Open Heart

Open Heart - Elie Wiesel In June of 2011, author, humanitarian and Nobel Peace Prize honoree Elie Wiesel learned that he was in imminent danger of a heart attack and that he would need emergency open-heart surgery. Open Heart is his account of the experience.

In this short but beautiful book, Wiesel recounts not only the surgery itself and its aftermath, but the memories, questions and doubts that assail him as he faces his own mortality. He thinks of his family, both those he has lost and those who surround him and support him in the present. This remarkable man, who has spent his life speaking for those who died in the Shoah and oppressed people everywhere, wonders if he has done enough, or too much. “All of us who have fought the battle [against fanaticism],” he concludes, “must now admit defeat.”

As he confronts the possibility of his own death, he also wrestles (as Jews have done since the time of Jacob) with his relationship with God and the meaning of the religious observances he still performs, despite the “theological scandal” of Auschwitz and the atrocities that have happened since. In the end, however, he still holds to his belief “in man in spite of man,” and though he feels essentially unchanged by his experience, “I now know that every moment is a new beginning, every handshake a promise.”