2007 Elie Wiesel Interview Made Public for First Time
By Whitney Frasier
“It is because of what happened then, that … many of us feel that we have to do whatever we can to help those who are alone, who are forgotten, who are abandoned, who are neglected, who are tortured, who are tormented... The worst thing that can happen to a prisoner or to a victim is to feel that no one cares,” said noted author, Nobel Laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, during a 2007 interview with Alyssa Sepinwall, a Cal State San Marcos professor of history.
Sepinwall interviewed Wiesel at the Dove Lane Library in the City of Carlsbad as part of the program, Carlsbad Reads Together. Now, thanks to the contributions of CSUSM's Department of Instructional & Information Technology Services, viewers can watch this rare, never before made public, interview.
“Wiesel was starting to despair about the state of the world,” said Sepinwall. “He told me that, at the time that he wrote Night, he thought that if those who went through the experience could tell the tale, it would change the world. But he noted in retrospect that we told the tale, and the world hasn’t changed.”
During the interview Wiesel also talked of the dangers not just of cruelty, but of the indifference of those who do nothing when others suffer. He challenged the audience not to be bystanders, and to use their hearts and voices to create a better world.
“He believed fervently that if citizens told their governments how important it was to intervene in places like Darfur, real change would happen,” said Sepinwall. “Many in the audience found themselves profoundly changed by listening to Wiesel, and I am grateful that others will now have the opportunity to experience the interview and the reactions by audience members.”
Working tirelessly to preserve the memory of the Holocaust and to prevent injustice from recurring, Weisel spent his life trying to protect oppressed people around the world from both cruelty and indifference. He passed away on July 2, 2016 at the age of 87.
“Wiesel’s death is symptomatic of a larger problem: every year, we lose more and more survivors,” said Sepinwall. “Each year there are fewer and fewer survivors able to tell the world what happened to them and to their families. At a time of heightened injustice and intolerance, this is a great loss for humanity.”