Elie Wiesel …

Elie Wiesel …

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Eliezer “Elie” Wiesel (September 30, 1928 – July 2, 2016) was a Romanian-born American Jewish writer, professor, political activist, Nobel Laureate and Holocaust survivor. He was the author of 57 books, written mostly in French and English, including Night, a work based on his experiences as a prisoner in the Auschwitz and Buchenwald concentration camps.

Elie Wiesel Buchenwald Concentration Camp Holocaust Survivor

Wiesel was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986, at which time the Norwegian Nobel Committee called him a “messenger to mankind,” stating that through his struggle to come to terms with “his own personal experience of total humiliation and of the utter contempt for humanity shown in Hitler’s death camps”, as well as his “practical work in the cause of peace”, Wiesel had delivered a message “of peace, atonement and human dignity” to humanity.

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In a 1978 interview for the Paris Review Art of Fiction series he talked a little about his writing routine …

Is it a struggle to get up each morning to write about something you would prefer not to write about?

It depends. I don’t have many examples of writing about the Holocaust because I haven’t written that much about it. But there is never a struggle in the morning. It’s a pleasant agony. I am myself only when I work. I work for four hours without interruption. Then I stop for my studies. But these four hours are really mine. It is a struggle when I have to cut. I reduce nine hundred pages to one hundred sixty pages. I also enjoy cutting. I do it with a masochistic pleasure although even when you cut, you don’t. Writing is not like painting where you add. It is not what you put on the canvas that the reader sees. Writing is more like a sculpture where you remove, you eliminate in order to make the work visible. Even those pages you remove somehow remain. There is a difference between a book of two hundred pages from the very beginning, and a book of two hundred pages which is the result of an original eight hundred pages. The six hundred pages are there. Only you don’t see them.

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