The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness by SIMON WIESENTHAL

The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness

bySIMON WIESENTHAL

Paperback | April 7, 1998

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A Holocaust survivor's surprising and thought-provoking study of forgiveness, justice, compassion, and human responsibility, featuring contributions from the Dalai Lama, Harry Wu, Cynthia Ozick, Primo Levi, and more.

While imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp, Simon Wiesenthal was taken one day from his work detail to the bedside of a dying member of the SS. Haunted by the crimes in which he had participated, the soldier wanted to confess to--and obtain absolution from--a Jew. Faced with the choice between compassion and justice, silence and truth, Wiesenthal said nothing.  But even years after the way had ended, he wondered: Had he done the right thing? What would you have done in his place?

In this important book, fifty-three distinguished men and women respond to Wiesenthal's questions. They are theologians, political leaders, writers, jurists, psychiatrists, human rights activists, Holocaust survivors, and victims of attempted genocides in Bosnia, Cambodia, China and Tibet. Their responses, as varied as their experiences of the world, remind us that Wiesenthal's questions are not limited to events of the past.

About The Author

Simon Wiesenthal was born in 1908 in Buczacz, Galicia, at that time a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. He was incarcerated between 1941 and 1945 in Buchenwald and Mauthausen and other concentration camps. In 1946, together with 30 other survivors, he founded the Jewish Historical Documentation Center, which was instrumental in the ...

Details & Specs

Title:The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of ForgivenessFormat:PaperbackDimensions:304 pages, 8 × 5.3 × 0.6 inPublished:April 7, 1998Publisher:Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0805210601

ISBN - 13:9780805210606

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Bookclub Guide

Put yourself in the position of a prisoner in a concentration camp. A dying Nazi soldier asks for your forgiveness. What would you do? In The Sunflower, Simon Wiesenthal raises that question for readers to wrestle with, and they have been passionately doing so ever since. As a young man imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp, Wiesenthal was taken one day from his labor brigade to a hospital at the request of Karl, a mortally wounded Nazi soldier. Tormented by the crimes in which he had participated, including the murder of a family with a small child, the SS man wanted to confess to--and if possible, receive absolution from--a Jew. Wiesenthal, left the room in silence, but remained intrigued by the issues the man's request raised about the limits and possibilities of forgiveness. Must we, can we, forgive the repentant criminal, no matter how heinous the crime? Can we forgive crimes committed against others? What do we owe the victims? Twenty-five years after the Holocaust, Wiesenthal asked leading intellectuals what they would have done in his place. Collected into one volume, their responses became one of the most enduring documents of Holocaust literature and a touchstone of interfaith dialogue. This new edition of The Sunflower, issued in honor of the twentieth anniversary of it's publication in the United States, brings together the voices of a new generation of thinkers, including Robert Coles, Matthew Fox, Arthur Hertzberg, Harold Kushner, Dith Pran, the Dalai Lama, Dennis Prager, Tzvetan Todorov, and Harry Wu. Their answers reflect the teachings of their diverse beliefs, and remind us that Wiesenthal's question is not limited only to events of the past.US

From Our Editors

Robert Coles, The Dalai Lama, Matthew Fox, Mary Gordon, Harold S. Kushner, Albert Speer, Desmond Tutu, and 47 others respond to Wiesenthal's famous question: "Can evil be forgiven?"