The Legacy of Simon Wiesenthal

September 20, 2005

Simon Wiesenthal, one of the world’s most well-known Holocaust survivors, died yesterday.  Known as “the conscience of the Holocaust,” Wiesenthal dedicated his life to hunting down Nazi war criminals and bringing them to justice. 

It’s worth asking – when the conscience of an event dies, what happens to those left behind?  Simon Wiesenthal was certainly not the only person to speak out against the horrors of the Holocaust, but he was remarkable for his relentless pursuit of justice and crusade against racism and anti-Semitism.  He was single-mindedly devoted to an unequal task, and while the event he struggled with is years past, the evil he spoke to prevent is still prevalent. Will we be as relentless in our fights against the evils done in the world?  Will we battle as passionately for the rights of the oppressed, the safety of the abused, and the justice of the victims of vicious cruelty and terror?  Will we protest the apathy of institutions meant to prevent the awful crimes of genocide which instead gather in committees to discuss the meaning of the word while people suffer by the thousands, their deaths slowly silencing their cries for help and intervention?

I have hoped that Simon Wiesenthal finally found peace.  And I pray that while we live, we will not be content with the peace others have won but will continue to dwell in the service of justice and compassion.

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