NEW YORK (Jun. 17)
Nobel Peace laureate Elie Wiesel expressed concern here Monday over what he considers the “de-Judaizing” of the Holocaust. He referred specifically to the recent visit by Pope John Paul II to the site of the Maidanek concentration camp in Poland.
More than 800,000 Jews were put to death at Maidanek. The Pope named 14 nationalities as victims of the Nazis but did not once mention the Jews “and not one Jewish leader spoke out,” Wiesel said.
Wiesel was addressing more than 500 guests at a dinner honoring his friend and spiritual mentor, Rabbi Menashe Klein of Ungvar, a city in Czechoslovakia that was the rabbi’s home before World War II and one of the major centers of Jewish scholarship in Eastern Europe.
The dinner was the occasion for dedicating a synagogue, library and school to be built at Kiryat Ungvar, near Jerusalem, in memory of Wiesel’s father, Shlomo Halevi Wiesel, who perished at Auschwitz. Wiesel and Klein met at the Buchenwald concentration camp and their friendship has endured more than 40 years.
Wiesel said the attempt to de-Judaize the Holocaust is not centered in the Vatican, but is endemic throughout the world. “Some say 11 million died in the Holocaust and mix together all categories of people,” he said.