Having the opportunity to learn and discuss with Elie Wiesel and Professor Johnston was such an enriching experience. As the granddaughter of two Holocaust survivors, I had grown up with a personal connection to this dark time in history. My grandparents made a conscious choice to leave their pre-displacement lives in the past, and therefore didn’t speak of their personal experiences at Auschwitz. Reading, learning and exploring with Dr. Wiesel was an amazing way for me to tap into that unknown history. He always spoke of how sharing stories kept them relevant, paid homage to those lost and hopefully served as a reminder to keep the world from repeating the same mistakes. He was such an inspiration, giving a voice to a generation of people becoming extinct. He shared stories of his meeting with different world leaders throughout the years. He never stopped fighting for justice for those threatened by terror, corruption or ignorance. It was such an honor to have the opportunity to study with such an intelligent, compassionate and humble scholar and educator. This was truly a life-changing opportunity, and a learning memory I will cherish forever.
—Amy (Zeifman) Portacci ’10