Text size

Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel has told Haaretz that the recent speech in the United Nations by Iran's president, who has called for Israel's destruction, shows that the world has learned nothing from the Holocaust.

"Ten years ago, and less, the ruler of a country that announced its aspiration for Israel to be wiped off the map would not have dared appear and speak on the UN's podium," Weisel said.

"The era known as 'the period after Auschwitz' is over," he declared, adding: "If you ask me whether the world has learned something - my answer is no."

Wiesel, who recently celebrated his 80th birthday, was born in 1928 in Romania and survived the Auschwitz and Buchenwald concentration camps.

In his comments, Wiesel was referring to an address Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad delivered at the international body in late September. Ahmadinejad railed against "Zionist murderers" in the speech and dwelled on what he described as Zionist control of international finance.

Speaking from his Manhattan office, Wiesel also said that his initial belief that "hatred had also been burned [in Auschwitz] along with the Jews" appeared to have been wrong in light of the wickedness and suffering in the world today.

The Nobel laureate has written more than 40 books about his experience as a Holocaust survivor. His first and most important book, "Night," sold over 6 million copies.

The narrative details the Nazis' deportation of Wiesel's family from the northern Romanian town of Sighet to Auschwitz.

In 1986, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his life's work.

Wiesel was also influential in the creation of the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C.