He shot the Jews who jumped from the windows to escape the flames. And then he says, “‘In the long nights while I have been waiting for death, time and time again I have longed to talk about it to a Jew and beg forgiveness from him. I know that what I am asking is almost too much for you, but without your answer I cannot die in peace’” (Wiesenthal 54).Only I didn’t know whether there were any Jews left. In response, Wiesenthal leaves the room in silence.
First is while he is listening to the SS man’s confession.
Wiesenthal remains silent throughout the gruesome tale, wanting to be anywhere but there at his bedside, but he still treats the soldier as a human.
The rest of the book is a collection of essays from people of various religious backgrounds on whether anyone has the right to forgive crimes that did not personally happen to them.
The overwhelming response is “no.” Only the person(s) directly offended have the right to grant forgiveness.
The SS man asks Wiesenthal to forgive him not only as an individual, but in the name of the Jews who burned in that house.
Perhaps he is asking for Wiesenthal to forgive in the name of all Jews who were affected by the Holocaust.
Each day he wakes, he knows that it could be his last.
One day his barrack is taken to his old school, which had been converted into a hospital for wounded Nazi soldiers, to do work on the grounds.
A scene where neither can atone for nor forgive the sins because both have nothing left to give.
Wiesenthal’s silence also is a humane gesture, especially in two parts of the book.