The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness

The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness

by

Simon Wiesenthal

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on The Sunflower can help.

Eli Character Analysis

A six-year-old boy with whom Simon had become acquainted in the Lemberg ghetto before Simon was moved to the camps. Eli has a keen sense of survival, picking up crumbs from windowsills that had been left for the birds. He stays home on the day other children are taken to “kindergarten,” where in fact they are sent to the gas chambers. After Karl tells Simon the story of the burning family, Simon dreams of Eli and is haunted by the thought of him as a bloody heap.
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Eli Character Timeline in The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness

The timeline below shows where the character Eli 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
Religion and Moral Truth Theme Icon
Simon remembers a boy he had not been able to forget as well: Eli, a six-year-old who had lived with him in the Lemberg Ghetto. Eli lived near the... (full context)
Anti-Semitism and Dehumanization Theme Icon
Eli had miraculously survived many of the raids on the children, whom Germans viewed as useless... (full context)
Anti-Semitism and Dehumanization Theme Icon
Eli would often go up to the gate because German policemen would give him something to... (full context)
Anti-Semitism and Dehumanization Theme Icon
...however, three SS trucks arrived and took all the children away to the gas chambers. Eli had stayed home that day, however. He was the last Jewish child that Simon had... (full context)
Remembrance Theme Icon
...explains that five people had been killed that day, including a boy. Simon thinks of Eli. (full context)
Forgiveness and Compassion Theme Icon
Religion and Moral Truth Theme Icon
Remembrance Theme Icon
...of death, which he describes as “logical, certain, and irrefutable.” That night, he dreams of Eli being brought to him. He tries to take the boy, but he only finds a... (full context)
Forgiveness and Compassion Theme Icon
Religion and Moral Truth Theme Icon
...debate is a luxury that they cannot afford. That night, Simon does not dream of Eli. The next day, they return to their regular work at Eastern Railway. (full context)
André Stein
Forgiveness and Compassion Theme Icon
Silence, Guilt, and Resistance Theme Icon
...of those who were dead or close to death, as Karl’s story reminded him of Eli, his mother, and his friends. Yet, he still listened to Karl, which served as an... (full context)