Analysis on Simon Wiesenthal's The Sunflower

Essay by MccaddenSucksUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, April 2004

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Being raised in a Roman Catholic household, I can tell you when it comes to forgiveness I was taught to do the Christian thing. As hard is it might be, I should find it in my heart to forgive those who have hurt me, whether they ask for forgiveness or not. What I had never pondered is the chance that someone might ask me forgiveness for something wrong they have done to someone else. Do I have the right to put them at ease or offer forgiveness? In the book The Sunflower, Simon Wiesenthal, a man who had watched countless of innocent Jews like himself be murdered because of sheer hate, shares his unique story. One that has made me think about the way I view, and use forgiveness.

One day while working as a prisoner of a Nazi Concentration Camp, Wiesenthal is fetched by a nurse who brings him to a dying Nazi Soldier.

The soldier proceeds to tell Wiesenthal the horrific details of his career as a Nazi. Consumed by the guilt of innocent blood he has shed, the Nazi turns to Wiesenthal and asks him for forgiveness on behave of all the Jews he had slaughtered. Wiesenthal is now put on the spot. To this dying man he alone is looked upon as if the sole representative of his Jewish people. Emotionally drained and confused Wiesenthal leaves the soldier, offering him no words.

Wiesenthal feels burdened by his occurrence with the dying Nazi. He often wonders why him, why an SS soldier, and most of all why does it effect him so deeply? He dreams about it and dreads returning to the Hospital, fearing that the dying man will send for him again. The meeting with the soldier haunts Wiesenthal and he constantly reminisces on...