Sunday, December 17, 2006

All Rivers Run to the Sea: Memoirs by Elie Wiesel

After re-reading Night a few months ago, I became curious about how that experience shaped the adult Elie Weisel. All Rivers Run to the Sea is the first volume of his two-volume autogiography, covering from his childhood to 1969. He describes his happy childhood in Romania, during which he was a devout student. The chapter on the concentration camps is followed by a short chapter on how/what to believe in after experiencing such horrors. Following the war, he lives in a French orphanage, then becomes a journalist and writer so that he can testify to his experience and support Jewish/Israeli causes:
“My people’s quest was mine; its memory my country. Everything that happens to it affects me. I have lived its anguish and been scorched by the fire of its dreams. I belonged to the community of night, the kingdom of the dead, and henceforth I would also belong to the wonderous, exhilirating community of the eternal city of David. It is incumbent upon the Jewish writer to be witness to all that has haunted the people of Israel from its beginnings. That is his role – not to judge but to testify. And in our tradition the responsibilities of the witness are greater than those of the judge; if the testimony is true, the verdict will be just.”
As expected, a very powerful memoir.

1 comment:

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