The Testimony of Elie Wiesel

The award-winning author of NIGHT admits to telling stories about things that could have happened, but never did.

“‘What are you writing?’ the Rebbe asked. ‘ – Stories,’ I said. He wanted to know what kind of stories: true stories. ‘About people you have knew?’ Yes, about people I might have known. ‘About things that happened?’ Yes, about things that happened or could have happened. ‘But they did not?’ No, not all of them did. In fact, some some were invented from almost the beginning to almost the end. The Rebbe leaned forward as if to measure me up and said with more sorrow than anger: ‘That means that you are writing lies!’ I did not answer immediately. The scolded child within me had nothing to say in his defense. Yet, I had to justify myself. ‘Things are not that simple, Rebbe. Some events do take place but are not true; other are – although they never occurred.'”

Elie Wiesel, LEGENDS OF OUR TIME, Schocken Books, New York, 1982, p. viii