In The Sunflower, the main character Simon Wiesenthal, a Holocaust survivor, was faced with the situation in which Karl, a Nazi was asking for his forgiveness. Wiesenthal denied him. I am not a Jew, and I also did not endure the pain of the Holocaust. I believe it is a tough situation to think about and to respond to right then and there. I never will be fully able to understand what it would feel like to be in that situation, but if I were, these are my reasons for my choice not to forgive Karl as well.
Karl made his own choices. He voluntarily joined the S.S. to become a part of the army. He was the one who decided to shoot the family that jumped out of the window, even though he didn’t have to. He was ordered, but who really would have …show more content…
Karl simply tried to put his burden on Wiesenthal, a human being already burdened with enough pain.
Another reason for not forgiving would be the fact that Karl was not asking for Wiesenthal’s forgiveness but for forgiveness from all the Jews. He didn’t commit a crime against Wiesenthal personally, and for Wiesenthal to forgive him would have been an empty phrase with no meaning. Karl asked Wiesenthal for his forgiveness just because he is a Jew, and in the soldier’s mind at this time, all Jews are equal. He wanted to be forgiven for the family he shot, the hundreds he burned, the millions of deaths he contributed to. How could a single human forgive on the behalf of 6 million dead lives? I would not be able to. Wiesenthal was not able to. But what if I were to forgive? I would have forgotten the families falling from the windows and the countless other deaths, just to forgive the man. It would have all been a lie and saving Karl, the man who just want forgiveness to die without guilt, would not be worth a lie.
For every Nazi that died, how many Jews died? How many children died? And Karl wants peace of mind! I would not lie to the man so he could die without guilt. I would tell him that his actions disgusted me to a point that I thought my stomach was going to come up my throat. I have strong sickening emotions in response to this story. Karl made the choice; he’ll face the consequences. But at the same time, he
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The SS soldier is full of guilt and regret for the murders he committed against the Jews and wants to erase that guilt before death. That is when he tries to force forgiveness out of Wiesenthal all at once because he knows he doesn’t have a lot of time left. Lawrence L. Langer, a professor at Simmons College in Boston and a responder to The Sunflower, believes that, “The SS man’s request betrays his utter failure to understand the nature of his crime: it seems a desperate last gesture to escape his guilt” (Langer 188). Langer’s point is that the soldier rushed his final actions to acquire forgiveness from someone he never even met before to die in peace. By doing this, the soldier shows that he may have not been that sincere in trying to apologize for his actions and he was only trying to erase the guilt and regret that he
Vince Lombardi, an American football player, and a coach, once said, “Leaders aren’t born, they are made. And they are made just like anything else, through hard work.” With these words, Lombardi highlights that people are nurtured to become a leader and a follower. For instance, Lombardi asserts that a person is trained, whether to be a leader, or a follower, through eagerness and determination. The book, The Sunflower, written by Simon Wiesenthal, an author and a Jewish holocaust survivor, who focuses on one of the most controversial topics during and after World War II, forgiveness. In this book, Weisenthal talked about a questionable case in which Karl, an SS soldier who murdered plentiful of people, asked Weisenthal for forgiveness for all the pain he had done towards all the people that were affected by him. When it comes to the topic of whether people are born to become leaders or followers or is one trained by the environment, most people will readily agree that people are conditioned to become a leader or a follower, where this agreement usually ends, however, is on the question of, “What makes a person a leader?” Whereas some are convinced that people are natural born leaders. Becoming a leader consists with a few reasons such as developed leadership skills, the bystander apathy, and the diffusion of responsibility.
He was finally free, no joy filled his heart but abandonment was drowning it. How dangerous is indifference to humankind as it pertains to suffering and the need for conscience understanding when people are faced with unjust behaviors? Elie Wiesel is an award winning author and novelist who has endured and survived hardships. One of the darkest times in history, a massacre of over six million Jews, the Holocaust and Hitler himself. After the Holocaust he went on and wrote the internationally acclaimed memoir “Night,” in which he spoke out against persecution and injustice across the world. In the compassionate yet pleading speech, ¨Perils of Indifference,¨ Elie Wiesel analyzes the injustices that himself and others endured during the twentieth century, as well as the hellish acts of the Holocaust through effective rhetorical choices.
