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by TV News Desk
Oprah Winfrey will sit down with Nobel Peace Prize winner and New York Times best-selling author Elie Wiesel on the Emmy(R) Award-winning series SUPER SOUL SUNDAY in an all-new episode "Oprah and Nobel Prize Winner Elie Wiesel: Living with an Open Heart" premiering today, December 9 at 11:00 a.m. ET/PT on OWN.
In the intimate interview, which falls on the first day of Hanukkah, Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor and the author of the internationally-acclaimed memoir, Night, talks about facing his own mortality when, at age eighty-two, he was rushed into open heart surgery, as detailed in his latest memoir, Open Heart. His fears associated with the lifesaving operation allowed him to re-examine his career and deepen his devotion to his family. Wiesel talks about being a witness to history as a Holocaust survivor, losing his life savings in the Bernard Madoff scandal, and what he hopes will be the destiny of his life's work.
A special re-broadcast of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" original episode "A Special Presentation: Oprah and Elie Wiesel At Auschwitz Death Camp," where in 2006 Oprah and Wiesel traveled to Poland together, will air immediately following, from noon-1 p.m. ET/PT on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network. For sneak peek, click here!
EXCERPT: Oprah Winfrey and Elie Wiesel discuss being a Holocaust survivor:
WINFREY: You've said that Holocaust survivors are becoming an endangered species. Indeed, you all are. Yet you don't fear the memory of the Holocaust will ever be lost.
WIESEL: I'll tell you why. Because, you know, all of us who went through that experience considered ourselves as witnesses. When the last witness will be gone, I don't want to be that one. It's too tragic. What will happen? So on one hand, you could become pessimistic that the last witness -- all the knowledge, all the experience, all the memories will be buried. Then what? So I came up with a theory which I think is valid. To listen to a witness is to become one.
WINFREY: To listen to a witness --
WIESEL: Is to become a witness.
WINFREY: To become a witness.
WIESEL: So therefore those who have listened to us, who have read my books and other survivors' memoirs, we have a lot of witnesses now. And they will protect not only our past, but also their future.
EXCERPT: Oprah Winfrey and Elie Wiesel discuss losing his life savings in the Bernard Madoff scandal:
WINFREY: I have to ask you this because we spoke a couple of years ago and you had just been through a stunning experience, of all the stunning things that had happened to you, but when you got the call that you had lost your entire life savings, as well as $15 million dollars of the foundation that you and Marion had worked your whole lives for because of Bernie Madoff... What was the first thing you did? I mean, you just -- that's an unbelievable call to get.
WIESEL: I remember we were out and we came home and it was almost near midnight. The telephone rang. And we were frightened. Midnight.
WIESEL: It was Elisha. Elisha said, first of all, don't worry. Everybody's good in the family. Nothing happened. Nothing. But now sit down.
WINFREY: Sit down. This is your son.
WIESEL: My son. And our son -- then he was a member of our Board. And he actually didn't like the idea that we had placed so much money with Madoff.
WINFREY: Because you'd placed all the money with Madoff.
WIESEL: Yes. He said too much. And so that was a few months earlier before that. And we told him, come on, we know people who did that. If I told you the names, you would be surprised. The most prestigious names in the financial world.
WIESEL: Have given him money. So why shouldn't we? He said, he's in jail. We looked at each other and our reaction was, we have seen worse.
WINFREY: Mm. You and Marion.
WIESEL: Oprah, both she and I have seen worse.