At The History Place – Part of our great speeches collection. Holocaust survivor and Nobel Laureate, Elie Wiesel, gave this impassioned speech in the East Room of the White House on April 12, 1999, as part of the Millennium Lecture series, hosted by President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton. Elie wiesel the perils of indifference essay received 25 lashes of the whip for a minor infraction. Wiesel was liberated by American troops in April 1945.
Paris and became a journalist then later settled in New York. Nobel Peace Prize and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Founding Chair of the United States Holocaust Memorial. Goethe’s beloved Weimar, in a place of eternal infamy called Buchenwald. He was finally free, but there was no joy in his heart. And now, I stand before you, Mr. Gratitude is a word that I cherish.
And I am grateful to you, Hillary — or Mrs. And I thank all of you for being here. We are on the threshold of a new century, a new millennium. So much violence, so much indifference. Etymologically, the word means “no difference. What are its courses and inescapable consequences? Is there a philosophy of indifference conceivable?
Of course, indifference can be tempting — more than that, seductive. It is so much easier to look away from victims. And, therefore, their lives are meaningless. Muselmanner,” as they were called.
They no longer felt pain, hunger, thirst. They were dead and did not know it. Man can live far from God — not outside God. Anger can at times be creative. Even hatred at times may elicit a response. Indifference is not a beginning, it is an end. Indifference, then, is not only a sin, it is a punishment.