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Sen. Cruz Honors the Memory of Elie Wiesel on the Senate Floor

"May every one of us rise to answer the call to truth and justice that Elie Wiesel championed each and every day"

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) today delivered remarks on the Senate floor in remembrance of Nobel peace laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, who passed away on Saturday at 87 years of age.

Sen. Cruz’s remarks may be viewed here and a full transcript is below.

Sen. Cruz: “‘I remember: it happened yesterday, or eternities ago. A young Jewish boy discovered the Kingdom of Night. I remember his bewilderment, I remember his anguish. It all happened so fast. The ghetto. The deportation. The sealed cattle car. The fiery altar upon which the history of our people and the future of mankind were meant to be sacrificed.

“‘I remember he asked his father: “Can this be true? This is the twentieth century, not the middle ages. Who would allow such crimes to be committed? How could the world remain silent?”

“‘And now the boy is turning to me. “Tell me,” he asks, “what have you done with my future, what have you done with your life?” And I tell him that I have tried. That I have tried to keep memory alive, that I have tried fight those who would forget. Because if we forget, we are guilty, we are accomplices. 

“‘And I explain to him how naive we were, that the world did know and remained silent. And that is why I swore never to be silent whenever, wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormenter, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Wherever men and women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must -- at that moment -- become the center of the universe.’ Elie Wiesel spoke these words, as he accepted the Nobel peace prize in 1986. 

“He was a living testimony to the vow ‘Never Forget.’ Although he endured the unspeakable darkness of Auschwitz and Buchenwald, his defiant light burned ever brighter as he dedicated his immense talents to providing a voice, not only for the Jewish victims of the Holocaust, but also for the voiceless, the condemned, and the forsaken across the globe. Elie tirelessly reminded the world that the savage horror of the Third Reich was not an aberration in the past that was defeated in World War II. He knew the potential for such genocidal evil remains with us in the present and he warned that we must always be on guard against it. Now that little boy who was always with him must always be with us.

“I was blessed to know personally Elie and his incomparable wife Marion. They have been powerful and fearless voices for justice, no matter the cost. It is humbling to encounter true greatness embodied by Elie and Marion. When Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed a joint session of Congress, it was one of the great privileges of my life to host Elie Wiesel and to join him on a panel, together discussing the profound threat posed by a nuclear Iran. A nuclear Iran I believe is the single-greatest national security threat facing America. Elie shared that view.

“‘Never Again’ is a critically important phrase. After our victory in World War II, it might seem like a comforting affirmation of the fact that humanity is involved in a horror like the Holocaust could never happen again. But “Never Again” is something more. Elie Wiesel was a testimony to the fact that “Never Again” is a sacred vow. It is a promise that we will not take this for granted but we will be ceaselessly vigilant because we know that while the evil of anti-Semitism was defeated once in World War II, it was not eradicated. To assume in our sophisticated modern age that we somehow transcended evil would be a tragic mistake.

“We have seen the face of evil this year in the savage ISIS terrorists who are targeting Jews and Christians and Muslims, murdering regardless of faith. And we see it even more clearly in the Islamic Republic of Iran, which is seeking the world’s deadliest weapons and the means to deliver them to make good on the many threats to annihilate, not only the nation of Israel, but the entire free world. 

“These are not empty words uttered by an ayatollah without consequence. They are not simply words to placate a domestic political audience. These are articles of faith with the Iranian leadership, and they back them up with 35 years of violent hostility towards Israel and the United States.

“Last year the world marked the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, and we remembered the unspeakable atrocities of the death camps. We cannot afford a nuclear Auschwitz. We all know Iran’s terrorist proxies, Hamas, Hezbollah, and Palestinian Islamic jihad have engaged in vicious terror attacks against both our nations, and already too many of our citizens have been killed and maimed. And we know that the danger posed by Iran is not a thing of the past. Their intention is to use these weapons of destruction.

“This threat should not be a partisan issue. This threat should unite us because that’s the only way we will be able to defeat this threat. And defeat it we must because Iran’s threat is not only to wipe us off the map but to erase us from the historical record altogether. Think about that for a moment. The stated objective of the Ayatollah Khomeini is a world without even the memory of the United States of America, the ‘Great Satan,’ as they call us, or even a memory of Israel, the ‘Little Satan,’ as they call Israel. Together we can stop that threat, just as we did in World War II. Together we can stand up and repudiate this catastrophic Iranian nuclear deal that sends billions of dollars to Islamic terrorists committed to our murder. Together we can look evil in the eye and call it by its name. And we can do what we must to ensure that the vow of “Never Again” is fulfilled.

“Elie Wiesel left an extraordinary legacy. His memory is a blessing. It’s an inspiration. But it is also a challenge to keep his legacy burning in our hearts. Our prayers go out to Marion and to all of Elie’s loved ones. May he rest in peace. But may every one of us rise to answer the call to truth and justice that Elie Wiesel championed each and every day.”