Book presentation: „Die Sonnenblume: Über die Möglichkeiten und Grenzen von Vergebung“
You are a concentration camp inmate. A dying SS man asks for forgiveness. What do you do? This is the decision faced by Simon in the semi-autobiographical narration by Holocaust survivor Simon Wiesenthal in 1942. A moral conflict that continued to trouble Wiesenthal for decades. Did he do the right thing? Is it possible to pardon the unpardonable? Should it and can it be pardoned at all? If so, how? If not, how to continue to live? In the late 1960s he asked a number of prominent personalities for answers to these questions and published their replies together with the narration in a book he called The Sunflower.
A bestseller abroad, it has been translated into more than twenty languages. According to his biographer Hella Pick, Wiesenthal saw it as his most important book. On the tenth anniversary of his death in 2015, Die Sonnenblume was reissued. In addition to fifteen replies reproduced from earlier editions, the book, edited by Nicola Jungsberger, contains forty-four new contributions. In total, fifty-nine leading personalities reply to Wiesenthal’s questions: Buddhist, Christian, Jewish, and Muslim clergymen and theologists, philosophers and psychologists, Holocaust survivors and their descendants, researchers and judges, human rights activists and historians, writers and documentary film makers. Their comments are as varied as their experiences in the world and show that Wiesenthal’s questions are as relevant as ever today. The book challenges every reader to re-examine and articulate their personal attitude to forgiveness and reconciliation, justice and compassion.
Nicola Jungsberger studied applied art in Paris and lives and works as a sculptress and set designer in Berlin. Two of her great-uncles were interned in Dachau but refused to speak about it. When she discovered Die Sonnenblume in 2008, she persuaded Wiesenthal’s daughter to have this book, which is widely unknown in Germany, republished.
Planned participants: Nicola Jungsberger, Eva Madelung (young girl during the Nazi era, family therapist), Gisela Mayer (founder of Amoklauf-Winnenden e.V.), Ingeborg Müller-Hohagen (founder of the Dachau Institute, Montessori teacher), Éva Pusztai-Fahidi (Auschwitz survivor, writer), Walter Rothschild (rabbi, poet, songwriter), Thomas Walther (attorney, Gröning trial), Beate Winkler (painter, writer)
Moderation: Judith Stein, journalist
Reservations on: 535 04 31-110 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Free admission from 6.15 pm