114+ Best Elie Wiesel Quotes: Exclusive Selection

Elie Wiesel was a Romanian-born American writer, professor, political activist, Nobel laureate, and Holocaust survivor. Profoundly inspirational Elie Wiesel quotes will encourage you to think a little deeper than you usually would and broaden your perspective.

Famous Elie Wiesel Quotes

There is divine beauty in learning. To learn means to accept the postulate that life did not begin at my birth. Others have been here before me, and I walk in their footsteps. – Elie Wiesel

The knowledge that I have acquired must not remain imprisoned in my brain. I owe it to many men and women to do something with it. I feel the need to pay back what was given to me. Call it gratitude. – Elie Wiesel

This is the role of writers: to turn their tears into a story – and perhaps into a prayer. – Elie Wiesel

There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest. – Elie Wiesel

I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. – Elie Wiesel

Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Whenever men or women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must – at that moment – become the center of the universe. – Elie Wiesel

We must choose between the violence of adults and the smiles of children. Between the ugliness of hate and the will to oppose it. Between inflicting suffering and humiliation on our fellow man and offering him the solidarity and hope he deserves. – Elie Wiesel

Listen to me, kid. Don’t forget that you are in a concentration camp. In this place, it is every many for himself, and you cannot think of others. Not even you father. In this place, there is no such thing as father, brother, friend. Each of us lives and dies alone. Let me give you good advice: stop giving your ration of bread and soup to your old father. You cannot help him anymore. And you are hurting yourself. In fact, you should be getting his rations. – Elie Wiesel

I believe that all the survivors are mad. One time or another their madness will explode. You cannot absorb that much madness and not be influenced by it. That is why the children of survivors are so tragic. I see them in school. They don’t know how – Elie Wiesel

Oh, it is not death that frightens me, but the impossibility of imparting some meaning to my past. – Elie Wiesel

Certain things, certain events, seem inexplicable only for a time: up to the moment when the veil is torn aside. – Elie Wiesel

Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. – Elie Wiesel

I don’t know the real answer, my answer to anything which is essentially human relations is education. Whatever the answer is, education must be its measured component and if you try to educate with generosity not with triumphalism I think sometimes it works, especially young people, that’s why I teach, I’ve been teaching all my life. – Elie Wiesel

Usually I get up early every morning and from 6:00 to 10:00 I write. The rest of the time I study and prepare my work, or I do other things. But four hours a day are exclusively devoted to writing. – Elie Wiesel

I have no doubt that faith is only pure when it does not negate the faith of another. I have no doubt that evil can be fought, and that indifference is no option. I have no doubt that fanaticism is dangerous. And of all the books in the world on life, I have no doubt that the life of one person weighs more than them all. – Elie Wiesel

To forget the dead would be akin to killing them a second time. – Elie Wiesel

Some events do take place but are not true; others are, although they never occurred. – Elie Wiesel

Man, as long as he lives, is immortal. One minute before his death he shall be immortal. But one minute later, God wins. – Elie Wiesel

The books I have read were composed by generations of fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, teachers and disciples. I am the sum total of their experiences, and so are you. – Elie Wiesel

When you listen to a witness, you become a witness. – Elie Wiesel

One more stab to the heart, one more reason to hate. One less reason to live. – Elie Wiesel

With every cell of my being and with every fiber of my memory I oppose the death penalty in all forms. I do not believe any civilized society should be at the service of death. I don’t think it’s human to become an agent of the angel of death. – Elie Wiesel

There are victories of the soul and spirit. Sometimes, even if you lose, you win. – Elie Wiesel

Memory feeds a culture, nourishes hope and makes a human, human. – Elie Wiesel

For us it’s not easy to be conformist, I cannot stand to be conformist, I don’t accept what it is, I like to say no. If I see an injustice I scream. – Elie Wiesel

If there is one person on the planet who still is suffering from loneliness and from pain or despair, and we don’t know about it, or we don’t want to know about it, then something is wrong with the world. – Elie Wiesel

I have not lost faith in God. I have moments of anger and protest. Sometimes I’ve been closer to him for that reason. – Elie Wiesel

In order to fly, you have to give up the ground you are standing on. – Elie Wiesel

I learned to trust the threats of enemies before the promises of friends. – Elie Wiesel

The stars were only sparks of the fire which devoured us. Should that fire die out one day, there would be nothing left in the sky but dead stars, dead eyes. – Elie Wiesel

