Would you forgive or seek justice?

After the Holocaust there was a man who became a famous Nazi hunter named Simon Wiesenthal. He brought down people like The Gestapo who arrested Anne Frank, Adolf Eichmann the man you planned the logistical aspects of the concentration camps, and Franz Strangl who was in charge of camps that killed more than 1.5 million jewish people. One day Simon Wiesenthal found himself sitting the hospital room of a dying S.S. Officer. He was supposed to sit in the room until the S.S. Officer died. The Officer realizing that he was dying and being eaten alive by his guilt started confessing all of the things that he had done in the camps to Mr. Wiesenthal. The Officer kept saying that he wished he could speak to a jewish person so that he could apologize and seek forgiveness. Mr. Wiesenthal told the Officer that he was Jewish and that he was not going to forgive the the Officer because he had personally lost 86 members of his family to the Holocaust as well as 6 million people killed in the Concentration camps.

Years later, Simon Wiesenthal felt guilt over refusing to forgive the S.S. Officer. He sent a letter to all the people he had meet in his years as a Nazi Hunter. Scientists, world leaders, religious leaders, everyday people... and asked them the same questions I am asking you right now...

Did Simon Wiesenthal do the right thing by refusing to forgive the S.S. Officer?


What would you do in his situation?

Please be respectful of one anthers answers! This is a personal and emotional question.

11 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    There are several answers to this question. None of them easy, and its so hard to give one unless you were in the situation at the time. Unless you were the person who had lost all the family members and was facing one of the men who had destroyed them. I would like to say that I would forgive him. "Judge not lest ye be judged." But having been there and having lost so many I'm not sure I could. In the end family and loved ones are all we have beside God that matters. So I can't really give you an answer. I do hope that you find the answer you are looking for and find some peace.

  • 5 years ago

    Forgiving does not mean absolving of consequences. Forgiveness is not the opposite of justice. If a little child refuses to put away their toys, I'm not angry or vengeful towards them, but they still have to put away those toys or they can't get any more out: this is an easy example, with little emotional clout. Now try imagining the difference between justice and vengance if someone has stolen a pair of glasses: justice would involve a proportionate punishment that encouraged them to understand why what they did was wrong, and maybe give an opportunity to make it right; vengance would hurt them because the victim was angry. Anger is not always bad, but it must not be vengeful, and it should power you through decisions you made calmly and rationally. Seeking justice is an excellent cause, which is better if you have forgiven the people involved, freeing yourself from the hate and vengefulness they would weight you down with. That allows you to seek actual justice, rather than just seeking to hurt them until they cry out.

  • .
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    It is a very emotive subject and is difficult to answer as I never knew Simon Wiesenthal personally but of course I am aware of his work but even if I did it would still be very difficult to answer not knowing every thought idea emotion he experienced going through that experience as he did

    What would I do Again it would be no more than a guess

    I am however going through a similar experience having lost all my immediate and extended Family to what is happening in the world at the present time and so are millions if not billions of others too Reptilians wiping out the Human Race like there is no tomorrow When I finally decide in how I will handle this I will get back to you

    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

  • 1 decade ago

    The correct answer is no. But forgiveness is hard to begin with. But if I lost 86 family members so terribly & senselessly I couldn't do it, at least when the wound was so fresh. The anger, pain & the inability to forgive was what drove him to find these men & bring them to justice. If he could forgive so easily it would have hindered his quest.

    I've lived over half a century & one of the things I've found to be true is people will be driven to do what's right in anger quicker than if they are just doing it for justice or what's right. So God still used him.

    The heart of the man was revealed by his guilt when it was all over. Justice had been served and now he needed to absolve his own guilt.

    It doesn't matter if the whole world would have done the same thing & it was completely understandable. It was still wrong.

    I know I would have done the same thing. But you can't go back, nor justify sins. It is what it is. You can pray for the families of those men that the hate stopped with them. But beyond that you have to accept it & go on with your life. Do the best you can by others. Right or wrong it can't be justified.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Simon Wiesenthal will have to live with his decision. Forgiving can bring closure to even severe pain,

    Jehovah God forgave the murderous Israelite King Mannesah 2nd Kings chapter 21.

    I have read articles on the Holocaust about humans that did forgive SS guards for murder of their own people. Some SS guards have become Jehovah's Witnesses.

    I feel for those who lose loved ones over senseless violence.

    Jesus said this at John 5:28-30.

    Have a nice day. I would forgive. I would then preach to these certain people the Good News of God's Kingdom.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    The personal horrors experienced by Simon Wiesenthal are undeniable; however, I feel that he should have forgiven the S.S Officer. If you can't find it in your heart to love and forgive, than how is the world ever going to be a better place?

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I can't say what I would do in Simon's situation without being there, but I would not be in a mindless 'yes man' position like the SS Officer, to begin with. I despise blind allegiance to authority now.

    I would have a hard time forgiving something like that, because I don't care for human stupidity and people just 'going with the flow', and not questioning what they are told/fed, now, much less during extreme times like back then.

    Would I have forgave him? Chances are most likely....NO!

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I do not blame Wiesenthal for his unforgiveness at the time to the SS officer. The nazis committed terrible crimes, and he was probably very much emotionally affected by the loss of his family members. I'm trying to put myself in that man's place. If I were to watch over someone who was responsible for the death of my family members and countrymen would I be so forgiving? Probably not.

  • 1 decade ago

    to be perfectly honest with you my first thought would be to seek revenge but I have learned through the years that God vengeance is much more just and more than anything I could think of to avenge the hurt caused....it seems sometimes that His timing is to slow but I know He's never early or late but always on time...a God of perfect timing

  • 1 decade ago

    Ideally forgiveness would be the right thing...but I do not think I am big enough person to have given it.

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