While I agree completely with Robert Coles, “Only the sufferer is qualified to make the decision”, I’ve been asked to state my opinion and while I am unqualified to do so, it would be disrespectful to Simon Wiesenthal if I declined the opportunity.
As Alan L. Berger stated in his excerpt, Judaism has two types of sins: Beyen Adam Le-Makom (human v God) and Beyen Adam Le-Adam (human v human). The Judaism religion believes that Beyen Adam Le-Mankon is an unforgiveable sin and many believers live by the motto, “I may not forgive one who has taken the life of another” as Berger explains on page 119. It is shocking that Simon, a follower of Judaism, did not initially walk away once he determined Karl’s intentions.
If that is not reasoning enough for a believer of Judaism, Karl additionally perpetuated the Nazi stereotype by saying, “Bring me a Jew, any Jew will do.” Karl also stated “I must tell you this horrible deed – tell you because . . . you are a Jew.” His words proved he feels a Jew is an undifferentiated mass rather than individuals with souls, feelings, aspirations, and emotions. (Berger, page 119).
Robert Cole also points out another insincerity. Karl feels repenting to Simon is repenting to the entire Jewish race: an impossible task. Rebecca Goldstein and Rodger Kamenetz also agree that Karl does not give the individualism that Simon deserves. Kamenetz believes that Karl has “not moved past the deeper sickness of his soul.” (page 181). He continues saying. . . . “You were not addressed as a person. You were addressed, from his perspective, as Jew. Not as a Jew, a Jewish person, as an individual with a life, a history, a heartbreak of your own, but merely as Jew. For his purpose, any Jew would do.”
Moreover, Karl does not deserve any pity or sympathy because he put himself in the situation; he was a criminal by choice. As Arthur Hertzberg states on page 166. . . “This young man had not drifted into being a...