Elie Wiesel: The Passing of a Resiler

 - see NL article page for photo credit

by Kristin Pintarich

We'd like to pay tribute to one of the most outspoken Holocaust survivors, Elie Wiesel, who died in July. Wiesel was 15 years old when he and his family were sent to a string of concentration camps, initially enduring the death of his mother, younger sister, and eventually his father. After years of silence on the Holocaust, Wiesel opened up about the experience, wrote his best-selling memoir Night, relocated to New York City, became a US citizen, and spent his life devoted to remembrance of the Holocaust and prevention of future atrocities.

Wiesel was the recipient of the 1986 Nobel Peace Prize and authored nearly 60 books, both fiction and non-fiction. According to his foundation's website, he worked endlessly "to combat indifference, intolerance and injustice through international dialogue and youth-focused programs that promote acceptance, understanding and equality."

Themes common to Wiesel’s body of work are to never forget and “never again.” Both of which are integral to the resiliency process for individuals and communities. Unless analyzed and dealt with, history can repeat itself, and choosing not to repeat certain old behaviors and attitudes is a sign of integration and learning.

Elie Wiesel was a prominent example of the Level 5 resiliency principle of serendipity — turning extreme misfortune into good fortune:

"Having survived by chance, I felt I must confer a meaning on my survival. There was nothing else I could do, so I wrote."
(from "Chicago Students Learn a Lesson in Resilience when Elie Wiesel Visits" a speech to students at Orr High School, Chicago, Ill., April 24, 2002)

We encourage you to explore more about Elie Wiesel’s remarkable story and lifelong efforts toward obtaining world peace.

Resources for additional learning:

Photo Credit: World Economic Forum from Cologny, Switzerland - World Economic Forum Annual Meeting Davos 2003, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3581251

Kristin Pintarich is Editor in Chief for Practical Psychology Press, a sister company to the Al Siebert Resiliency Center. She has a BA in communications from Oregon State University and was assistant to Dr. Siebert from 1991 through his death in 2009.

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