Michael Dobkowski, professor of religious studies at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, was published in the Democrat & Chronicle as a guest columnist on July 9. The piece titled “The profound legacy of Elie Wiesel” reflects on his friend and mentor Elie Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor who passed away on July 2.
Wiesel, a Nobel Laureate and author of 60 books and thousands of essays, was known as “an icon of Holocaust memory and a global voice of conscience,” writes Dobkowski. Wiesel’s best-known work, “Night,“ served as an introduction to the Holocaust for millions of readers, eloquently capturing the horror and madness he experienced as a prisoner in the Auschwitz and Buchenwald concentration camps.
Besides noting Wiesel’s professional accomplishments, Dobkowski describes his friend. “He truly cared about people and never allowed his fame to affect his treatment of people with dignity and respect … May we live up to his legacy and accept the charge of being responsible witnesses to the memories of the past,” Dobkowski writes.
A member of the faculty since 1976, Dobkowski is an expert on genocide, terrorism and the Holocaust. He holds a doctorate in history from New York University. A prolific author, he has written “The Tarnished Dream: The Basis of American Anti-Semitism,” “The Politics of Indifference: Documentary History of Holocaust Victims in America” and “Jewish American Voluntary Organizations.” He is the co-author of “Nuclear Weapons, Nuclear States & Terrorism,” “On the Edge of Scarcity” and “The Nuclear Predicament: Nuclear Weapons in the 21st Century.” He has co-written other volumes on the Holocaust and genocide.
Wiesel spoke in May 2000 as the concluding lecturer of that year’s HWS Genocide in the 20th Century lecture series at the Smith Opera House. He also delivered the Commencement address and received an honorary degree from HWS in June 1982.
The photo above features Wiesel offering the Commencement Address to the Classes of 1982.