The 5 Towns Jewish Times

Honoring Elie Wiesel On The Anniversary Of His Passing: Revisiting Oprah Winfrey’s Interview

By Michele Justic

In 2012, Oprah Winfrey sat down with Elie Wiesel, with whom she shared a decades-long friendship and many life-changing experiences, for her Emmy Award winning series, “Super Soul Sunday.” The episode aired on December 9 on the OWN Network.

As a Nobel Prize winner and the author of the bestselling Holocaust memoir “Night,” a past Oprah Book Club selection, Wiesel had much insight and wisdom to convey. In his latest memoir, “Open Heart,” he poetically and insightfully related his thoughts and feelings and his recent experience of heart surgery.

“Every moment counts, every second matters.” Wiesel acknowledged that while he always knew this on an intellectual level, on the operating room table, he felt it for the first time. Oprah marveled at the fact that though Wiesel admitted he lived with death and even “in death” at Auschwitz, he still had some fears. Wiesel also wrote, “Every moment is a new beginning,” and still felt he had much to do in his life.

Though we are all aware of the inevitable loss of the entire generation of Holocaust survivors, Wiesel remained optimistic that, “to listen to a witness is to become a witness,” and therefore the readers of his books and other Holocaust literature will bear witness for future generations. Oprah included herself among the witnesses after her heart-wrenching tour of Poland with Wiesel for her birthday. She exclaimed, “It was quite a gift.”

This show  shed a new perspective on our traditional concept of Chanukah, including what a gift really is, our connection to family, and fighting indifference. As Wiesel wrote, “Even in darkness, it is possible to create light.”