Elie Wiesel on Chechnya

From the Russian-Chechen Friendship Society (RCFS), which on January 23 this year was closed down following a ruling by Russia’s Supreme Court.


Press-release 2029 from January 18, 2007

Report from New York

Nobel Peace Prize Elie Wiesel laureate has sent his letter to President Putin with expressions of concerns about the possible liquidation of the Russian-Chechen Friendship Society

On 17 January 2007 the Russian ambassador in the USA received a letter by Elie Wiesel – a Peace Prize Nobel Laureate – that is addressed to the President of Russia Vladimir Putin. The copy of the letter was also sent to the US ambassador in Russia. The Russian-Chechen Information Agency learnt about it from David Phillps, the executive director of the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity.

Professor Wiesel expresses his grave concern about the growth of the authoritarian tendencies in Russia in light of the possible liquidation of the Russian-Chechen Friendship Society, the murder of Anna Politkovskaya and the deteriorating situation in Chechnya.

Elie Wiesel has survived the Holocaust. Being a Jewish boy from Transylvania, Elie Wiesel was taken to the Auschwitz concentration camp and then to Buchenwald by Nazis in 1944. “Night” – the book of Elie Wiesel’s memories – is one of the most piercing evidence of the nightmare millions of prisoners of the Nazi death camps were subjected. Elie Wiesel is the author of more than forty works of fiction and nonfiction. President Carter appointed him the chairperson of the presidential commission on Holocaust in 1978. He established the USA Memorial Holocaust Council in 1980 and became its founding chair. Elie Wiesel devoted his life to protection of the defenseless. He is the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in
the Humanities and University Professor at Boston University. He has been internationally acclaimed for his activities. Wiesel has been awarded by the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the USA Congressional Gold Medal, and the French Legion of Honour. He became the laureate of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986. Elie Wiesel stated in his Nobel speech, “I have tried to keep memory alive…I have tried to fight those who would forget. Because if we forget, we are guilty, we are accomplices…How naive we were thinking that the world did know and remained silent. And that is why I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Wherever men and women are persecuted because of their race, religion or political views, that place must – at that moment – become the center of the universe”.

The editor-in-chief Stanislav Dmitrievsky
The editor of this issue Oksana Chelysheva

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