Elie Wiesel oral history interview

Citation
Elie Wiesel oral history interview

Material Information

Title:
Elie Wiesel oral history interview
Uniform Title:
Holocaust & genocide studies oral history projects
Creator:
University of South Florida Libraries -- Holocaust & Genocide Studies Center
University of South Florida -- Library. -- Special & Digital Collections. -- Oral History Program

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Holocaust survivors -- Florida ( lcsh )
Holocaust survivors -- Interviews ( lcsh )
Genocide ( lcsh )
Crimes against humanity ( lcsh )
Genre:
Oral history. ( local )
Online audio. ( local )
letter ( marcgt )
Oral history ( local )
Online audio ( local )

Notes

General Note:
Full cataloging of this resource is underway and will replace this temporary record when complete.
Statement of Responsibility:
interviewed by Dr. Kevin McGurgan.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of South Florida Library
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
F60-00056 ( USFLDC DOI )
f60.56 ( USFLDC Handle )

Postcard Information

Format:
Audio

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xml version 1.0 encoding UTF-8 transcript
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text Kevin McGurgan: Twenty-four years.
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00:00:1.3
Elie Wiesel: Where?
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00:00:2.9
KM: So before here, Ive served in Afghanistan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Bosnia
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EW: All of them, very quiet places.
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KM: All of the very quiet places.
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EW: The best. (laughs)
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KM: Soso, Bosnia and
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EW: When were you in Bosnia?
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KM: Just after the Dayton Peace Accords The Dayton Peace Accords marked the end of the Bosnian War. were signed. So, we had a small embassy, essentially two diplomats. And well, you know, you have two diplomats and, and inside, 30,000 British troops. And we were responsible for trying to work the politics ofalongside a big American operation, with athe Dayton Peace Accords. Andand I lived in Bosnia for a year.
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00:00:48.0
And in fact, Id ended another job later on in the Foreign Office where I was the head of the Serbia and Montenegro and War Criminal Section, where we applied political pressure toto governments in Belgrade, to hand over Slobodan Milosevic Slobodan Milosevic was a Serbian and Yugoslav politician who was president of Serbia and later the president of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia from 1989 to 2000. Milosevic was indicted in 1999 for war crimes that occurred during the Yugoslav Wars. andand otherothers for trial at The Hague.
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EW: I was there. I was in Bosnia.
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KM: You were in Bosnia?
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EW: I met Milosevic, I met all of his people.
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KM: What did you think of him?
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EW: He pretended to be a saint.
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KM: No. Wow.
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EW: The man with blood on his hands, you know.
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KM: He did, he did.
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EW: But they all do.
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KM: Yeah. What do you dosometimes I wonder what people think about when governments have to deal with people like that?
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EW: Justice first of all, justice, no matter what, no matter what.
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KM: Yeah.
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EW: Im not so much for punishment, but for justice.
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KM: Yes.
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EW: At least justice must be done.
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KM: Yeah.
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EW: Then who the hell cares, to jail, not to jail? If they can sleep well at night, its their problem there, but at least justice must be done.
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KM: Yeah.
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EW: Because it becomes history.
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KM: It does. And have you also gone to
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EW: I was there for (inaudible).
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KM: To Africa, as far as Rwanda and places?
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EW: Not so far. No I didnt go to Rwanda, but Ive seen both of the Rwanda things.
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KM: Yeah.
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EW: I knew enough because at that climate, its soso easy to get informationI met the prime minister, the president and so forth, the channels
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KM: Yeah. Yeah. I have not beenbeen thereI met my wife in BosniaI mean shes not Bosnian but wewevewe met there when we were working there. Wewe still go back and uh
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EW: I was there.
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KM: Toto Srebrenica, some places. Okay. Want me to ask the questions?
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Jane Duncan: Ive been recording.
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KM: Okay.
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JD: If thats okay.
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EW: Oh you have been? Go ahead.
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KM: Okayso, okay.
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EW: This going to be in my program, not yours.
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KM: (laughs) Exactly. Okay. So, can you tell us your story of why you believe its right that Britain commemorates the Holocaust for future generations?
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EW: What is the alternative? Not to remember? It will give victoryor a sense of victory. Itd be justified, Im sure. Im sure an attempt could be made to say, Look it belongs to the past, nothing to do with us today or for tomorrow, forget it. Nothing is worse than forgetting. I understand remembering can think its wrong, but not to remember is not an option.
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KM: Okay. Whats your message to schoolchildren in Britain who are thinking about how Britain should commemorate the Holocaust?
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EW: First of all, to know the storyand itstoday, so easy to know the story, to learn about it, so many books have been published by all sides; by the victims, by the perpetrators, by the bystanders, by the governments, by civilians, nearly never before has any event caught such a coverage from all viewpoints, from all aspects, from all sides. So its easy and not to do so would be to deprive them ofof extraordinary element in education.
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KM: Yeah. Great. Thank you veryvery much. Is that good?
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Barbara Lewis: I was gonna say. Would you mind if I asked a question?
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KM: Sure.
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BL: Its been almost seventy years since the world finally opened itits eyes, to see what had happened in Germany and Eastern Europe. What have we learned in that time?
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EW: Atat the time we didnt, of course, to learn afterwards, what we learned first of all is that the role of the witness is of absolute importance. For who is a witness, someone who says, I was there. Or, I saw it. Or I spoke to a witness. To become the witness to a witness is as important as to be a witness. And that isthat is, of course, a precondition, not only for memory but for education. How can one live today, for instance, without realizing that in those times, those times, the whole world was involved for good or bad. On one side, of course there were the good. On the other side there were the bad and their assistants and their collaborators. What made them to do what they did? What made an executioner be capable ofof eating a morning breakfast and lunch and then afternoon, go and kill Jewish children? And come home, speak andand play with his children? What made him human? Because he was a human being after all? Whats it say about the humanity of the human being? Is it aatoo much to say that in those times, it was human to be inhuman? To shoot a part of humanity? And that is the tragedy. Too easy to say, God made us do it. God has other things to do.
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KM: Okay, thank you very much indeed for giving us your time.
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EW: Of course.
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KM: Thank you.



PAGE 1

COPYRIGHT NOTICE This Oral History is copyrighted by the University of South Florida Libraries Oral History Program on behalf of the Board of Trustees of the University of South Florida. Copyright, 2014 University of South Florida. All rights, reserved. This oral history may be used for research, instruction, and private study under the provisions of the Fair Use. Fair Use is a provision of the United States Copyright Law (United States Code, Title 17, section 107), which allows limited use of copyrighted materials under certain conditions. Fair Use limits the amount of material that may be used. For all other permissions and requests, contact the UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA LIBRARIES ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at the University of South Florida, 42 02 E. Fowler Avenue, LIB 122, Tampa, FL 33620.


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