'Obscene' Wiesel play to open in New York

By Jennifer Lipman, July 20, 2010
Elie Wiesel said the play was defamatory

Elie Wiesel said the play was defamatory

A play on the Madoff financial scandal that Nobel Peace Prize laureate Elie Wiesel branded "obscene" and "defamatory" is set to open in New York.

The renowned human rights campaigner had threatened legal action over the play, which depicted a fictional conversation between disgraced financier Bernie Madoff and Mr Wiesel.

But despite opposition from the Holocaust survivor, Imagining Madoff will go ahead, although in a small Hudson theatre rather than in its original Washington location.

Playwright Deb Margolin has had to revise her script to remove mention of Mr Wiesel, although much of the dialogue is unchanged. She has replaced him with an octogenarian Holocaust survivor called Solomon Galkin.

Mr Wiesel’s foundation, one of many Jewish organisations who invested with Mr Madoff, lost more than $15 million in the Ponzi scam. He has described Mr Madoff as a “scoundrel”.

Ms Margolin told the New York Times: ““This has been a profoundly painful experience, and I’m still scared to talk about it.

“I can’t get sued, there’s no way I could afford it.

She added: “I didn’t set out to be on the wrong side of anybody, let alone someone I admire.”

Last updated: 4:21pm, November 15 2010