The Sunflower Essay

1400 Words Aug 6th, 2014 6 Pages
George Makreas
Prof. Christopher Dowling
ENG 100 T-TH

The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness

The Holocaust will always be remembered by the world as a period where human evil was most prevalent, and where millions of innocent lives were taken in cold blood. It doesn’t matter whether your ancestors were involved, or if you were around to experience it, you only have to be human in order to feel for all of the people who were affected. Over the years studies like Milgram’s Obedience Experiment, and Zimbardo’s Stanford Prison Study have shed light on some of the basic roots of human evil, but these roots are not enough to pave the way for forgiveness of the events that occurred. Simon Wiesenthal’s
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What did he ever do to deserve a peaceful death? Those who died in the gas chambers perished in agony. Those who were herded into concentration camps were worked and starved to death. Don't those people, rather than Karl, deserve a peaceful death? The fact that Karl even asks for “any Jew” shows that he still does not regard a human for a human, and still sees Jews as beneath him. Karl wants a chance at something that Simon is most likely going to be deprived of, which is something that cannot be willingly done. Simon is merely being asked to play God so that he can die in peace while Simon's friends and family are dying all around him at the hand of one of his companions, a hand that could be Karl's, and most likely would be if he was not hurt.

The age range of the people targeted in Nazi Germany did not only limit itself to adults, but also took the lives of many children and babies. While many children were killed at the hands of the Nazi’s, Karl tells us about a specific situation that is impacting his repenting to Simon. On page 42 he explains of a situation where they packed a barn full of Jews and set it ablaze “I saw a man with a small child in his arms. His clothes were alight. By his side stood a woman, doubtless the mother of the child. With his free hand the man covered the child’s eyes…then he jumped into the street. Seconds later the mother followed. Then from the other windows fell burning bodies…we shot…” Although he goes on to express

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