The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness

The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness

by

Simon Wiesenthal

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Simon’s old friend who lives with him in the concentration camp. Arthur is cynical and bitter towards the Germans, and like Simon, his faith in God has been damaged. For this reason, he sometimes becomes angry with Josek, whose faith remains strong even in the face of such widespread atrocity. However, Arthur hopes that someday the Germans will answer for their crimes, even if the Jews have all perished. When Simon recounts his experience with Karl to Arthur, Arthur agrees that he did the correct thing in not forgiving Karl. Simon writes that Arthur died in the camps from an epidemic of typhus.

Arthur Quotes in The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness

The The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness quotes below are all either spoken by Arthur or refer to Arthur. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Forgiveness and Compassion Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Schocken Books edition of The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness published in 1969.
Book 1: The Sunflower Quotes

It is impossible to believe anything in a world that has ceased to regard man as man, which repeatedly “proves” that one is no longer a man.

Related Characters: Simon (speaker), Karl, Arthur
Page Number: 9
Explanation and Analysis:

One really begins to think that God is on leave. Otherwise the present state of things wouldn’t be possible […] What the old woman had said in no way shocked me, she had simply stated what I had long felt to be true.

Related Characters: Simon (speaker), Arthur, Josek
Page Number: 9
Explanation and Analysis:

“Why,” I asked, “is there no general law of guilt and expiation? Has every religion its own ethics, its own answers?”

“Probably, yes.”

Related Characters: Simon (speaker), Arthur (speaker), Karl, Josek
Page Number: 67
Explanation and Analysis:

You, who have just read this sad and tragic episode in my life, can mentally change places with me and ask yourself the crucial question, “What would I have done?”

Related Characters: Simon (speaker), Karl, Arthur
Page Number: 98
Explanation and Analysis:
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Arthur Character Timeline in The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness

The timeline below shows where the character Arthur appears in The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Book 1: The Sunflower
Anti-Semitism and Dehumanization Theme Icon
...the kitchen as a “hunting-ground” to injure prisoners. He tries to remember something his friend Arthur told him the night before. During the previous day, two of the men from their... (full context)
Religion and Moral Truth Theme Icon
...would never be found together.” Simon describes his group, which consists of his old friend Arthur and a Jew named Josek, whom he describes as sensitive and deeply religious. Simon is... (full context)
Religion and Moral Truth Theme Icon
...entirely unaware of the bleak reality of life in the camp. On one occasion, Simon, Arthur, and Josek nearly got into an argument over this. They had been listening to the... (full context)
Religion and Moral Truth Theme Icon
Arthur interrupted Josek, saying that the Jews may have been made out of this earth, but... (full context)
Religion and Moral Truth Theme Icon
Simon returns to the memory of the previous night. Arthur had shaken him out of his half-slumber to tell him what an old woman had... (full context)
Remembrance Theme Icon
The next morning, Simon asks Arthur what he had been saying about God the night before. Simon explains to the reader... (full context)
Anti-Semitism and Dehumanization Theme Icon
...corporal comes over and counts off fifty men. Simon is one of the men selected; Arthur is left behind. These men are escorted by six askaris (Russian deserters who assisted the... (full context)
Remembrance Theme Icon
When the prisoners arrive back at the camp, Simon sees Arthur and Josek, and joins them for dinner. Arthur notes that Simon looks depressed. Simon looks... (full context)
Forgiveness and Compassion Theme Icon
Simon begins to explain what had happened earlier that day, but worries that Arthur will judge him for caring more about Karl than the five men who had been... (full context)
Forgiveness and Compassion Theme Icon
At the end of Simon’s story, Arthur exclaims, “One less!” Simon is slightly disturbed by the reaction. Another man who had been... (full context)
Forgiveness and Compassion Theme Icon
Religion and Moral Truth Theme Icon
At that point, Arthur returns. He tells Simon that even if he had forgiven Karl with superhuman kindness, Simon... (full context)
Forgiveness and Compassion Theme Icon
Religion and Moral Truth Theme Icon
Arthur shakes Simon awake to stop his screams. Simon says he does not want to return... (full context)
Forgiveness and Compassion Theme Icon
The next morning, Simon and Arthur assemble for roll call. The prisoners are split up as they had been the day... (full context)
Forgiveness and Compassion Theme Icon
...rest of the day he works in a trance. That night, he tells Josek and Arthur of Karl’s death. They are not particularly interested, but tell Simon that he was right... (full context)
Forgiveness and Compassion Theme Icon
Religion and Moral Truth Theme Icon
Arthur tells Simon to stop obsessing over what happened, particularly because he could be killed for... (full context)
Anti-Semitism and Dehumanization Theme Icon
...shot but I was saved by a miracle,” but explains no further. During these years, Arthur had died in Simon’s arms during an epidemic of typhus. Adam was sent to the... (full context)
Christopher Hollis
Forgiveness and Compassion Theme Icon
Religion and Moral Truth Theme Icon
Anti-Semitism and Dehumanization Theme Icon
Hollis addresses the arguments made by Arthur and Josek: that Simon could not forgive sins committed against someone else. Hollis argues that... (full context)