Simon Wiesenthal The Sunflower Analysis

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Golden sunrays the shade of a sunflower stream through the glass panes. Simultaneously, shadows as dark as the death of an innocent man dance beside the sunshine (Wiesenthal 36). You perch on the edge of a hospital bed and listen in silence to a guilty and dying Nazi. He begs you for forgiveness for engaging in atrocities against humanity (Wiesenthal 54). What do you do? Enter the world of Simon Wiesenthal, who relays this episode of his life to readers in his book, The Sunflower. Wiesenthal describes in great detail his experience, in which he ultimately responds to the SS man with nothing but his silence (53-55). Not fully satisfied with his actions, he urges the reader to ask themselves what they would have done had they been in his position…show more content…
Others, however, may choose to tuck their morals and principles into the darkest, smallest corner of their mind in order to appease their own wants of the world. Karl, it seems, has chosen the latter. He describes in great detail his seemingly picturesque childhood. In particular, he depicts his years spent in the Catholic Church as a server and favorite of the priest, who encouraged the boy to study religion and become a priest himself (Wiesenthal 31). This never happened. As Karl says, things “turned out differently” (Wiesenthal 31). Yes, indeed, his path in life did pan out much differently from becoming a religious leader. Paradoxically, this Catholic young man became a member of the Hitler Youth (Wiesenthal 31). Not only was the SS man Catholic, his parents also fervidly opposed Hitler and the Nazi party (Wiesenthal 88). It was not as though Karl was pressured into joining the Nazi party. Rather, if anything, he was discouraged from joining from nearly all aspects of his life; by both his parents, as well as by the religion he once so dearly loved (Hertzberg 166). Despite the fact that Karl plainly has a conscience, an establishment of morals, and knowledge from right to wrong, he chose to commit the crimes he did, just like a common Nazi without a Catholic background (Ozick 219). The fact that Nazi soldiers were in no way…show more content…
I would do this because Simon was not in a position to forgive Karl on behalf of the Jews he killed. Moreover, Karl deliberately chose to become a member of the Nazi party and commit horrifying inhumane acts despite knowing it was wrong. Finally, I would let my response be that of silence because there is a dearth of sincerity in his repentance. As another generation passes, the risk of forgetting the horrors of the Holocaust increases. As adolescents and students, we are the future of the world, and we must be the ones to ensure that the Holocaust never slips into oblivion. We must take it upon ourselves to learn about this time period and hold this information forever in our minds. We must always teach others what we have learned. We must spread the word about this with such urgency that one would think that it happened yesterday. Finally, we must do everything in our power to make certain that those who were murdered did not die in vain, and to make sure that history does not repeat itself. Ghastly is the thought of millions more innocent souls perishing with only a ditch for a grave and nothing more than wild weeds as burial flowers instead of a blossoming

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