The Sunflower on the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness by Simon Wiesenthal

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Forgiveness is to stop feeling angry, to stop blaming someone for the way they made a person feel, and stop feeling victims of whatever wickedness was directed towards them. Is forgiveness necessary? Can everyone be forgiven despite the circumstances? If forgiveness depends on the situation, then is it necessary at all? Does forgiveness allow someone to continue their life in peace? Is forgiving someone who causes physical pain to someone, as a pose to forgiving someone who murdered a member of the family the same? If someone can forgive one of these acts so easily can the other be forgiven just as easy? Forgiveness allows for someone to come to terms with what they have experienced. In the case of murder forgiveness is necessary because …show more content…
The conversation between Wiesenthal and Bolek is another example of forgiveness is necessary. When Wiesenthal tells Bolek of what he experienced in the dying SS man’s room, Bolek says he describes it as a man who showed signs of “repentance, genuine, sincere repentance” (Wiesenthal 82). He means that Wiesenthal believes the dying SS man’s apology was sincere. He believes that Wiesenthal seen his apology as genuine and that he deserved the “mercy of forgiveness” (Wiesenthal 82). Wiesenthal spots a sunflower behind a bush, he takes it as the sunflower has come to “remind [him]” (Wiesenthal 84) of what he describes as a “feeling of duty” (Wiesenthal 84). Wiesenthal “duty” (Wiesenthal 85) and his planning on visiting the mother of the deceased SS man show that he is beginning to realize that he needs to come to terms with his experienced at the hospital in Lemberg. He visits her for closure and ultimately to decide within himself if he should finally forgive the man responsible for the murder of hundreds of innocent Jewish people.
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
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