Cohen and Ros-Lehtinen Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Commission Bust of Elie Wiesel in U.S. Capitol

April 28, 2017
Press Release

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] — In the wake of Holocaust Remembrance Day, Congressman Steve Cohen (D-TN) and Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) today introduced bipartisan legislation to commission a bust of Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel to be installed in the United States Capitol building in Washington, DC.

“Elie Wiesel was one of the greatest moral forces in the world,” said Congressman Cohen. “He is a member of that rare group of people who have had a major individual impact on our world, such as Nelson Mandela, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Mahatma Gandhi. I met Elie Wiesel when I was a Tennessee State Senator when he was being honored at Vanderbilt.  It was particularly special for me to meet Elie Wiesel as he was the inspiration for my passing legislation to create the Tennessee Holocaust Commission in 1984.  The addition of a bust of Elie Wiesel to the U.S. Capitol, visited by Americans and people from around the world, would be most appropriate as Elie Wiesel spent his life urging all people to never forget the Holocaust.  A bust of Elie Wiesel will honor a great man and will further serve to remind us all to never forget.  I am proud to introduce this legislation with Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen during the week of Holocaust Remembrance Day, and I urge my colleagues to commission this statue to honor a brilliant, pure, honest, and courageous man.” 

“Having just marked the first Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, since Elie Wiesel passed, we are reminded of the importance of his mission: sharing the memory of the Holocaust so that we can all bear witness,” said Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen. “A statue or bust in the Capitol would memorialize him and ensure that we continue to share his story and remind ourselves that, as he said 'our lives no longer belong to us alone; they belong to all those who need us desperately.' I am pleased to join Steve and so many of our colleagues in introducing this bill to pay tribute to a great man and his legacy.”

Elie Wiesel was born in Romania in 1928. In 1944, at the age of fifteen, Wiesel was deported by the Nazis to the Auschwitz Concentration Camp and later to the Buchenwald Concentration Camp. He was released from Buchenwald in April 1945 after the United States Army liberated the camp. Following World War II, Wiesel became a journalist and author and wrote about his experiences during the Holocaust. In 1958, Wiesel published his memoir, Night, which has been translated into over 30 languages. In 1963, Wiesel became an American citizen. Throughout his life, he fought vocally against indifference, intolerance, and injustice. Wiesel received the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in 1986. Elie Wiesel passed away July 2, 2016 at the age of 87.

Cosponsors of the bill include (alphabetically): Julia Brownley (D-CA), Tony Cárdenas (D-CA), David Cicilline (D-RI), Yvette D. Clarke (D-NY), Mike Coffman (R-CO), Barbara Comstock (R-VA), Paul  Cook (R-CA), Ryan A. Costello (R-PA), Susan A. Davis (D-CA), Scott DesJarlais (R-TN), Theodore E. Deutch (D-FL), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Dan Donovan, (R-NY), Eliot Engel (D-NY), Blake Farenthold (R-TX), John Faso (R-NY), Bill Foster (D-IL), Trent Franks (R-AZ), Kay Granger (R-TX), Alcee Hastings (D-FL), French Hill (R-AR), Randy Hultgren (R-IL), John Katko (R-NY), Peter King (R-NY), David Kustoff (R-TN), Doug Lamborn (R-CO), Leonard Lance (R-NJ), John Lewis (D-GA), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), Nita Lowey (D-NY), Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM), Tom MacArthur (R-NJ), James McGovern (D-MA), Patrick Meehan (R-PA), Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Dave Reichert (R-WA), Kathleen M. Rice (D-NY), Peter Roskam (R-IL), Keith Rothfus (R-PA), Ed Royce (R-CA), Bobby L. Rush (D-IL), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), David Schweikert (R-AZ), Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (D-VA), Eric Swalwell (D-CA), Glenn Thompson (R-PA), Ann Wagner (R-MO), Debbie Wasserman Schultz  (D-FL), Randy K. Weber, Sr. (R-TX), John Yarmuth (D-KY), Lee Zeldin (R-NY)