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Father, Forgive Them: A Review of Simon Wiesenthal’s The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness

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  1. Introduction
  2. The decision that plagues Wiesenthal
  3. The Dali Lama and Desmond Tutu
  4. The reluctance of either side to find a point of contention
  5. Conclusion

There is a basic purpose to the literature of Holocaust survivors: to bare witness. Many believe they survived to perform such a duty, to fulfill such a debt to those who did not. As witnesses, they record living history, for they record the history of their own lives. But what happens when a witness does more than witness? When a witness not only questions the Holocaust, but questions the state of the world? In The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness, Simon Wiesenthal questions. And the world answers.

[...] It transcends also the genre of memoir: it is a study of human spirituality and thought, filed accordingly under religion/philosophy. Since the first publication of The Sunflower, hundreds of individuals have answered Wiesenthal's question. In the second English-language edition of the book, fifty-three responses are included in the symposium. These selections can be divided into three main categories: names that every reader will recognize, names that no reader will recognize, and names that readers with a background in Holocaust studies alone will truly appreciate. [...]


[...] Father, Forgive Them: A Review of Simon Wiesenthal's The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness There is a basic purpose to the literature of Holocaust survivors: to bare witness. Many believe they survived to perform such a duty, to fulfill such a debt to those who did not. As witnesses, they record living history, for they record the history of their own lives. But what happens when a witness does more than witness? When a witness not only questions the Holocaust, but questions the state of the world? [...]

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