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September 20, 2005
Never Forget Simon Wiesenthal, 1909-2005

Simon Wiesenthal, the man most responsible for forcing the world to confront the horrors of the Holocaust and living the pledge, "Never forget!", has passed away in his sleep. Wiesenthal was 96 years old, or about 60 years older than the Nazi animals who once held him captive planned:

Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre which continues his work, said: "Simon Wiesenthal was the conscience of the Holocaust.

"When the Holocaust ended in 1945 and the whole world went home to forget, he alone remained behind to remember. He did not forget.

"He became the permanent representative of the victims, determined to bring the perpetrators of history's greatest crime to justice. It was a job no one else wanted.

"The task was overwhelming. The cause had few friends. The Allies were already focused on the Cold War, the survivors were rebuilding their shattered lives and Simon Wiesenthal was all alone, combining the role of both prosecutor and detective at the same time."

Wiesenthal provided an example of how the human spirit could triumph over evil and suffering, finding meaning in the unspeakable barbarity he barely survived. He would not allow the world to overlook the millions of dead, those killed with ruthless industry by the Nazis and others in the coldly efficient machinery of Heydrich's Final Solution. Wiesenthal transformed himself into an instrument of remembrance, encouraging other survivors to testify to their experiences and to the many others they knew who died at the hands of Hitler and his henchmen.

To say that the world owes Wiesenthal a debt of gratitude may be an insult. I would say that humanity owes Wiesenthal for the opportunity he gave us to recover our collective soul. Thank you, Simon, and Godspeed. You have earned your rest, and may those of us you leave behind find ourselves a tenth as worthy.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at September 20, 2005 6:14 AM

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