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The Sunflower On The Possibilities And Limits Of Forgiveness By Simon Wiesenthal

1788 words - 7 pages

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 it allows for someone to be at peace with themselves knowing they no longer have to live with hatred. It also allows someone to begin a new life with new gained experience and different perspectives on life. Forgiveness is necessary from a moral perspective because it allows someone to get rid of hatred and find peace within him or herself to move on with their lives.
In Simon Wiesenthal’s The Sunflower on the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness the author is asked to fulfill a dying solider last wish to forgive him because of the crimes he has committed against the Jewish people of the Holocaust. When Wiesenthal is asked for forgiveness, he simply leaves the room. Wiesenthal states that the encounter with the dying man left “a heavy burden” (Wiesenthal 55) on him. The confessions in which he admitted to have “profoundly disturbed [him]” (Wiesenthal 55). As Wiesenthal tries to make sense of what he has encountered he begins to make excuses for why the man might have done what he did. He says the dying man had no time left to “repent or atone” (Wiesenthal 55) for what he had done. If Wiesenthal could begin the process of forgiving a man who is responsible for hundreds upon hundreds of murders, who is to say anyone else cannot? 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...

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