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De Blasio Administration and New York City Council Permanently Co-Name the Southwest Corner of 84th Street and Central Park West 'Elie Wiesel Way'

June 13, 2017

Street naming honors the late Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize-winning humanitarian for contributions to New York City culture and advancing human rights worldwide

NEW YORK–– Deputy Mayor Richard Buery and City Council Member Helen Rosenthal today hosted a ceremony to permanently co-name the SW Corner of 84th Street and Central Park West after famed humanitarian, author and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel. Mr. Wiesel passed away at his home in Manhattan last summer at the age of 87. His son Elisha Wiesel and wife of 47 years Marion Wiesel joined the ceremony and offered remarks.

“Elie Wiesel endured one of the darkest periods in history, but his indelible faith in humanity is an everlasting example of courage and tolerance. His words serve as a beacon of hope against fear and oppression in uncertain times,” said Mayor de Blasio. “I am honored to place this permanent tribute to Mr. Wiesel in the Upper West Side community in which he and his family are deeply rooted.”

“Elie Wiesel’s life of unparalleled courage and strength is a model for what the human spirit can achieve, even amid the greatest of evils. His example has influenced many generations, including my own, to fight for what’s right and to challenge indifference and intolerance wherever it may exist,” said Richard Buery, Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives. “‘Elie Wiesel Way’ will always serve as a reminder to live up to our best ideals and embrace our shared values as we move through new times of uncertainty and fear. There are few figures in modern history more deserving than Mr. Wiesel of a permanent installation in New York City.”

Elie Wiesel was born in Sighet, Romania in 1928. At age 15 he, his parents and his three sisters were deported to the Auschwitz concentration camp with the rest of his town’s Jewish population. While his mother and younger sister were immediately murdered upon entering the camp, he and his father survived to be transported to the camp at Buchenwald, where he was liberated. His father died before the camp was freed; however, Elie reunited with his two older sisters in France after World War II ended. In 1955, he wrote La Nuit in French, describing his harrowing experience in Nazi-operated concentration camps. The book was translated into English as Night in 1960.  Night would go on to sell 10 million copies in decades to come.

“Elie Wiesel faced some of the darkest horrors of humanity’s history, and he spent the rest of his life lighting the world with his teaching, his words, and his work,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “Honoring his name on our streets is a much-deserved acknowledgement, but it cannot begin to describe the enormity of his contributions to our city and humanity as a whole.”

"Elie Wiesel was a person of conviction, courage, and generosity. It’s no surprise that he was also a resident of the Upper West Side, a neighborhood that learned from him, looked to him for guidance, and is now dedicating a street to him. Wiesel's Night gave the world one of the most detailed accounts of the tragedy of the Holocaust, the power of which moved hundreds of students during his many years teaching at City College in the City University of New York, and thousands of readers across the world. I'm proud that Elie Wiesel's legacy will live on in all those that live, work, play, and walk along 84th and Central Park West, now Elie Wiesel Way," said Assembly Member Daniel J. O'Donnell.

“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 be a part of memorializing Mr. Wiesel’s life, and am so pleased that a street in our community, near his long-time Upper West Side home, will always bear Mr. Wiesel’s name,” said Council Member Helen Rosenthal (District 6, Manhattan).

“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 Mark Levine (District 7, Manhattan). “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 to be 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.”

Wiesel was the recipient of many awards including the 1986 Nobel Peace Prize for emerging “as one of the most important spiritual leaders and guides in an age when violence, repression and racism continue to characterize the world.” He also received the Congressional Gold Medal in 1985 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1992.

In addition to living in New York City for a number of years, the laureate taught at City College from 1972 to 1976 and was a founding board member of the New York Human Rights Foundation.

Joining today’s ceremony were middle school students from nearby M.S. M245 the Computer School and P.S. 9 on the Upper West Side.

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