We Appeal to Students at Boston University
Robert E. Brown, President of Boston University: “Elie Wiesel is a man of integrity and would not stoop to fabrication.”
With this statement, Dr. Brown replied to my September 23rd email message and postal letter to him, and to those copied, which I am publishing here.
Robert A. Brown
Office of the President
1 Silber Way, 8th Floor
Boston Ma 02215
September 23, 2010
Re: Prof. Elie Wiesel
Dear President Brown:
I recognize that Boston University has a long and admirable tradition of support for the humanities. One of your most prominent, most politically conspicuous faculty members is Elie Wiesel, who is associated in the public mind with a host of worthy, even noble causes, including being the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.
Particularly because of the honored position Professor Wiesel holds at BU, the questions that are being raised about his Holocaust testimony bother me, and I think if you were aware of them they would bother you, too. First is the lack of evidence that he has an Auschwitz tattoo, though he repeatedly claims to have one. As recently as last March, at Dayton University in Ohio, a student asked if he still has his concentration camp number, and he said, “I still have it on my arm.” However, his own 1996 video, in which his bare forearms are exposed to the camera, reveals no tattoo on his left arm, where it should be.
This, along with archival documents primarily from Buchenwald that show a Lazar Wiesel born in 1913, not 1928, who was there with his brother Abram, put his entire account of his concentration camp experiences of 1944-45 into question. No documentation for Shlomo Wiesel/Vizel, Elie’s father, or of a Lazar/Eliezer Wiesel with Elie Wiesel’s birth date of Sept. 30th, has been revealed.
Still other questions being raised concern his authorship of the original Yiddish version of Night. The brief description he gives of when, where and how he wrote And the World Remained Silent contain contradictions and improbabilities. In addition, there are major factual differences between key passages in Night, the English derivative of the original Yiddish language book, and Prof. Wiesel’s memoir All Rivers Run to the Sea. To mention just one—in the former, his foot is operated on before the evacuation to Buchenwald in January 1945, while in the latter it becomes his knee that is operated on! These are just a few of the red flags that are raised when studying Prof. Wiesel’s testimony with a critical eye.
I realize it is not my responsibility, but rather yours, to maintain the integrity of your faculty. However, I feel an obligation to bring this information to your attention because it is information that is gaining the attention of the world, and more importantly of your students, through various venues and investigations, and may reflect poorly on your great university.
cc: David K. Campbell, Provost
Virginia Sapiro, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences
Daniel Dahlstrom, Chair, Department of Humanities
Aaron Garrett, Assoc. Chair, Dept. of Humanities
Walter Hopp, Director, Undergraduate Studies, Dept. of Humanities
David Roochnik, Director, Graduate Studies, Dept. of Humanities
Members of the Board of Trustees
Robert A. Knox, Chairman
John P. Howe III, Vice Chairman
Jonathan R. Cole
Richard C. Godfrey
Robert J. Hildreth
Eric S. Lander
Alan M. Leventhal
J. Kenneth Menges, Jr.
Christine A. Poon
Adam. W. Sweeting
On September 27, I received a polite reply, which did not indicate whether Dr. Brown had looked at any of the pages I linked to on the Elie Wiesel Cons The World website.
Dear Ms. Yeager:
Thank you for your e-mail message of September 23, in which you express concerns about the accuracy of Dr. Wiesel’s testimony. I have no doubt that he is a survivor of the Holocaust and he has, thoughout his adult life, been a most eloquent witness to its atrocities. He is a man of integrity and would not stoop to fabrication.
Robert A. Brown
We wanted to give the Boston University administration fair warning of what we are up to, and an opportunity to address the “Wiesel question” themselves.
Having done that, and after sending them a further reply suggesting that they look into the matter, and with no further response, we now turn to the students at BU. We have sent a message to student organizations, student publications and the local Boston media in a major effort to inform, encourage and assist students on campus to ask for answers to these questions. We believe there are individuals and organizations at BU who truly care about the ethical integrity of their university and its faculty, and who want to know the facts about all things, no matter how sensitive—not just accept what they are being taught by a timid, establishment faculty.
We suggest there is a simple request that Boston University students can make of Prof. Wiesel that their administrators are apparently unwilling to make. They can ask him to show his tattoo. He says he is a humble representative of the survivors of the concentration camps. Many Auschwitz survivors prove their presence in that camp by pointing to the number tattooed on their left forearm. Why not Elie Wiesel? Is he not one of them?
We’re urging students at BU, and all our readers as well, to write or call the following persons asking for their cooperation in a search for honest answers. Thank you for your activism.
Department of Philosophy
745 Commonwealth Avenue, Room 516
Boston, Massachusetts 02215
Phone:617.353.2571 | Fax:617.353.6805
Department e-mail:[email protected]
Department Chair: Professor Daniel Dahlstrom
Phone: 617.353.4583 | E-mail: [email protected]
Associate Chair: Professor Aaron Garrett
Phone: 617.358.3617 | E-mail: [email protected]
Director of Undergraduate Studies: Professor Walter Hopp
Phone: 617.358.4228 | E-mail: [email protected]
Director of Graduate Studies: Professor David Roochnik
Phone: 617.353.4579 | E-mail: [email protected]
Director of Graduate Admissions: Professor Allen Speight
Phone: 617.353.3067 | E-mail: [email protected]
Administrator: Matthew Roselli
Phone: 617.353.2572 | E-mail: [email protected]
Senior Program Coordinator: Lesley Moreau
Phone: 617.353.2571 | E-mail: [email protected]
Elie Wiesel: University Professor, Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities and Professor of Philosophy and Religion
E-mail: [email protected]
The full Dept. of Philosophy faculty addresses can be found on our Boston University Project page.
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