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Dear Friend,

We were deeply saddened to learn the news of the passing of Elie Wiesel, the Nobel laureate, Holocaust survivor, professor, and a longtime and dear friend of the Anti-Defamation League.

He was a Holocaust survivor who used the memory of his personal tragedy to spark worldwide awareness of the Shoah and the memory of the six million Jews.  Through his books and his speeches, he emerged as one of the most important moral voices of the 20th century, a man whose message reached billions of people.

But the power of Elie’s voice lay in its ability to contextualize the Holocaust and to connect lingering outrage to contemporary action. He spoke out vigorously about the plight of Soviet Jewry; advocated for the repatriation of Ethiopian Jews in the state of Israel; spoke out on behalf of Bosnian Muslims during the Serbian Civil War; and called world leaders’ attention to the Rwandan genocide.  Along the way, he acted as a global conscience, repeatedly reminding the world of the dangers of unchecked racism and anti-Semitism. He embodied, in both word and deed, the admonition of “Never Again!,” and sought to protect the downtrodden of all races and religions with unrelenting passion, determination and pluck.

Throughout much of his life, Elie remained a true friend of ADL and a staunch advocate for our efforts to combat global anti-Semitism, particularly in Europe. Elie was always willing to help in any way he could. Often, behind the scenes and publicly, he played a pivotal role in our efforts, whether as an advisor to our leadership, as an interlocutor in our interactions with diplomats and governments, or as a soft-spoken but undeterred voice against recurrences of anti-Semitism around the world.  It was reassuring that Elie was always just a phone call away.

Most memorably, he and his wife, Marion, were frequently our guests at key moments in ADL’s history. He was one of the early recipients of the prestigious ADL Joseph Prize for Human Rights. In 2003, when ADL convened a World Conference Against Anti-Semitism in New York City, Elie delivered the keynote address, speaking passionately against the tide of old and new anti-Semitism sweeping across Europe, and calling on governments to do more to combat this pernicious hatred. In 2004, we praised his bold action of returning an award he received from the government of Romania in protest of the same award being bestowed on two anti-Semites.

We honored him on the occasion of his 75th birthday, and again in December 2013, when ADL presented him and Marion with the ADL Jabotinsky Prize for Courageous Jewish Leadership. The award recognized their combined efforts, working through the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity, to various causes, including that of supporting the needs of Ethiopian-Born Israeli youth. That same year he served as an honorary member of our Centennial Committee.

Almost a year ago, Elie joined us at a gala tribute in New York City in recognition of Abe Foxman’s 50 years with ADL and his retirement as national director. True to form, Elie once again delivered an impassioned appeal for the world to wake up to the forces of intolerance and bigotry that led to the events of the Shoah in the 1940s, and which again were being manifested in new guises in places such as Iran.

We will never forget his intellect, his passion, and his impact. May his memory be for a blessing.

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Marvin D. Nathan
National Chair
Anti-Defamation League
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Jonathan Greenblatt
Anti-Defamation League