'The Sunflower' by Simon Wiesenthal: Book Review

As previously promised, this is the first of numerous reviews of Holocaust films and literature I intend to publish. I do hope these will help and encourage you to take a look for yourselves.

About the Author
Simon Wiesenthal was born in what was formerly Austria-Hungary in 1908. He spent a total of four and a half years of his life in concentration camps, including Plaszow, Mauthausen and Janowska. After liberation, Wiesenthal came into the public form as a 'Nazi hunter', tracking down former Nazis and entering them into tribunals for war crimes and crimes against humanity. He also co-founded the Jewish Historical Documentation Centre in Austria. Wiesenthal died in 2005, at the grand age of 96.

About the Book
'The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness' was first published around 1970, with a second edition published in 1997 (which is the version that I own). The first 100 pages or so are prose of a true experience that Wiesenthal had. In 1943, whilst in Lemberg concentration camp, Wiesenthal was asked to go to the bedside of a dying Nazi soldier who had asked for "a Jew" to seek forgiveness from. Hence, he faced a moral dilemma - to forgive, or not to forgive?
I will not, of course, tell you what Wiesenthal did - that is up to you to read for yourself! - but will instead move on to the second half of the book, in which 53 different people give their response to the questions 'Did he do the right thing?' and 'What would I have done?' Those who answer include The Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, Dith Pran and Primo Levi, amongst Rabbis, theologians, psychotherapists, Holocaust and genocide survivors and academics.
A very thought-provoking read, The Sunflower calls upon the reader to reflect on different moral, religious and social issues, as well as question themselves on both the discussions proposed by Wiesenthal himself.

Recommended for...
I do not wish to 'rate' Holocaust literature, particularly as much of it concerns the awful personal experiences of many. Instead, I would like to recommend such books. Naturally, I encourage anyone to read them, but the themes involved may apply to some more than others.
In this instance, I would particularly recommend this book to those with an interest in theology, philosophy and psychology.