Segments in this Video

Introduction: Capital Punishment (03:34)


Richard D. Heffner welcomes writer and Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel. Wiesel discusses the traditional use of capital punishment as a crime deterrent. He is against taking human life for any reason and does not like the spectacle of executions.

Psyche of a Murderer (01:29)

A public television station asked to televise an execution to diminish the demand for capital punishment. Wiesel believes such a broadcast might inspire someone to kill for attention.

Exceptions to "No Death Penalty" (04:22)

Wiesel discusses Israel's execution of Adolf Eichmann—an exception to its policy against capital punishment. He would consider using it against terrorists and the murderers of children. He believes the war against Hitler was justified, although he is against war.

Affirmation of Life (04:43)

Wiesel wonders whether there is any punishment harsher than death. He sees increasing public demand for capital punishment as a call for justice. He discusses how death penalty laws exist in the Bible but are not implemented.

Death Penalty Criticism (03:15)

Wiesel interprets capital punishment in the Bible as God's right, as the giver of life. He believes the risk of mistaken identity is low and has faith in the justice system. He cautions against institutionalizing death, however.

A Crime Unequaled (04:17)

Wiesel believes the Holocaust can never be matched. He worries that its weight will be diminished when the last survivor dies. Although sensitive to the suffering of other persecuted groups, he takes issue with more recent comparisons.

Talmudic Interpretation of Capital Punishment (03:06)

No person can be indicted or condemned unless two people have witnessed their crime and they have been warned not to commit it. Wiesel discusses how death penalty cases were tried in ancient Jewish communities.

Gun Control (01:34)

Wiesel has received letters from Jews outside Israel asking him to support the right to bear arms. He believes in U.S. institutions and in the rule of law.

Credits: Episode 9: Capital Punishment (00:41)

Credits: Episode 9: Capital Punishment

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Episode 9: Capital Punishment

Part of the Series : Dialogues
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This program explores the circumstances in which capital punishment may be justified, and considers the morality of retribution.

Length: 28 minutes

Item#: BVL192538

ISBN: 978-1-64623-627-5

Copyright date: ©1997

Closed Captioned

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Not available to Home Video customers.