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Holocaust Survivor Elie Wiesel on the Power of Living with Gratitude

Few have understood the power of giving thanks as thoroughly as Elie Wiesel, Holo­caust survivor and novelist. Here’s the transcript of what Wiesel said on an episode of Oprah Winfrey’s show:

OPRAH: There may be no better person than you to speak about living with gratitude. Despite all the tragedy you've witnessed, do you still have a place inside you for gratefulness?

ELIE: Absolutely. Right after the war, I went around telling people, "Thank you just for living, for being human." And to this day, the words that come most frequently from my lips are, "Thank you." When a person doesn't have gratitude, something is missing in his or her humanity. A person can almost be de­fined by his or her attitude toward gratitude.

OPRAH: Does having seen the worst of humanity make you more grateful for ordinary occurrences?

ELIE: For me, every hour is grace. And I feel gratitude in my heart each time I can meet someone and look at his or her smile.


Diana Butler Bass, “Grateful: The Transformative Power of Giving Thanks,” (HarperOne, 2018), Page 44

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