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Dartmouth Commencement 2006

(Posted 06/11/06)

Honorary degree citation to Elie Wiesel (Doctor of Humane Letters)
Elie Wiesel
Elie Wiesel

You are a survivor. Born in Sighet, Transylvania, you grew up amidst the nightmare that would become the Holocaust. Deported from your homeland at the age of fifteen with your parents, sisters, and other members of your community, you survived four prison camps, places that have become metaphors of horror and inhumanity - Auschwitz, Buna, Gleiwitz, and Buchenwald. There you lost both your parents and your younger sister, as well as many friends and neighbors, and in your book Night, first published in 1955, that story is eloquently and painfully told.

In the years since, you have continued to bear witness, however difficult, as a survivor, as a Jew, as a human being, and to tell your story - yours and that of millions of others. You have worked against indifference, and you have fought against a recurrence of the horrors you have known - whether in the former Soviet Union or Rwanda or Kosovo or Biafra or, most recently, in the Darfur region of Sudan. You have served as our conscience, and you inspire us to know that we can make a difference - if we insist on making a difference.

The Nobel Peace Prize in 1986 recognized your good work, as did the Presidential Medal of Honor in 1992 and as have so many other awards and honors. With humility, Dartmouth is pleased to add its small token of respect and of gratitude for all you have done, by awarding you the degree Doctor of Humane Letters.

- James Wright

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