Elie Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor and Nobel Prize-winning author, spoke at the University of Florida on Tuesday night. Over 1,500 people filled the Curtis M. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts to hear the 84-year-old Wiesel speak.
The event was sponsored by the ACCENT Speaker’s Bureau and Jewish Awareness Month.
Wiesel touched on his time at Auschwitz but focused more on the importance of current humanitarian issues that continue to plague the globe.
Wiesel said it took decades after the Holocaust to begin to put his experience into words. He spoke of the difficulty of writing “Night,” one of the most famous firsthand accounts of the Holocaust ever written.
Caroline Reist, a senior at UF, said her favorite part of Wiesel’s speech was when we discussed human interaction.
“In his past, he has had so many negative and violent encounters with human nature,” she said. “He still has so much faith in humanity and the power of overcoming violence.”
Wiesel has dedicated his life to philosophy, teaching and learning. He is president of the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity, an organization he and his wife created to fight worldwide injustice. According to the foundation’s website, he has also received more than 100 honorary degrees from institutions of higher learning and has been the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Boston University since 1976.