06 July 2016

#ElieWiesel – Elie Wiesel, an OSE child in France

The late Elie Wiesel was truely attached and grateful to Paris.

« He chose French langage to write and supported OSE, the french organization that saved him after the Shoah, all his life »

After the war, Wiesel was sent with other young survivors by the French Jewish humanitarian organization Oeuvre de Secours aux Enfants to an orphanage in Écouis, France. He lived for several years at the home, where he was reunited with the only surviving members of his immediate family: his older sisters Beatrice and Hilda.
In 1948, the 20-year-old Wiesel pursued studies in literature, philosophy and psychology at the Sorbonne, but never completed them. Around the same time, after working a series of odd jobs including teaching Hebrew, Wiesel – who mostly wrote in French throughout his life – became a professional journalist, writing for both French and Israeli publications. In 1948, he translated Hebrew articles into Yiddish for Israel’s pre-state Irgun militia. Wiesel visited the nascent State of Israel in 1949 as a foreign correspondent for the French newspaper L’arche. He was subsequently hired by the daily Yedioth Ahronoth as its Paris correspondent, and also worked for the paper as a roving correspondent abroad. He also covered the 1961 trial of Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann for the New York-based Yiddish newspaper The Forward.
It was during his time in Paris that Wiesel was said to have studied with a mysterious and renowned Jewish scholar known simply as Monsieur Chouchani (also spelled Shushani in certain sources) after meeting him at a synagogue. Wiesel described Chouchani in an article in Yedioth Ahronoth as “a modern legend,” and after the man’s death, went on to pay for his tombstone in Montevideo, Uruguay, and wrote his epitaph: “The wise Rabbi Chouchani of blessed memory. His birth and his life are sealed in enigma.”
Despite or perhaps because of the major traumatic impact the Holocaust had on his life, Wiesel did not write about those experiences until encouraged to do so during a conversation with French Nobel Laureate for Literature Francois Mauriac, in 1954. 
The original version of his first memoir was over 800 pages, written in Yiddish and entitled “Un di velt hot geshvign” (“And the World Remained Silent”). He wrote a much shorter version in French, published in 1958 as “La Nuit” and it was translated into English as “Night,” two years later.
What Elie Wiesel said about OSE :
"The organization remains extraordinarily endearing through both its warmth and its dedication. OSE remains for me a safe haven and a warm hearth of frienship. It is the pride of our people. I do not forget and I will never forget what I owe it."
French President Fançois Hollande's tribute to Elie Wiesel :
French President François Hollande paid tribute to Nobel winner and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, on Sunday, calling him a "great humanist and indefatigable defender of peace" and a "witness of the previous century" in a statement. Wiesel had a "special relationship with France", where his memoir Night was first published, Hollande said.