Coles points out that in asking what the reader might have done, Simon is in fact interrogating himself, challenging his own moral life. He then asks that his readers challenge their own moral life as well. Coles, for his own part, states that he would likely have turned from Karl in a “tearful rage” and would have prayed that God would forgive Karl. But he acknowledges that no one can bear judgment on Simon for his decisions.
Coles picks up on Simon’s crisis of faith, but quickly turns to answering the question at hand. Though he leaves his own religious beliefs relatively ambiguous, he neither leaves forgiveness to the victims nor argues that he can take it on himself, instead leaving responsibility to God.
Coles points out one additional idea, which is to take to heart what might be Simon’s actual intent for the book: that society should never forget what happened to him and millions of other Jews, and that their experience should become a moral legacy.