“The Sunflower – On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness”
by Simon Wiesenthal
Mr. Wiesenthal, a Jew, was a prisoner in concentration camps during WWII. He was treated inhumanely and saw this family killed or starved to death. One day a dying SS soldier who had murdered Jewish families asked him for forgiveness.
It seems that Wiesenthal was haunted by his response. He wrote this story in “The Sunflower” asking “what would you have done?” He searches for answers from people of many faiths and backgrounds. He is answered by over fifty individuals including Desmond Tutu, Harold Kushner, and the Dalai Lama.
The answers given vary from emotional, heartfelt, to very intellectual. The discussion is enlightening on many levels. I recommend Wiesenthal’s book and the responses by those he sought out – theologians, jurists, psychiatrists, human rights activists, political leaders, former prisioners of war, writers and others – to answer his unrelenting question on forgiveness. You will never forget it.
“The Sunflower” was originally written in France in 1969. It has been translated, revised and had the symposium added at later dates. Wiesenthal died in 2005 at the age of 96.