forward Herzl’s ideals for a safer, more tolerant world through international support for Israel and enhanced understanding of Jewish history, culture and peoplehood.”
“I can think of no more fitting couple for this honor than Elie and Marion Wiesel, who have dedicated their lives to promoting peace and understanding and the security of the Jewish people and the State of Israel,” said WJC President Ronald S. Lauder.
“The Wiesels are a Jewish and world treasure who live and breathe Herzl’s ideals. Their contribution to the understanding of the Holocaust and to combatting intolerance and injustice worldwide is incalculable.”
The Wiesels founded the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity after Elie was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986. Elie Wiesel, whose memoir “Night” helped bring the experience of Holocaust survivors into world consciousness, is the author of more than 60 works of fiction and non-fiction.