Dear Simon Wiesenthal,
After reading The Sunflower and having mixed emotions during this book I made my decision. “What would I have done?” I would have done the same thing you did. Just walk away from all of it. I believe it would be a tough situation to think about and have a response to right then and there. Like Deborah says in her essay, "The question to be asked is not should the prisoner have forgiven the SS man but could the prisoner have forgiven him?" This is obviously saying that no one has the right to forgive anyone on behalf of another. This request brings up several moral questions like, Is it alright to forgive someone who has done no harm to you? Can a person forgive someone on behalf of others? Can anyone really forgive anyone else, or is forgiveness in the hands of a higher power? The soldier asked you for his forgiveness just because you are a Jew, and in the soldiers mind, all Jews are equal. Even though you weren’t burned alive, shot dead, or in any other heinous acts in the concentration camps. How could his forgiveness, had he granted it, put the soldier at rest about the hundreds of Jews he has been a party to the murder of?
I think you had no right to forgive the soldier. The soldier didn’t commit a crime against you personally, and for you to forgive him would have been an empty phrase with no meaning. The soldier should have asked for forgiveness between himself and all the Jews he murdered.
I like that Sven included in his essay what he went through in Bosnia. I agree with Sven that Simon made a good decision not forgiving the soldier. Just as Sven asks in his essay, "Who is entitled to speak on behalf of the victims?" Simon didn’t have much of a say just because they didn’t torture him. Just like Sven says, Simon was unsure if his response to the dying soldier was okay. It...
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