The Sunflower Analysis

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Simon Wiesenthal, along with millions of individuals, faced horrendous circumstances as a Nazi prisoner living in concentration camps during the Holocaust. While performing slave labor, Wiesenthal is presented with an astounding request from an unexpected source, a Nazi SS officer, and faces an unimaginable entreaty.
When Simon Wiesenthal awakened each morning in the concentration camp, his primary thoughts were likely on survival and his only concern regarding the SS officers was avoiding them. Unbeknownst to him, while performing slave labor at a hospital near the concentration camp where he was imprisoned, Wiesenthal would interact with an SS officer amid unlikely and unexpected circumstances. After being summoned by a nurse to the hospital
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Fleishner describes herself “as an outsider to the Shoah twice over—first, as one who was not there, secondly, as a non-Jew” and conveys that “the question, for me, is not whether he should have forgiven, but whether he could have done so. Was it in his power to forgive?” Herschel responds to Wiesenthal’s question by expressing that “no one can forgive crimes committed against other people. It is therefore preposterous to assume that anybody alive can extend forgiveness for the suffering of any one of the six million people who perished.” Nechama Tec asserts that “right after I read The Sunflower I felt that were I in Wiesenthal’s place I would not have absolved the dying SS man of his heinous crimes. I knew, almost intuitively, that for me forgiveness was not an option.” Tenzin Gyatso, the fourteenth Dalai Lama, declares that he “…believes one should forgive the person or persons who have committed atrocities against oneself or mankind. But this does not necessarily mean one should forget about the atrocities committed. In fact, one should be aware and remember these experiences so that efforts can be made to check the recurrence of such atrocities in the future.” Although each person in the world would provide slightly different response to Wiesenthal’s question, there is no answer that is definitively right or
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