May 2023 Update

May 2023

May was a thrilling month for me! It was in May that I met two heroes of mine, and re-met a scholar I had not seen in many years.
On May 2, at the Pyramid Club in Philadelphia, I met Elisha Wiesel, son (and only child) of Nobel Laureate, Elie Wiesel. I had met Elie a number of times, and after a lengthy meeting that had been arranged by my dear friend (and mentor), Harry James Cargas (who called himself a “post Auschwitz Catholic” and who died much too young, at 65, hemorrhaging from the blood thinner, kumodin), Elie agreed to write an epigraph for my book, The Last Album. Therefore, it was a great honor to meet his son, Elisha, who describes himself as a “recovering Wall Street executive” and who now runs, full-time, the Elie Wiesel Foundation.

It was here, at the AJC luncheon that, thanks to David Smith, I was to able to have a warm conversation with Elisha and present him—in his father’s memory—a copy of my book.

Elisha Wiesel, son of Elie, at AJC luncheon

Later that same day, I had another terrific meeting! This time, I reunited with Holocaust Memorial Scholar, and Professor of English
and Judaic Studies, James Young, who was in conversation with NPR’s Marty Moss-Coane. James wrote the introduction to my book, in which he concluded:

“…the photographs in Ann Weiss’ precious collection are a little like survivors themselves—not of the Holocaust, however, but of a pre-war era nearly blotted from memory by the Holocaust. For part of the tragedy of the Holocaust is the way it has tainted the memory of lives lived before with their terrible end, the way it has blinded a post-war generation to the richness of the lives destroyed. By restoring some sense of these lives as portrayed in their own times and places, however, these photographs begin to restore the means to measure what was actually lost.”

It was indeed a wonderful reunion with James!

James Young, Holocaust Scholar

And as if that was not enough, a few days later, I was privileged, not only to see a unique film about Ukraine, titled Slava Ukaini (Glory to Ukraine), created by France’s leading intellectual, but to meet the man himself! Bernard-Henri Levy has long been a hero of mine, for the acuity of his thinking and for the active role he takes in political and social issues. In this case, he explained that he did not
make a documentary; instead, it was a visual travel diary, intended to let the viewers hear and see the people on the ground—both soldiers and ordinary citizens. And true to form, even with a bullet proof vest, Bernard-Henri still wore his trademark crisply starched white shirt.

Bernard-Henri Levy

Slava Ukraini

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