The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness

The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness


Simon Wiesenthal

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The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness: Joseph Telushkin Summary & Analysis

Telushkin picks up on certain statements Karl makes, which imply that he is suffering more than the Jews he killed, or that the Jews were not “as guilty” as he was. In light of these statements, Karl’s sincere confession suddenly becomes slippery.
Karl’s statement that the Jews are not “as guilty” as he is becomes one of his most questionable, and Telushkin picks up on it as evidence that he sees the Jews as responsible for their own suffering.
Anti-Semitism and Dehumanization Theme Icon
Telushkin agrees with Simon’s decision not to forgive Karl. Even if Karl wanted to die with a cleaner conscience, what had he done to earn it other than desiring it? He believes it is the responsibility of religion to teach people that they should repent evil before, not after, they commit it.
Like Dennis Prager in his response, Telushkin points out a tenet of Christianity that puts an emphasis on repentance and forgiveness rather than on preventing evil.
Forgiveness and Compassion Theme Icon
Religion and Moral Truth Theme Icon