When you die and go to heaven our maker is not going to ask, ‘why didn’t you discover the cure for such and such? why didn’t you become the Messiah?’ The only question we will be asked in that precious moment is ‘why didn’t you become you?’ – Elie Wiesel

Which is worse? Killing with hate or killing without hate? – Elie Wiesel

There is a difference between a book of two hundred pages from the very beginning, and a book of two hundred pages which is the result of an original eight hundred pages. The six hundred are there. Only you don’t see them. – Elie Wiesel

An indifference to suffering makes humans inhuman – Elie Wiesel

Holy War is a contradiction of terms. – Elie Wiesel

The more you ask certain questions, the more dangerous they become. – Elie Wiesel

Remembering is a noble and necessary act. The call of memory, the call to memory, reaches us from the very dawn of history. No commandment figures so frequently, so insistently, in the Bible. It is incumbent upon us to remember the good we have received, and the evil we have suffered. – Elie Wiesel

Even in darkness it is possible to create light. – Elie Wiesel

Be careful with words, they’re dangerous. Be wary of them. They begat either demons or angels. It’s up to you to give life to one or the other. Be careful, I tell you, nothing is as dangerous as giving free rein to words – Elie Wiesel

At Auschwitz, not only man died, but also the idea of man. To live in a world where there is nothing anymore, where the executioner acts as god, as judge-many wanted no part of it. It was its own heart the world incinerated at Auschwitz. – Elie Wiesel

For one who is indifferent, life itself is a prison. Any sense of community is external or, even worse, nonexistent. Thus, indifference means solitude. Those who are indifferent do not see others. They feel nothing for others and are unconcerned with what might happen to them. They are surrounded by a great emptiness. Filled by it, in fact. They are devoid of all hope as well as imagination. In other words, devoid of any future. – Elie Wiesel

I told him that I did not believe that they could burn people in our age, that humanity would never tolerate it. – Elie Wiesel

In the word question, there is a beautiful word – quest. I love that word. We are all partners in a quest. The essential questions have no answers. You are my question, and I am yours – and then there is dialogue. The moment we have answers, there is no dialogue. Questions unite people. – Elie Wiesel

The more we know, the more pain we have. But because we are human beings, this must be. Otherwise we become objects rather than subjects. – Elie Wiesel

I’ve given my life to the principle and the ideal of memory, and remembrance. – Elie Wiesel

Pain is essential. Often, I cannot avoid it. Therefore, all one can do is redeem it; and the only way to redeem it is through literature, art, poetry, music. – Elie Wiesel

Emphasis must be put on learning: there is no substitute to education. It can be briefly formulated in a few words: always, whatever you do in life, think higher and feel deeper. – Elie Wiesel

In my tradition, one must wait until one has learned a lot of Bible and Talmud and the Prophets to handle mysticism. This isn’t instant coffee. There is no instant mysticism. – Elie Wiesel

I believe in books. And when our people [coughing] – our people of Jerusalem, let’s say after the Romans destroyed the temple and the city, all we took is a little book, that’s all. Not treasures, we had no treasures. They were ransacked, taken away. But the book – the little book – and this book produced more books, thousands, hundreds of thousands of books, and in the book, we found our memory, and our attachment to that memory is what kept us alive. – Elie Wiesel

Perhaps some day someone will explain how, on the level of man, Auschwitz was possible; but on the level of God, it will forever remain the most disturbing of mysteries. – Elie Wiesel

Gratitude is a word that I cherish. Gratitude is what defines the happiness and humanity of the human being. – Elie Wiesel

Will you join me in hearing the case for keeping weapons from those who preach death to Israel and America? – Elie Wiesel

War is like night, she said. It covers everything. – Elie Wiesel

I cannot cure everybody. I cannot help everybody. But to tell the lonely person that I am not far or different from that lonely person, that I am with him or her, that’s all I think we can do and we should do. – Elie Wiesel

I belong to a tradition that believes that the death of a single child is a blemish on creation. – Elie Wiesel

And I, the for­mer mys­tic, was think­ing: Yes, man is stronger, greater than God. When Adam and Eve de­ceived You, You chased them from par­adise. When You were dis­pleased by Noah’s generation, You brought down the Flood. When Sodom lost Your fa­vour, You caused the heav­ens to rain down fire and damna­tion. But look at these men whom You have be­trayed, al­low­ing them to be tortured, slaugh­tered, gassed, and burned, what do they do? They pray be­fore You! They praise Your name! – Elie Wiesel

