The art of inventing hope Intimate conversations with Elie Wiesel

Howard Reich

Book - 2019

"The Art of Inventing Hope offers an unprecedented, in-depth conversation between the world's most revered Holocaust survivor, Elie Wiesel, and a son of survivors, Howard Reich. During the last four years of Wiesel's life, he met frequently with Reich in New York, Chicago and Florida--and spoke with him often on the phone--to discuss the subject that linked them: Reich's father, Robert Reich, and Wiesel were both liberated from the Buchenwald death camp on April 11, 1945. Wha...t had started as an interview assignment from the Chicago Tribune quickly evolved into a friendship and a partnership. Reich and Wiesel believed their colloquy represented a unique exchange between two generations deeply affected by a cataclysmic event. Wiesel said to Reich, "I've never done anything like this before," and after reading the final book, asked him not to change a word. Here Wiesel--at the end of his life--looks back on his ideas and writings on the Holocaust, synthesizing them in his conversations with Reich. The insights on life, ethics, and memory that Wiesel offers and Reich illuminates will not only help the children and grandchildren of Holocaust survivors understand their painful inheritance, but will benefit everyone, young or old."--

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Chicago, Illinois : Chicago Review Press [2019]
First edition
Item Description
Includes index.
Physical Description
xiii, 177 pages ; 24 cm
Includes index.
Main Author
Howard Reich (author)
  • Preface
  • The Holocaust returns
  • A troubled inheritance
  • A burden and privilege
  • We are all witnesses
  • The untouchable past
  • Why do they hate us?
  • Where did we go wrong?
  • The scene of the crimes
  • How did our parents stay sane?
  • Listening to silence
  • Moments of grace
  • How do we speak of this?
  • The art of inventing hope
  • On faith
  • Can we forgive?
  • How shall we regard Israel?
  • Further thoughts on Night and its implications
  • The magical power of memory
  • Afterword.
Review by Kirkus Book Review

A collection of final timeless reflections from Elie Wiesel (1928-2016).Chicago Tribune veteran Reich (Portraits in Jazz: 80 Profiles of Jazz Legends, Renegades and Revolutionaries, 2014, etc.), whose parents were survivors of the Holocaust, looks back on his greatest opportunity as a writer and journalist: numerous conversations with the Nobel laureate. This brief but moving work artfully intertwines Wiesel's words of wisdom with Reich's quest to further understand his own family's untold story. The author recalls a youth colored by his parents' trauma and yet lived in silence, as their experiences during the Holocaust were utterly unspoken topics. Only later in life, when Reich's father was dead and his mother was struggling with the delusional effects of PTSD, was he able to fully understand their stories. His fortuitous friendship with Wiesel helped him in this quest. In many ways, Reich's book is a reflection on the lives of the children of Holocaust survivors rather than the survivors themselves. This generation, raised in the shadow of the Holocaust but often without a clear picture of what it really meant for their parents, carries its own particular burden. It is a burden Reich feels keenly and which Wiesel fully appreciated. Beyond calling on the children to do away with feelings of guilt, Wiesel embraces their worth: "To be a child of survivors is to be miraculous. What had to be done for a child to be born! For the survivors to overcome fear." In their conversations, Reich and Wiesel cover many topics, including anti-Semitism, Israel, forgiveness, and faith. Wiesel's mindset is almost universally positive, and he never judges the conclusions of other survivors, consistently choosing a path of hope and compassion. Reich does an admirable job of complementing his subject's sage words with his own perspective without in any way detracting or distracting from itno easy task yet one the author accomplishes with aplomb.Irreplaceable thoughts from a vanishing generation. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.