NEW YORK (AP) – When Elie Wiesel emerged from quintuple heart bypass surgery, still wired to monitors, he immediately started writing a book about the ordeal _ “in my head.” In French.
A year later, as he recuperates from post-procedure fatigue and depression, “Open Heart” is being published, in English. And the 84-year-old Nobel Peace Prize laureate and Holocaust activist is busy in the Manhattan office of his foundation, which also is recovering _ from financial ruin by Bernard Madoff, who had invested the money funding its humanitarian efforts.
Madoff’s Ponzi scheme also wiped out Wiesel’s family investments.
About one-third of the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity’s $15 million assets have been replaced through new contributions, according to tax documents obtained by The Associated Press.
“Children sent us their pocket money, people we never heard of, Jews, non-Jews, young, old,” Wiesel says. “I was so touched by that.”
None of the donations went to him and his wife, who have had to watch their personal budget, rethinking travels and restaurant expenses, he says.