New York City Co-Names Upper West Side Block for Nobel Laureate, Elie Wiesel

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 13, 2017 
CONTACT:  (Levine) Jake Sporn // 917-842-5748 // jsporn@council.nyc.gov

Upper West Side, NY – Along with Deputy Mayor Richard Buery, today City Council Members Mark Levine and Helen Rosenthal memorialized the life of Jewish-American writer, professor, political activist, Nobel Peace Laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, with a street co-naming the south west corner of West 84th Street and Central Park West as “Elie Wiesel Way.” The lifetime champion of human rights and Jewish causes and his wife raised their only son in Manhattan’s Upper West Side from the 1960s through the 1980s, residing at 239 Central Park West for over 15 years.

Wiesel was born on September 30th, 1928 and at the age of 15 was placed in a confinement ghetto by Nazi occupiers along with his parents and three siblings. Only three months after being forced into the ghetto, he and his family were deported to the Auschwitz concentration camp where he lost his mother and younger sister. Wiesel and his father were later deported to the Buchenwald concentration camp where his father perished only four months prior to the camp’s liberation.

After surviving the war, Wiesel authored over 60 books, including his acclaimed memoir Night, based on his experiences as a victim of Nazi Germany’s brutality towards Jews. Wiesel also became an outspoken activist on humanitarian issues related to violence, racism, and oppression. His leadership on these issues earned him the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986 when he asserted a sentiment still frighteningly relevant to this day, “silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”

“Elie Wiesel was a moral giant whose lessons continue to reverberate today.  He preached tolerance of religious minorities, and knew first-hand the experience of being a refugee, and the vulnerability of living in this country without citizenship,” said Council Member Levine. “Mr. Wiesel’s ties to New York city were deep.  His family made their home on the Upper West Side for many years, raising their children there and attending a local synagogue.  I am excited that we will marking this local connection with a street co-naming in his honor, so that generations to come will remember the man who made ‘never again’ among the most important words uttered in the past century.”

“Throughout his life, Elie Wiesel demonstrated a remarkable commitment to and belief in humanity. Despite experiencing the depths of human evil first hand, Mr. Wiesel devoted his life to speaking and acting out on behalf of those most threatened and vulnerable among us. His prolific writing and strident humanitarianism boldly fought back against discrimination and oppression. To this day, Mr. Wiesel’s commitment to humanity shows us how we can best meet our contemporary challenges—not with hate or fear, but with love and decency. I am humbled to join Council Member Levine in memorializing Mr. Wiesel’s life with this street co-naming by his long-time home on the Upper West Side,” said Council Member Rosenthal. 

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