International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

Beauty, Truth and Forgiveness: All in the Eye of the Beholder and the Times
David E. Kaun

If you Google Simon Wiesenthal, The Sunflower, you will get more hits than Gone With the Wind, and almost as many as the Bible. Wiesenthal, at the time a Nazi prisoner, was confronted with a dying German solider, who asked for forgiveness. Wiesenthal rejected the request, and in The Sunflower, after telling his story, asks the reader what he would have done. The published responses to his question have been diverse, discussed and debated in an extensive literature. A brief review of this literature in provided. The core of the paper involves an analysis of three unique and contemporary surveys, two provided by the author, and a third dealing with the published responses of students at Boston Latin School. An interesting element of these recent results suggests that, contrary to both the notion that “time heals all wounds,” and to the strong evidence that Wiesenthal’s own response softened considerably over the years, the extent of forgiveness has clearly hardened since the initial responses to Wiesenthal’s question.

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