All posts tagged Holocaust

  • Dear Mr. Wiesenthal

    Simon Wiesenthal has a haunting story to tell. And an even more haunting question to ask. He tells his story and asks his question in his famous book, The Sunflower.

    Simon Wiesenthal is an Austrian Jew imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp during WWII. As the book opens, Wiesenthal is part of a work detail being taken from the concentration camp to do cleanup work in a makeshift field hospital near the Eastern Front. As they are marched from the prison camp to the hospital they come across a cemetery for German soldiers. On each grave is a sunflower. Wiesenthal writes,

    I envied the dead soldiers. Each had a sunflower to connect him with the living world, and butterflies to visit his grave. For me there would be no sunflower. I would be buried in a mass grave, where corpses would be piled on top of me. No sunflower would ever bring light into my darkness, and no butterflies would dance above my dreadful tomb.

    While working at the field hospital a nurse orders Wiesenthal to follow her. He is taken into a room where a lone SS soldier lay dying. The SS soldier is a twenty-two year old German named Karl Seidl. Karl has asked the nurse to “bring him a Jew.” He wants to make his dying confession and he wants to make it to a Jew.
    Read more