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Elie Wiesel: Can An Act of Revenge Be Just?09:11

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Elie Wiesel at Boston University
Elie Wiesel at Boston University

This week's show featured a lecture by Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel which he delivered last week as part of a conference in honor of his 80th birthday sponsored by BU's Elie Wiesel Center for Judaic Studies.

John Silber, BU president emeritus, introduced Wiesel by recounting the Biblical tale of Job, who lost his family and possessions in a test of his piety.

Wiesel examined the events leading up to Kristallnacht, the infamous night in November 1938 when hundreds of synagogues in Germany were destroyed, and thousands of Jews were arrested and deported to concentration camps by the Nazi party.

Two days earlier, a Polish-born Jew fired at a German diplomat in Paris in response to the expulsion from Germany of thousands of Polish-born Jews, including his sister. The Nazis used the assassination incident "to punish all the Jews of Germany," Wiesel said.

"Are justice and vengeance related only as cause and consequence? Are they at all compatible?" asked Wiesel.

Wiesel also discussed the efficiency of vengeance and the role of anger as a source of inspiration for undertaking action and triggering social change.

This program aired on November 2, 2008.

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Robin Lubbock is a videographer and photographer for WBUR.