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Simon Wiesenthal (1908–2005)

Author of The Sunflower

48+ Works 2,452 Members 45 Reviews 4 Favorited

About the Author

Simon Wiesenthal was born on December 31, 1908 in a small town near the present-day Ukrainian city of Lvov. He attended the Technical University of Prague after being turned away from the Polytechnic Institute in Lvov because of quota restrictions on Jewish students. He received his degree in show more architectural engineering in 1932 and opened an architectural office in Lvov. He was forced to close his business at the beginning of World War II. By September 1942, a total of eighty-nine members of both his and his wife's families perished. He was liberated from the Mauthausen death camp in Austria by the Americans on May 5, 1945. It was his fifth death camp among the dozen Nazi camps in which he was imprisoned during the war. After the war, Wiesenthal began gathering and preparing evidence on Nazi atrocities for the War Crimes Section of the United States Army and other organizations. He spent more than 50 years hunting Nazi war criminals and speaking out against neo-Nazism and racism. His main function as a Nazi hunter was gathering and analyzing information and then passing it on to the appropriate authorities. According to him, his work helped bring about 1,100 Nazi war criminals to justice; including Adolf Eichmann, Karl Silberbauer, and Franz Stangl. He died on September 20, 2005 in Vienna at the age of 96. (Bowker Author Biography) show less
Image credit: Simon Wiesenthal

Works by Simon Wiesenthal

The Sunflower (1997) 1,141 copies
The Sunflower (1970) 233 copies
Justice, Not Vengeance (1989) 215 copies
Max and Helen (1981) 68 copies
Vlucht voor het noodlot (1988) 8 copies
Le livre de la mémoire juive (1986) — Author — 4 copies
Resistance 3 copies
Les fleur de soleil (2004) 3 copies
The New Lexicon of Hate (2001) 2 copies
La voile de l'espoir (1992) 1 copy
Recht 1 copy
Per l'uomo (1990) 1 copy

Associated Works

Journey through Darkness: Monowitz, Auschwitz, Gross-Rosen, Buchenwald (1999) — Preface, some editions — 15 copies


Common Knowledge

Other names
ויזנטל, שמעון
Date of death
Burial location
Herzliya, Israel
Buczacz, Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria, Austria-Hungary (now Temopil Oblast, Ukraine)
Place of death
Vienna, Austria
Places of residence
Vienna, Austria
Technical University, Prague (Architectural engineering, 1932)
President, Jewish Documentation Centre
Nazi hunter
Holocaust survivor
Lingens, Peter Michael (personal secretary)
Friedman, Tuviah (colleague)
Simon Wiesenthal Center
Awards and honors
Order of Polonia Restituta
Knight of the British Empire (2004)
Erasmus Prize (1992)
Legion d'Honneur (1986)
Congressional Gold Medal (1980)
Short biography
Simon Wiesenthal was born in
Buczacz, then part of Austria-Hungary (present-day Ukraine), and studied architectural engineering at the Technical University of Prague and in Lviv. In 1936, he married Cyla Müller. After the Nazi invasion of Lviv in World War II in 1941, Wiesenthal was separated from his wife and sent to forced labor and to five German concentration camps, including Buchenwald and Mauthausen. He and his wife, who also managed to survive, were reunited at the end of the war. He founded and led the Jewish Documentation Centre in Vienna and dedicated his life to the search for and legal prosecution of Nazi war criminals and to promoting Holocaust memory and education. His best-known published work was his memoir, The Murderers Among Us (1967).



biographical of Wiesenthal's experience in the concentration camp. on a job near a hospital, he is selected to go with a nurse to meet a patient. patient is completely wrapped up, only two holes for the eyes. he is an SS. he speaks to Wiesenthal, telling him about an atrocity against jews that he was involved in. Before he dies, he wants forgiveness from a Jew before he dies.. he says he was a good Christian and regrets what he has done. Wiesenthal leaves the room without giving his forgiveness. He felt that he is not one to give it. he is haunted by his decision.
after the war he visits the SS's mother, and doesn't end up telling her the truth about her son.
the question is whether can one forgive the nazi's for their atrocities .
After the book, different journalists, thinkers, theologian...write their thoughts.
… (more)
evatkaplan | 21 other reviews | Nov 12, 2023 |
Very deeply thought provoking
JimandMary69 | 21 other reviews | Sep 1, 2023 |
Fran Lebowitz said that Jews believe in revenge, because the Jewish God is an avenging God. On the other hand, forgiveness is a central pillar in Christian theology. Christ died on the cross to cleanse the sin of the world, and in the process forgave his tormentors.

These contrasting views of forgiveness are elucidated by the responses in the symposium - the Jewish thinkers tend to take a harsher view of the SS soldier's confession and hope for absolution, while the Christian thinkers tend to err on the side of forgiveness as an absolute moral obligation.

The conversation leads one to see the Christian view as naive - is it possible that the ethos of forgiveness permits the continuation of horrors? Do people feel free in their sin because they know that forgiveness and salvation are ultimately available to all, even the perpetrators of genocide? Whereas Jews more readily acknowledge and live with the consequences of their actions? The fact that Simon Wiesenthal wrestled with this question of forgiveness shows that he does not embrace simple-minded theological dogma in response to complex moral questions.
… (more)
jonbrammer | 21 other reviews | Jul 1, 2023 |
This feels, in the worst possible way, like reading a class full of opinion essays in a 101 level seminar. Conceptually fascinating but an absolute letdown.
changgukah | 4 other reviews | Aug 22, 2022 |



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Robert Coles Contributor
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Joseph Telushkin Contributor
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Tzvetan Todorov Contributor
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