In New York this week, I read two long pieces about the horrible financial chaos caused by the Bernie Madoff ponzi scheme. There’s a big story in the current New York magazine, with a truly frightening cover picture of Madoff as the bloody Joker from Batman. Even more depressing is a long New York Times piece about the damage Madoff’s treachery has done to Holocaust survivor and author Elie Wiesel.
Basically, Wiesel had all the money from his charitable foundation invested with Madoff–all $15 million of it. It’s all gone. Same with his own life savings. Gone. And there’s no government bailout for Madoff’s victims.
Perhaps it doesn’t pay to think too deeply or too long about just how much pain life can deal out to one man. Somehow Wiesel escaped Hitler’s savagery, came to a new world, devoted his life to humanitarian good, wrote books affirming the human spirit, won the Nobel Peace Prize–and then, at the age of 80, he gets wiped out by one of the absolute worst people of this century (I know it’s early, but Madoff will be on the list.)
The mind reels at this kind of thing, but we can all do something to help right Madoff’s wrong. Let me ask everyone reading this blog to make a donation to Wiesel’s foundation here, as I will do today. If you have to have something in return, Wiesel has a new book coming out soon, called A Mad Desire to Dance. Please buy it. You’ll feel better if you do.