The Sunflower

Melissa Torres Period: 2 2/9/13 The Sunflower Dear Simon Wiesenthal, After reading The Sunflower and having mixed emotions during this book I made my decision. “What would I have done? ” I would have done the same thing you did. Just walk away from all of it. I believe it would be a tough situation to think about and have a response to right then and there. Like Deborah says in her essay, “The question to be asked is not should the prisoner have forgiven the SS man but could the prisoner have forgiven him? This is obviously saying that no one has the right to forgive anyone on behalf of another. This request brings up several moral questions like, Is it alright to forgive someone who has done no harm to you? Can a person forgive someone on behalf of others? Can anyone really forgive anyone else, or is forgiveness in the hands of a higher power? The soldier asked you for his forgiveness just because you are a Jew, and in the soldiers mind, all Jews are equal. Even though you weren’t burned alive, shot dead, or in any other heinous acts in the concentration camps.
How could his forgiveness, had he granted it, put the soldier at rest about the hundreds of Jews he has been a party to the murder of? I think you had no right to forgive the soldier. The soldier didn’t commit a crime against you personally, and for you to forgive him would have been an empty phrase with no meaning. The soldier should have asked for forgiveness between himself and all the Jews he murdered. Sven Alkalaj I like that Sven included in his essay what he went through in Bosnia. I agree with Sven that Simon made a good decision not forgiving the soldier.
Just as Sven asks in his essay, “Who is entitled to speak on behalf of the victims? ” Simon didn’t have much of a say just because they didn’t torture him. Just like Sven says, Simon was unsure if his response to the dying soldier was okay. It was hard for Simon to get over his response and wanted other peoples opinions on his decision. When the nurse attempts to give Simon some of the soldiers possessions. Simon refuses the package. It obviously shows that he didn’t want to do much with the soldiers. The holocaust was a horrible thing, and the killing of thousands of Jews was not okay. Forgetting the crimes would be worse than forgiving the criminal who seeks forgiveness” It is such a atrocious thing, its hard to forget and Sven said it would be bad to forget everything that happened. The Dalai Lama I don’t agree with Lama. He says “one should forgive the person or persons who have committed atrocities against oneself and mankind. ” I am totally against what he says because forgiving the soldier would mean that Simon is okay with what he did. The soldier didn’t really care if the Jew was tortured or not because he just asked the nurse to find a random Jew.

I felt like the soldiers apology was a lie and he just wanted to die in peace. But he doesn’t really deserve it after everything he did. Lama also says “but that is not the Buddhist way,” Lama’s culture is different and believes that forgiveness is okay. But if Simon was to forgive the soldier, it wouldn’t bring back any of the people he killed. The Jews he killed are piled up dead and accepting his apology isn’t going to change a thing. All the awful things that happened will always be in Simon’s mind. Melissa Torres Period: 6 The Sunflower
In The Sunflower, by Simon Wiesenthal the main character, Simon is put in an awkward situation and doesn’t really know how to deal with it. His development from the beginning of the book to the end of the book is kind of crazy. Towards the end of this book he realizes he made the right decision. Simon just needed a little bit of extra help to decipher if what he did was right. With condoning factors supporting the Nazi in The Sunflower is asking for forgiveness both out of guilt and amends, there is no possible way to decipher if he should or should not be forgiven.
Simon was asked to go clean at a hospital. When he arrived at the hospital the nurse asked him if he was a Jew. Simon said yes and the nurse took him to the bedside of Karl, a 21-year old dying Nazi soldier. Karl was covered in bandages with openings only for his mouth, nose and ears. Karl wanted to tell Simon his story. Karl talked about his childhood and then the conversation came up to him being a Nazi. Karl admitted to shooting a mother, father and their two kids. Karl felt guilty about the hundred of Jews he killed and he didn’t want to die without coming clean to a Jew.
Karl asked for forgiveness, he knew he was asking for too much from Simon but without his answer Karl couldn’t die in peace. Simon left the room without a word. When he returned to the hospital the next day, the same nurse came to Simon and told him that Karl had died. Over the next years of the war, time and time again, through all his suffering, Simon thought of Karl and wondered if he should have forgiven him. Over the years, every time Simon would enter a hospital, see a nurse, or a man covered with his head bandaged, he recalls Karl. Many years later Simon questioned whether he had done the right thing.
He asked many people about his actions. A few of these people included Jews, Rabbis, a Catholic Cardinal, Christians and even an ex-Nazi. They all had different opinions and different reason of forgiveness. Faced with the choice between compassion and justice, silence and truth, Simon said nothing. Simon always wondered if he had done the right thing. As the book was coming to an end, Simon started noticing that he did the right think not forgiving Karl. Forgiving him wouldn’t bring back any of the people he killed. The Jews he killed are piled up dead and accepting his apology isn’t going to change a thing.
Karl didn’t commit a crime against Simon personally, and for Simon to forgive Karl would have been an empty phrase with no meaning. Karl should have asked for forgiveness between himself and all the Jews he murdered. The main character’s development throughout the book showed that at first Simon wasn’t confident with his decision and always had the situation on the back of his mind. But towards the end of the book, Simon notices he did make the right decision to just get up, walk away without saying a word. Simon basically needed other peoples opinions to see that he had done the right thing.

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