NEW VOICES: Elie Wiesel Speaks about the Death Penalty

Elie Wiesel, acclaimed author, human rights activist, Nobel Peace laureate and Holocaust survivor, spoke about his opposition to the death penalty during a lecture on capital punishment at Wesleyan University in Connecticut in October. Wiesel, who lost both parents and a sister in the Nazi death camps, focused his remarks on family members of murder victims. He said that murderers should be punished more harshly than other prisoners and encouraged the criminal justice system to focus efforts on the survivors of violent crimes “so that families will not feel cheated by the law.” “But,” he said, “death is not the answer.” He said that he might change his stance if the death penalty could bring back victims. He remarked, “I know the pain of those who survive. Believe me, I know… Your wound is open. It will remain. You are mourning, and how can I not feel the pain of your mourning? But death is not the answer.”

(K. Florin, “For Elie Wiesel, death penalty is not the answer,” The Day (CT), October 27, 2010). See Victims and New Voices.