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The Sunflower (And Expanded)

The Sunflower (And Expanded)

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While imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp, Simon Wiesenthal was taken one day from his work detail to the bedside of a dying member of the SS. Haunted by the crimes in which he had participated, the soldier wanted to confess to--and obtain absolution from--a Jew. Faced with the choice between compassion and justice, silence and truth, Wiesenthal said nothing.; ; But even years after the way had ended, he wondered: Had he done the right thing? What would you have done in his place? ^In this important book, fifty-three distinguished men and women respond to Wiesenthal's questions. They are theologians, political leaders, writers, jurists, psychiatrists, human rights activists, Holocaust survivors, and victims of attempted genocides in Bosnia, Cambodia, China and Tibet. Their responses, as varied as their experiences of the world, remind us that Wiesenthal's questions are not limited to events of the past.; ; Often surprising and always thought provoking, The S

- Publisher 1. "In his confession there was true repentance," writes Wiesenthal (p. 53). Not all of the commentators agree with him. Many of them think Karl was angling for "cheap grace," and that his remorse exists only because he finds himself facing death. Which point of view do you agree with? Do you think, with literary critic Tzvetan Todorov (p. 251), that the very fact of Karl's expressing remorse makes him exceptional, and therefore deserving of respect?2. Eva Fleischner found that almost without exception, her Christian students "come out in favor of forgiveness, while the Jewish students feel that Simon did the right thing by not granting the dying man's wish" (p. 139). Do you feel that the Christian and Jewish writers in this volume are similarly divided? Do their differences stem from first-hand experience, or from different notions of sin and repentance, as Dennis Prager suggests? Do any writers in this book seriously suggest forgiveness - and why? Do you believe, with political theorist Herbert Marcuse, that "the easy forgiving of such crimes perpetuates the very evil it wants to alleviate" (p. 198)?3. Did the mother of the SS man, by her passivity, acquiesce in her son's crimes? Wiesenthal says that people who wanted "only peace and quiet" were "the mounting blocks by which the criminals climbed to power and kept it" (p. 91). Most of the authors in this volume believe that Wiesenthal did the right thing in not telling her about her son's crimes. Psychotherapist Andre Stein, however, disagrees, saying that "Simon had a responsibility toward past and future victims to tell her the truth. And Karl's mother had the responsibility of rising above her personal pain and telling the world what her son had done" (p. 240). Which point of view do you agree with?4. "I asked myself if it was only the Nazis who had persecuted us. Was it not just as wicked for people to look on quietly and without protest at human beings enduring such shocking humiliation?" (p. 57). Some of the commentators believe that those who were following orders were just as guilty as those who gave them; others, like Dith Pran, draw a moral line between followers and leaders. Would you hold them equally responsible?5. "Without forgetting there can be no forgiving," says retired Israeli Supreme Court Justice Moshe Bejski (p. 116); the Dalai Lama, on the other hand, believes that one must forgive but not necessarily forget. Do you think it is possible to forgive and not forget? How would you differentiate forgiveness and reconciliation?6. Wiesenthal's friend Josek tells him that no one can offer forgiveness on behalf of another victim. Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel writes, "No one can forgive crimes committed against other people" (p. 165). Wiesenthal is not so sure. "Aren't we a single community with the same destiny, and one must answer for the other?" he asks (p. 65). It is a question echoed by the Catholic writer Christopher Hollis when he posits that insofar as Karl's crime was part of "a general campaign of genocide, the author was as much a victim--or likely to be soon a victim--of that campaign as was the child, and, being a sufferer, had therefore the right to forgive" (p. 169). Which point of view do you find more persuasive, Hollis's or Heschel's?7. Many of the Symposium contributors believe that even as he lay dying, Karl saw the Jews as objects or subhumans, and that his wish to confess to a Jew, any Jew, and a concentration camp prisoner at that, showed that he had learned nothing from his experiences. Do you agree with this?8. Why does Wiesenthal dream about the little boy Eli (p. 68)?9. "There are many kinds of silence," Wiesenthal states (p. 97). What messages, positive and negative, does Wiesenthal's own silence convey? What does it tell the dying man? What does it

- Publisher

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About "The Sunflower (And Expanded)"

While imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp, Simon Wiesenthal was taken one day from his work detail to the bedside of a dying member of the SS. Haunted by the crimes in which he had participated, the soldier wanted to confess to--and obtain absolution from--a Jew. Faced with the choice between compassion and justice, silence and truth, Wiesenthal said nothing.; ; But even years after the way had ended, he wondered: Had he done the right thing? What would you have done in his place? ^In this important book, fifty-three distinguished men and women respond to Wiesenthal's questions. They are theologians, political leaders, writers, jurists, psychiatrists, human rights activists, Holocaust survivors, and victims of attempted genocides in Bosnia, Cambodia, China and Tibet. Their responses, as varied as their experiences of the world, remind us that Wiesenthal's questions are not limited to events of the past.; ; Often surprising and always thought provoking, The S
- Publisher

1. "In his confession there was true repentance," writes Wiesenthal (p. 53). Not all of the commentators agree with him. Many of them think Karl was angling for "cheap grace," and that his remorse exists only because he finds himself facing death. Which point of view do you agree with? Do you think, with literary critic Tzvetan Todorov (p. 251), that the very fact of Karl's expressing remorse makes him exceptional, and therefore deserving of respect?2. Eva Fleischner found that almost without exception, her Christian students "come out in favor of forgiveness, while the Jewish students feel that Simon did the right thing by not granting the dying man's wish" (p. 139). Do you feel that the Christian and Jewish writers in this volume are similarly divided? Do their differences stem from first-hand experience, or from different notions of sin and repentance, as Dennis Prager suggests? Do any writers in this book seriously suggest forgiveness - and why? Do you believe, with political theorist Herbert Marcuse, that "the easy forgiving of such crimes perpetuates the very evil it wants to alleviate" (p. 198)?3. Did the mother of the SS man, by her passivity, acquiesce in her son's crimes? Wiesenthal says that people who wanted "only peace and quiet" were "the mounting blocks by which the criminals climbed to power and kept it" (p. 91). Most of the authors in this volume believe that Wiesenthal did the right thing in not telling her about her son's crimes. Psychotherapist Andre Stein, however, disagrees, saying that "Simon had a responsibility toward past and future victims to tell her the truth. And Karl's mother had the responsibility of rising above her personal pain and telling the world what her son had done" (p. 240). Which point of view do you agree with?4. "I asked myself if it was only the Nazis who had persecuted us. Was it not just as wicked for people to look on quietly and without protest at human beings enduring such shocking humiliation?" (p. 57). Some of the commentators believe that those who were following orders were just as guilty as those who gave them; others, like Dith Pran, draw a moral line between followers and leaders. Would you hold them equally responsible?5. "Without forgetting there can be no forgiving," says retired Israeli Supreme Court Justice Moshe Bejski (p. 116); the Dalai Lama, on the other hand, believes that one must forgive but not necessarily forget. Do you think it is possible to forgive and not forget? How would you differentiate forgiveness and reconciliation?6. Wiesenthal's friend Josek tells him that no one can offer forgiveness on behalf of another victim. Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel writes, "No one can forgive crimes committed against other people" (p. 165). Wiesenthal is not so sure. "Aren't we a single community with the same destiny, and one must answer for the other?" he asks (p. 65). It is a question echoed by the Catholic writer Christopher Hollis when he posits that insofar as Karl's crime was part of "a general campaign of genocide, the author was as much a victim--or likely to be soon a victim--of that campaign as was the child, and, being a sufferer, had therefore the right to forgive" (p. 169). Which point of view do you find more persuasive, Hollis's or Heschel's?7. Many of the Symposium contributors believe that even as he lay dying, Karl saw the Jews as objects or subhumans, and that his wish to confess to a Jew, any Jew, and a concentration camp prisoner at that, showed that he had learned nothing from his experiences. Do you agree with this?8. Why does Wiesenthal dream about the little boy Eli (p. 68)?9. "There are many kinds of silence," Wiesenthal states (p. 97). What messages, positive and negative, does Wiesenthal's own silence convey? What does it tell the dying man? What does it
- Publisher

Meet the Author

Simon Wiesenthal

Wiesenthal has been honored by the governments of Italy, The Netherlands, Israel and the U.S. for his work in idenifying Nazi war criminals.

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Product Details

Product Details
  • Catalogue Code 250321
  • Product Code 0805210601
  • EAN 9780805210606
  • Pages 304
  • Department Academic
  • Category Christian Worldview
  • Sub-Category Social Issues
  • Publisher Schocken Books
  • Publication Date Apr 1998
  • Sales Rank #23317
  • Dimensions 202 x 131 x 15 mm
  • Weight 0.276kg

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