Elie Wiesel lost everything to Madoff.
Wiesel, whose charitable foundation was wiped out by Madoff, has until now mostly kept quiet about the alleged $50 billion Ponzi scheme. But today, the Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize recipient spoke passionately about his betrayal by Madoff, whom he referred to variously as “a crook, a thief, a scoundrel,” as well as a “swindler” and “evil.”
Wiesel acknowledged that in addition to having lost his foundation’s assets, he lost his personal wealth to Madoff. “All of a sudden, everything we have done in 40 yearsâ€”literally, my books, my lectures, my university salary, everythingâ€”was gone,” he said during a panel discussion hosted by CondÃ© Nast Portfolio.
His foundation, the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity, lost substantially all of its $15.2 million in assets to Madoff; including his personal investments, total losses may be as high as $37 million. “We gave him everything, we thought he was God, we trusted everything in his hands,” Wiesel said.