House Passes Rep. Israel's Bipartisan Resolution Honoring Elie Wiesel

Press Release

Date: Sept. 12, 2016
Location: Washington, DC

The House of Representatives unanimously passed Congressman Steve Israel's (NY-03) bipartisan resolution honoring the life and work of Holocaust survivor and activist, Elie Wiesel. Wiesel, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986, passed away on July 2nd at the age of 87. Rep. Israel introduced the resolution in July with Congressman Patrick Meehan (R-PA) and Congressman Ted Deutch (D-FL). Reps. Israel, Meehan and Deutch are appointed members of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council.

"Elie Wiesel's tremendous impact has reached millions across the globe, and I believe he is truly one of the most influential and important figures of our time," said Congressman Israel. "He educated the world about the atrocities of the Holocaust and engraved the meaning of "never again' in our hearts and minds. I am honored to have introduced this resolution, and am pleased that the House of Representatives acknowledged the indelible mark he has made on the Jewish community and the entire world."

Before the resolution was passed by voice vote, Rep. Israel spoke on the House floor encouraging his colleagues to pass the resolution. A full transcript of his floor speech can be found below:

"Mr. Speaker I introduced this resolution shortly after Mr. Wiesel's passing in order to ensure my colleagues, constituents, and citizens around the world would never forget the horrors of the Holocaust and the very special and unique legacy of Elie Wiesel. Mr. Wiesel's tremendous impact has reached millions across the globe and I believe he is truly one of the most influential and important figures of our time, perhaps in all time.

After surviving one of the darkest moments in history, he spoke up and offered a voice to the voiceless. He offered hope to people without hope. He spoke for the millions we lost in the Holocaust, but also those who survived. He helped educate the entire world on the atrocities committed during the Holocaust, and he ensured, Mr. Speaker, that we would never forget.

He was born on September 30, 1928 and in 1944 was deported along with his family to Auschwitz. In 1954, he was moved to Buchenwald, where he was eventually liberated. Unfortunately and tragically, many members of his family did not survive. His mother and younger sister died in the gas chamber in Auschwitz and his father passed away at Buchenwald. Only Wiesel and his two older sisters survived.

He went on to become a journalist and published his first book, "Night', in 1958 -- I've read it many times. Through the book he tells the story of his family's deportation to the concentration camps and illuminated the unthinkable atrocities committed by the Nazis. He wrote the book not to reflect on the past, but to warn us about the future; to call out violations of human rights wherever and whenever they occur. It didn't stop there. He published man more books, plays and essays and helped all of us have a better understanding and learn from history.

Mr. Speaker, he also helped found the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, and along with his wife, Marion, created The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity.

Elie Wiesel was a true humanitarian fighting against intolerance and injustice and leaving behind a legacy like no other. I met him personally several years ago and I will never forget that meeting. None of us should ever forget his meaning in the world. I am honored to have introduced this legislation in the House, and I know that my colleagues will support this measure in order to honor the life, work and legacy of Elie Wiesel."