The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness

This book is extraordinary. SimonWiesenthal spent his life hunting down Nazi war criminals in order to bring them to trial. He has been honoured by the governments of Italy, the Netherlands, Israel, and the United States. He was born in the city of Buczaz in the Austro-Hungarian Empire and studied in the Czech Republic. He was working in an architectural office in Lvov when the Germans invaded. From 199.

This book is extraordinary. SimonWiesenthal spent his life hunting down Nazi war criminals in order to bring them to trial. He has been honoured by the governments of Italy, the Netherlands, Israel, and the United States. He was born in the city of Buczaz in the Austro-Hungarian Empire and studied in the Czech Republic. He was working in an architectural office in Lvov when the Germans invaded. He was imprisoned in several ghettos and concentration camps. The Sunflower is not about the Holocaust per se, but begins with an essay by Wiesenthal in which he recounts his experience of being taken to the bedside of a dying SS officer, who insisted on telling his story of confession. The biographical account of the Nazi, from his childhood through joining the Hitler Youth, the SS, and the detailing of the atrocity he committed shortly before being fatally wounded by an exploding shell, is interspersed with parts of his own story. In 1969 he wrote a story and asked leading intellectuals to consider what they would have done in his place. He walked away when the dying man asked for his forgiveness. Should n’t I have forgiven him ? This is a profound moral question that challenges the conscience of the reader of this episode, just as much as it once challenged my heart and my mind. There are people who can appreciate my dilemma and endorse my attitude, and there are people who will condemn me for refusing to ease the last moment of a murderer. The question of forgiveness is the crux of the matter. Forgiveness is an act of volition, and only the sufferers are qualified to make the decision. After reading this sad and tragic episode in my life, you can mentally change places with me and ask yourself the important question, “ What would I have done ? ” It always seemed to me inhuman and a travesty of justice if the executioner asked the victim to forgive. The very evil it wants to alleviate is perpetuated by the easy forgiveness of such crimes. They are all written with respect and seem to have had a lot of thought put into the crafting as well as the issues themselves. According to Jewish tradition, God can only forgive sins against Himself, not against man. I believe that God as the Life in All Things is personally involved in everything, even though he is under the authority of justice. To be forgiven is a miracle. When God chooses to grant it, not when we order it up, it comes from God. In the Amidah, a Jew prays three times a day for God ‘s forgiveness. To say that God forgives is not a statement about God. God ‘s forgiveness is something that happens inside us, not inside God, freeing us from the shame of the past so that we can be different people, choosing and acting differently in the future. The previous quote said that God can forgive. All sins committed against humans are sins against God. I say that all sins are sins against God because they offend the goodness that God created. We do n’t do for another person what we do for ourselves. It shows a letting go of the sense of grievance and a letting go of the role of the victim. I do n’t want you to define me as a victim. I like this. It has strength. Adam is like one of us, knowing the difference between right and wrong. Humans become Godlike after they have sinned. Maimonides reads the verse differently. Adam is unique. He knows the difference between right and wrong. Humans use their own intelligence and reason to distinguish good and evil. The writer goes on to talk about forgiveness. I have always maintained that the Fall was meant to be. I need to do some research. The man had a catholic education. He was a server in the church when he was a boy. Is it not possible for a child to grow up to be an SS man if they do n’t have a Christian education ? Does the habit of worshiping a Master, a Master depicted in human form yet seen to be omnipotent, make it easy to accept a Fuhrer ? Reconciliation is the public form of forgiveness. repentance, contrition, acceptance of responsibility, healing, and finally reunion are some of the stages of reconciliation. Forgiveness is impossible without the proof of remorse and repentance of the sinner, according to some of the other writers. There is more to forgiveness than confession and remorse. Being forgiven does n’t mean there will be no punishment. There is nothing unforgivable in the story of the Crucifixion, and the power of the message is in knowing that. Faith understands that sins are forgiven. Forgiveness is on hold if the sinner does n’t work towards reconciliation. The repentance and desire to pay restitution are made clear by the actions of the repentant sinner. The act of forgiveness is when the victim lets go. The act of forgiveness is done by the sinners in the process of reconciliation. Hope of true reconciliation and true forgiveness is a necessity for there ever to be.

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