As the world mourns the loss of author, activist, Holocaust survivor and Nobel Prize winner Elie Wiesel, who died July 2 at the age of 87, a rare piece from his early journalistic career has come to light. Author Menachem Butler has unearthed a cache of 1,000 articles Wiesel wrote when he first came to America in the 1950s and filed dispatches for the Jewish Daily Forward; the venerable newspaper known as the “Forverts” by its largely Yiddish-speaking readers. (This was before he gained international acclaim for his Holocaust memoir Night.) Included in this material is an account of a 1957 cross-country road trip, including a stop at Disneyland, which was then just two years old.
How did this eloquent writer and social activist view Walt Disney’s creation? What would a man who had experienced the ultimate horror of concentration camps make of the “happiest place on earth?”
The answers may surprise you. I am grateful to several friends who sent this article along from Tablet Magazine. It was published just days before Wiesel’s passing in New York City.
To read the piece, click HERE.