Eternity is the place where questions and answers become one. – Elie Wiesel

It is by his freedom that a man knows himself, by his sovereignty over his own life that a man measures himself. – Elie Wiesel

Terrorism must be outlawed by all civilized nations — not explained or rationalized, but fought and eradicated. Nothing can, nothing will justify the murder of innocent people and helpless children. – Elie Wiesel

For me, every hour is grace. And I feel gratitude in my heart each time I can meet someone and look at his or her smile. – Elie Wiesel

Everything is in it: the promise and the hope and the fear and the challenge and the defiance. The test is a double test: Just as God tested Abraham, Abraham tested God: Let’s see if you really want me to go ahead with it and kill my son. Then the angel says, Do not raise your hand against the boy [Genesis 22:12]. It was the Angel of God who says this, not God. God was embarrassed. [All laugh] – Elie Wiesel

What is being lost is the magic of the word. I am not an image person. Imagery belongs to another civilization: the caveman. Caveman couldn’t express himself so he put images on walls. – Elie Wiesel

We’re alone, but we are capable of communicating to one another both our loneliness and our desire to break through it. You say, ‘I’m alone.’ Someone answers, ‘I’m alone too.’ There’s a shift in the scale of power. A bridge is thrown between the two abysses. – Elie Wiesel

One person of integrity can make a difference. – Elie Wiesel

After my father’s death, nothing could touch me any more. – Elie Wiesel

Friendship marks a life even more deeply than love. – Elie Wiesel

How can a human being be illegal? – Elie Wiesel

Young people want to learn, they are thirsty for knowledge, they want to understand and remember. The main thing is to teach them where not to go. Oppression, not to go; dictatorship, not to go; racism and prejudice, absolutely not to go. This is a moral plan [for society]. – Elie Wiesel

For in the end, it is all about memory, its sources and its magnitude, and, of course, its consequences. – Elie Wiesel

I think he is condemned by himself to loneliness. God is One: he was, he is, he will be always One. One is so lonely. Maybe that is why he created human beings–to feel less lonely. But as human beings betray his creation, he may become even lonelier. – Elie Wiesel

There are so many who know more than I do, who understand the world better than I do. I would be truly learned, a great scholar, if only I could retain everything, I’ve learned from those I have known. But then would I still be me? And isn’t all that only words? Words grow old, too; they change their meaning and their usage. They get sick just as we do; they die of their wounds and then they are relegated to the dust of dictionaries. And where am I in all this? – Elie Wiesel

The primary task of a Jew in turbulent times is to be Jewish. – Elie Wiesel

Philosophy is a slow process of logic and logical discourse: A bringing B bringing C and so forth. In mysticism you can jump from A to Z. But the ultimate objective is the same. It’s knowledge. It’s truth. – Elie Wiesel

Every moment contains a spark of eternity. – Elie Wiesel

How can one explain the attraction terror holds for some minds and why for intellectuals? In a totalitarian and terrorist regime, man is no longer a unique being with infinite possibilities and limitless choices but a number, a puppet, with just this difference — numbers and puppets are not susceptible to fear. – Elie Wiesel

I shall always remember that smile. From what world did it come from? – Elie Wiesel

Mankind must remember that peace is not God’s gift to his creatures; peace is our gift to each other. – Elie Wiesel

Man asks and God replies but we don’t understand his replies because they dwell in the depths of our souls and remain there until we die. – Elie Wiesel

Once you bring life into the world, you must protect it. We must protect it by changing the world. – Elie Wiesel

When a person doesn’t have gratitude, something is missing in his or her humanity. – Elie Wiesel

Never shall I forget these things, even if I am condemned to life as long as God himself – Elie Wiesel

One day when I was able to get up, I decided to look at myself in the mirror on the opposite wall. I had not seen myself since the ghetto. From the depths of the mirror, a corpse was contemplating me. The look in his eyes as he gazed at me has never left me. – Elie Wiesel

To remain silent and indifferent is the greatest sin of all. – Elie Wiesel

Better that one heart be broken a thousand times in the retelling, he has decided, if it means that a thousand other hearts need not be broken at all. – Elie Wiesel

