The Sunflower is a book written by Simon Wiesenthal that reconstructs his moves to an individualquestionof forgiveness. The book recites what he went through in Lemberg Concentration camp and talks of the lesson of the matter. The title comes from the author’s view of a military cemetery of German: he sees afloweron each grave and dreads that he will have his body placed in a mass grave without a mark. The book’ssecondpart constitutes a symposium of responses from several people, including the survivors of Holocaust and former Nazis. At the camp, Wiesenthalis calledto the side of the dying Karl Seidl, a soldier of the Nazi.
Karl Seidl tells him that he seeks his forgiveness for anoffencethat has haunted him in his lifetime. The dying soldier admits to destroying ahousewith 300 Jews in occupancy. The soldier usedfire and other weapons toexecutethe murder. The Nazi soldier confesses that as the Jews tried to save their lives by jumping out through the window, he shot them down. After Seidl narrates his story, he requests Wiesenthal to forgive him. Wiesenthal takesaccountof hisresponseand poses a challenge to the reader.
The Wiesenthal’s dilemma has currently 53 responses. The responses are fromvariousprofessionals, among who are theologians, human rights activists,formerKarl’s colleagues and survivors. Someclaimthat forgiveness ought to be granted on behalf of the victims, while others say that forgiveness should be denied to Karl in this matter. In the responses, many seem not to criticize Wiesenthal because theybelievehe went through too muchtorture. The author himselfis hauntedby the fact that he denied a man his last wish. Forgiving andforgettingseems easy to speak about but difficult toperform; the decision to forgive or not should be based on Simon Wiesenthal’sfaith,because he represents the Jews and knows the pain andagonythey faced.