Forgiveness In Simon Wiesenthal's The Sunflower

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The Holocaust is considered one of the world’s most explicit examples of inhumanity. The German Nazi regime and their collaborators organized and executed the systematic extermination of millions of Jews, homosexuals, and gypsies. The few that survived set forth on a quest to reconstruct their lives, but were often hindered by the trauma they sustained. Simon Wiesenthal, a Holocaust survivor, struggled with his emotions from the war and sought solace by writing about his experiences as well as founding an organization responsible for catching Nazi war criminals. One of his most famous works, The Sunflower, recounts his interaction with a Nazi soldier lying on his deathbed. This soldier confronts Wiesenthal with the existential question of forgiveness; he asks for a Jew’s forgiveness after killing hundreds of innocent people. At the end of the memoir, Wiesenthal’s moral dilemma becomes open to other interpretations when he poses the question: “What would you have done?” Though many people have grappled with this question, one respondent, Jose Hobday, supports forgiving the Schutzstaffel (SS) officer and expresses her ideas with passion. She supports her claim by stating that forgiveness is essential for maintaining a productive society. …show more content…

Although her altruistic nature and spirituality enable her to consider the perspective of others, she fails to consider the impact of remorse. Her response to The Sunflower is one of the many influential works with multiple interpretations. It addresses the Jewish Holocaust and a specific problem faced by Simon Wiesenthal, an extremely devout survivor of the Holocaust who sought consolation by writing about forgiveness. The Holocaust was devastating to the Jews and remains one of humanity's deepest scars. As Simon Wiesenthal says, “The Holocaust was not only a Jewish tragedy, but also a world

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