A-7713 never forgot and made us remember

A-7713 never forgot and made us remember
Photo: Chicago Tribune

We live in an age of hatred. Pure unadulterated hatred.

Conservatives hate liberals. Liberals hate conservatives. People hate Muslims, Jews, Christians, and Atheists. Immigrants and refugees are hated. Politicians are hated. Our mayor is hated. President Obama and the two top contenders for the White House are hated.

It appears there is no love in this world.

We are fast becoming a nation of haters. Do not agree with someone? They hate you. You hate them. The largest spreader of hatred is social media, Facebook and Twitter. Some news media outlets like the New York Daily News, Breitbart, and Huffington Post spread and foment hatred.

Hatred and revenge are replacing baseball as the national past time. Hatred is not confined to the ignorant, illiterate, or uneducated. Some of the most educated people spout hatred. Some of our elite and establishment politicians spout hatred.

Over the past year, hatred has become viral and virulent.

On July 2nd a man who had every reason to hate and seek vengeance died. A-7713 died at his home in New York City. A-7713 was the number tattooed on his arm. The number he was known as in the Auschwitz and Buchenwald death camps of the Holocaust. A man who lost his name, his family, and his soul in those camps. A man who witnessed the horrors of hatred and evil humans inflict on other humans.

Years after his liberation, A-7713 wrote the following passage in his most famous book:

"Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp, which has turned my life into one long night, seven times cursed and seven times sealed. Never shall I forget that smoke. Never shall I forget the little faces of the children, whose bodies I saw turned into wreaths of smoke beneath a silent blue sky. Never shall I forget those flames which consumed my faith forever. Never shall I forget that nocturnal silence which deprived me, for all eternity, of the desire to live. Never shall I forget those moments which murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to dust. Never shall I forget these things, even if I am condemned to live as long as God Himself. Never."

"Never shall I forget..."

Elie Wiesel never forgot. Instead of hatred and seeking revenge, he spent his life as a witness to evil. Mr. Wiesel spent his life attempting to right the wrongs that could lead to another Holocaust. Another "Night".

Elie Wiesel used his experience to make the world a better place. He sought peace in a world of perpetual war. He sought justice in a world of injustice. He sought humanity in a world of cruel inhumanity. He sought life in a world of ethnic cleansing and genocide.

He did not hold up God to do his work. He never claimed to be God's messenger on earth. Though Mr. Wiesel was Jewish, he was agnostic.

Elie Wiesel told the world what happened to him. He set about trying to make the world a better place. He exposed hatred for what it is. Stupid, ignorant, and evil.

Elie Wiesel never forgot. He never forgot what hatred did to him. He never forgot what evil men can do.

He never forgot. He made us remember.

Elie Wiesel channeled all his energy into doing good for others. He made us remember and understand the evil men do because of hatred.

He left us one undying legacy. Through his books and his life, we will never forget the evil, stupidity, and ignorance that breeds hatred. We will never forget that hatred kills. We will never forget that man can be an inherently evil creature.

The world owes a debt of gratitude to Elie Wiesel. It can only be repaid by never forgetting the man and his message. A message of hope, peace, and love.

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