Former President Bill Clinton joined Nobel Peace Laureate Elie Wiesel Apr. 29 to honor the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s 20th anniversary, as well as Holocaust survivors and World War II veterans.
President Clinton told the audience, which included 843 Holocaust survivors and 130 World War II veterans, the museum “will be our conscience forever”, and has “the power to inspire, motivate, and empower us.”
President Clinton, who dedicated the museum 20 years ago, added, “You know the truth — it is enshrined here.” Speaking especially to the audience’s many younger people, “You must do all you can to give this truth to all humankind.”
Museum founding chairman Elie Wiesel, who also dedicated the museum 20 years ago, said today, “Young people, you have an idea and an ideal — remember the Holocaust’s heroes and its victims.” He added, “Young people, whatever you can do, it will elevate you…be worthy of this moment we are living.”
At the 20th anniversary dinner Apr. 28, Weisel told the audience of some 3,600 people, “Life is made of moments…those moments define our being, our ideas, the direction of our souls. This is such a moment, when thousands of young and old come together to remember together an era filled with horrid moments, but also with pride.”
The museum “has a monumental amount of testimonies. And in each testimony, there are ways that despair was overcome despite such inhumanity. Each person maintained his or her humanity. It is our duty to help others who need help.”
Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor, added, “Every human being is capable of bringing redemption to another human being. Every human being is sacred.” Huge applause.
Wiesel had helped 20 years ago at the museum’s dedication by prodding President Clinton to intervene in Yugoslavia’s civil war.
Clinton recalled that, saying Weisel “reminded me to get off my rear end to do something about Bosnia” and later, to prevent slaughter in Kosovo. He sent Wiesel as an emissary.
Clinton reminded the audience, “That drive was led by Jews of conscience to save lives of Muslims.”
He said, “If you have a head without a heart, you are not human. We must never let it (genocide) happen again.”
For more info: National Tribute to Holocaust Survivors and World War II Veterans, www.neveragain.ushmm.org, U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, www.ushmm.org, 100 Raoul Wallenberg Place, S.W., Washington, D.C. 1-866-998-7466. “Never Again: What You Do Matters” $540 million campaign. Timeline http://neveragain.ushmm.org/timeline.