For those unfamiliar, Elie Wiesel is an holocaust survivor of Hungarian decent who moved to the US after WWII. He is also an author, political activist, Nobel Laureate and professor at Boston University.
Last night we attended the final of a three part lecture series open to the public by Professor Wiesel. The lecture was entitled, Today: Reflections on Good and Evil.
Elie Wiesel’s life and experiences could not be more different than mine. However, one of the reasons I enjoy evenings like this is because I draw a great deal of inspiration and respect listening to a man like Professor Wiesel who is willing to share his thoughts. The lecture started with an introduction from B.U.’s rabbi that included Anne Frank’s famous quote at the end of her diary.
“It’s really a wonder that I haven’t dropped all my ideals, because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet I keep them, because in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart.”
― Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl
As we all know, Anne Frank’s story is not a happy one and she was ultimately taken to the Nazi death camp, Buchenwald, where Elie Wiesel and his family were. With her famous quote still ringing in my ears, Professor Wiesel started his lecture on the difference between good and evil. His lecture on good and evil was partly allegory, partly references to other great thinkers, partly theological, and 100% thought provoking.
The lecture closed with an impressive story, which left no doubt in my mind that whatever your religious convictions or feelings are with regards to good and evil in this world, we are all individually empowered to come to our own conclusions. Despite our incredible differences, despite the incredible atrocities history has recorded as well as ongoing injustice in the world, I share the same conclusion as Elie Wiesel – I believe in the innate “goodness” of all people.