Every Jew, somewhere in his being, should set apart a zone of hate – healthy virile hate – for what the German personifies and for what persists in the German. – Elie Wiesel

Without memory, there is no culture. Without memory, there would be no civilization, no society, no future. – Elie Wiesel

All collective judgments are wrong. Only racists make them. No human race is superior; no religious faith is inferior. – Elie Wiesel

I feel that books, just like people, have a destiny. Some invite sorrow, others joy, some both. – Elie Wiesel

The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference. – Elie Wiesel

The darkest days in my life after the war, after the war, was when I discovered that the most of the members and commanders of the Einsatz group that were doing the killings, not even in gas chambers, but killing with machine guns, had college degrees from German universities and PhD’s and MD’s. Couldn’t believe it. – Elie Wiesel

Only the guilty are guilty: the children of killers are not killers, but children. – Elie Wiesel

Love makes everything complicated. – Elie Wiesel

Human beings all change. Not what they are but who they are. We have the power to change what we do with our life and turn it into our destiny. – Elie Wiesel

You’re at the bottom of the mountain. May you climb up without suffering. – Elie Wiesel

I still believe in man in spite of man. I believe in language even though it has been wounded, deformed, and perverted by the enemies of mankind. And I continue to cling to words because it is up to us to transform them into instruments of comprehension rather than contempt. It is up to us to choose whether we wish to use them to curse or to heal, to wound or to console. – Elie Wiesel

Anything you want to say about God you better make sure you can say in front of a pit of burning babies. – Elie Wiesel

you can do something. You can, even for one person Don’t turn away: help. Because those who suffer, often suffer not because of the person or the group that inflicts the suffering; they seem to suffer because nobody cares. – Elie Wiesel

Man, by definition, is born a stranger: coming from nowhere, he is thrust into an alien world which existed before him-a world which didn’t need him. And which will survive him. – Elie Wiesel

A holy war is a contradiction in terms. War dehumanizes, war diminishes, war debases all those who wage it. – Elie Wiesel

No human being is illegal. That is a contradiction in terms. Human beings can be beautiful or more beautiful, they can be fat or skinny, they can be right or wrong, but illegal? How can a human being be illegal? – Elie Wiesel

For the dead and the living, we must bear witness. Not only are we responsible for the memories of the dead, we are responsible for what we do with those memories – Elie Wiesel

Take sides. Neutrality always serves the oppressor and never the oppressed. – Elie Wiesel

How could I say to Him: Blessed be Thou, Almighty, Master of the Universe, who chose us among all nations to be tortured day and night, to watch as our fathers, our mothers, our brothers end up in furnaces? Praised be Thy Holy Name, for having chosen us to be slaughtered on Thine altar? – Elie Wiesel

Today, as yesterday, a nation is judged by its attitude towards refugees. – Elie Wiesel

For the survivor who chooses to testify, it is clear: his duty is to bear witness for the dead and for the living. He has no right to deprive future generations of a past that belongs to our collective memory. To forget would be not only dangerous but offensive; to forget the dead would be akin to killing them a second time. – Elie Wiesel

Some stories are true that never happened. – Elie Wiesel

We must not see any person as an abstraction. Instead, we must see in every person a universe with its own secrets, with its own treasures, with its own sources of anguish, and with some measure of triumph. – Elie Wiesel

What does mysticism really mean? It means the way to attain knowledge. It’s close to philosophy, except in philosophy you go horizontally while in mysticism you go vertically. – Elie Wiesel

I don’t think I should accept other people’s suffering because I suffered. Just the opposite, because I suffered I don’t want others to suffer. – Elie Wiesel

Mankind needs peace more than ever, for our entire planet, threatened by nuclear war, is in danger of total destruction. A destruction only man can provoke, only man can prevent. – Elie Wiesel

There is no word in Hebrew for religion, by the way. – Elie Wiesel

Remember also that it is not knowledge but the yearning for knowledge that makes for a complete, accomplished man. Such a man does not stand still but perseveres in the face of adversity, nor does he remain untouched by the pain cause by absence. On the contrary, he recognizes himself in each cry, uttered or repressed, in the smallest rift, in the most pressing need. – Elie Wiesel

My faith is a wounded faith, but it’s not without faith. My life is not without faith. – Elie Wiesel

What hurts the victim most is not the cruelty of the oppressor, but the silence of the bystander. – Elie Wiesel

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