Based on his experiences as a concentration camp prisoner brought before a dying Nazi soldier who asked for his forgiveness, "The Sunflower" is a collection of essays in which a host of intellectuals considers the question: Can evil be forgiven? This revised edition features contributions by Robert Coles, Cynthia Ozick, Primo Levi, Albert Speer, ...
Based on his experiences as a concentration camp prisoner brought before a dying Nazi soldier who asked for his forgiveness, "The Sunflower" is a collection of essays in which a host of intellectuals considers the question: Can evil be forgiven? This revised edition features contributions by Robert Coles, Cynthia Ozick, Primo Levi, Albert Speer, Harry Wu, and a host of others, including 33 respondents not featured in the earlier edition.
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The first 1/3 of the book is what happened in the life of Simon Wiesenthal, the author, during WWII. It is presented in such a way that the reader has the feeling of being there but "filtered"so as not to receive the full horror of that time.
Wiesenthal invited a variety of notables to give their opinions of his quandry. It was impossible for me to skip even one.
It is a good study in what is forgiveness and how are we to forgive.
Jul 5, 2007
This book has a small book by Simon Wiesenthal, the Nazi Hunter, about a visit with a dying Nazi SS soldier during his imprisonment in a concentration camp. Following the story are four score commentaries on the book by living and nonliving writers. Even though Mr. Wiesenthal had no idea at the time of the conversation that 89 of his relatives died in the camps he surely was a person to confess to. And even if the soldier couldn' t directly face his victims he did face Wiesenthal who would go on to find many of the Nazi perpetrators after the war. I personally feel that Wiesenthal did the right thing by listening to the soldier, walking away in silence, and then visiting the soldier's mother after the war. There are some things that cannot under any circumstances be forgiven. If all people go to heaven, Hitler, as a budding artist, should spend the rest of eternity painting the portraits of the victims of his mass genocide. However, I believe in hell and that's where this soldier and Hitler are. The fact that Simon Wiesenthal spent 96 years on this earth was God's plan and the fact that he listened to murderer's confession was also quite fitting. This book brings up many questions that are hard to answer with any authority. How would I understand the concentration camp Jew if I did not undergo it as he or she did. There is just not any way to rationalize forgiveness. And don't blame God. God gave us people like Wiesenthal and Frankl to deal with the horrors of the Holocaust. Let us be content in that.
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