“I cannot recognize the verdict of guilty. . . . It was my misfortune to become entangled in these atrocities. But these misdeeds did not happen according to my wishes. It was not my wish to slay people. . . . Once again I would stress that I am guilty of having been obedient, having subordinated myself to my official duties and the obligations of war service and my oath of allegiance and my oath of office, and in addition, once the war started, there was also martial law. . . . I did not persecute Jews with avidity and passion. That is what
To sum things up in the Sunflower Karl wanted to forgive Simon and all the Jews but he didn’t respond to him. If I were Simon I would forgive Karl just to make him feel a little better before death... Then I again changed my opinion, to stage where I thought I would forgive him, but only by words, not actually in my mind. I changed my first opinion because of Josek, in the story he said one can forgive someone else only when the person did wrong to him, not to the
This is a matter of philosophical interpersonal forgiveness. Karl does not ask for God’s forgiveness, he simply asks for Simon’s. He is asking for there to be forgiveness granted between two people. What Simon feels is out of Karl’s control, but he can try his best to have Simon feel sorry for him. Despite who Karl is Simon does subconsciously feel some pity for the man as he waves off an irritating beetle and stays to hear the whole story. He also is able to imagine Karl as more of a real person after visiting Karl’s mother, seeing his photograph, and hearing what she thought of her son. His heart softens for Karl’s mother as he decides to not shatter her illusion of her angelic son, but he still fails to produce an answer for himself after leaving her.
It is in the end of this life that one seeks mercy and absolution for the next. Faced with the choice to absolve,condemn or remain silent, what would you do? This is the question poised to the reader of Simon Wiesenthal's “The Sunflower”. Many answered his question, philosophers, nuns, survivors of genocide and an ex nazi and each provide a different answer. Joining each different response is the act of forgiving, either giving or denying each provide a scale on the limits of forgiveness. What are my limits of forgiveness what would I have done?
In all actuality is forgiveness more of a resolution for one person to move forward, or does it fix the situation as a whole. The Sunflower, is a book that presents an idea of forgiveness and others opinions on what should happen in this case of events. Karl a dying SS man, brings in Simon a prisoner in a concentration camp to his hospital room, and asks Simon for forgiveness. Karl is guilt ridden for his killings during his time as a soldier, and wants to die confessing and seeking forgiveness from Simon. Simon however has never known Karl before their meeting, and Karl has never committed anything towards Simon. Simon struggles and is indecisive on whether he should forgive Karl or not. Saying sorry for murdering people during the Holocaust, is impossible given the damage of the event, but for Karl he searched for forgiveness through Simon. Simon being imprisoned in a concentration camp and brought to Karl, a dying SS man, Karl wanted to seek forgiveness for his actions. Being in the position Simon was in he was not entitled to take the apology on behalf of others, when he was not wronged against by Karl.
The soldier had asked the nurse to bring Simon to him because he felt the need to share his crimes with a Jewish person. He tells Simon, “I must tell you something dreadful… something inhuman”(Wiesenthal, 11). He shows remorse by calling his crime dreadful and inhuman, and all he wants is to tell Simon his story and be forgiven. The soldier is heavily wounded, and his face is covered in bandages. He tells Simon about how his own parents didn’t trust him as a child because he joined the Hitler youth. Even if his parents didn’t agree with what he was doing, they should always be able to trust their own son. When the war began, he volunteered for the SS, and the last words he heard his father say were that no good would come of it. He is truly a man deserving of pity in his final days.
His argument was that if this was true and Karl was not held responsible because he wanted forgiveness. Berger put shame on the Church, murderers and those who ask for forgiveness who could not forgive themselves. I agree with Berger because even though you are sorry and are guilty of do horrible crimes you must still pay for your sins. Also, even though Karl was a dying man and wanted forgiveness as a dying wish, you should not give him what he wants when it involves other groups of people.
He says, “ It is also a question of how much, how quickly, how easily can any individual forgive a mass murderer”(Sven 102). This quote emphasis that it is not that much easy to forgive someone. By forgiving them, they bring down the values of the crimes that were committed. If they bring down the value of the crimes, it would mean it was okay to kill a person’s family or friends. This would result in more crimes, murdering people's family and friends. This was another reason why Simon wouldn't forgive Karl because he didn’t want to make it seem like it was okay to be a part of mass genocide. Moshe Bejski discussed in his essay why people shouldn't be forgiven of their crimes. Forgiving someone is very hard even when regret is involved, “No matter what, regret never pardons crimes…” (Moshe 117). As he says, even after committing the crimes and thereafter regretting it, it’s not okay to forgive someone. Forgiveness is hard because it would betray the memory of millions of innocent victims who were murdered, and it would question the validity of what happen. Forgiving someone who committed the crimes would be a crime
The moral issues of the movie question the concepts of what we believe in to be right and wrong, sin and benevolence. In Karl's position did he even know what was right and what was wrong?
To understand how this could happen again we must first understand how it happened at all. One can not think of the Germans as hate based beings frothing at the teeth at the opportunity to kill a Jew. The German people were normal people, like you and I. It was
Edward H. Flannery states that The Sunflower presents “an important moral question” (Flannery 135). Flannery argues in favor of forgiveness. He states that Karl, the dying SS man, could had asked for forgiveness for what “he had done” (Flannery 137) not forgiveness on the behalf of others. Flannery states that