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The Sunflower
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The Sunflower

On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness

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While imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp, Simon Wiesenthal was taken one day from his work detail to the bedside of a dying member of the S.S. Haunted by the crimes in which he had participated, the soldier wanted to confess to and obtain absolution from - a Jew. This unusual encounter and the moral dilemma it posed raise fundamental questions about the limits and possibilities of forgiveness. Must we, can we forgive the repentant criminal? Can we forgive crimes committed against others? What do we owe the victims? Twenty-five years after the Holocaust, Wiesenthal asked leading intellectuals what they would have done in his place. Collected into one volume, their responses became a classic of Holocaust literature and a touchstone of interfaith dialogue. This revised edition of The Sunflower includes 46 responses (10 from the original volume) from prominent theologians, political leaders, writers, jurists, psychiatrists, human rights activists, Holocaust survivors, and victims of attempted genocides in Bosnia, Cambodia, China, and Tibet. Their answers reflect the teachings of their diverse beliefs - Jewish, Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, secular, and agnostic - and remind us that Wiesenthal's question is not limited to events of the past.

  • By Simon Wiesenthal
  • Publisher: Schocken/Random House

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