Simon Wiesenthal's novel The Sunflower discusses his own personal experiences while he was an inmate at a concentration camp. The fifteen most important points from the novel are as follows.
1. Wiesenthal and his work detail are sent to a army hospital for wounded German soldiers.
2. A nurse approaches Wiesenthal and asks him if he is a Jew. He replies that he is.
3. The nurse takes Wiesenthal to the bedside of a dying German soldier, Karl.
4. The soldier tells Wiesenthal that he must speak to someone "about an experience which is torturing" him. In order for his soul to find peace, he must tell his story to a Jew.
5. Karl begins to tell Wiesenthal about his childhood. He had a happy life until he joined the SS.
6. Karl goes on to tell Wiesenthal about his time in Russia up to a point when he comes to a small village.
7. At the small village, Karl and the other soldiers begin to murder the hundreds of Jews which have been gathered before them.
8. After a move to Crimea, Karl made a conscious decision never to murder Jews again.
9. When making this decision, an explosion went off by Karl and he lost consciousness.
10. Karl returns to the present day, having the conversation with Wiesenthal.
11. Karl tells Wiesenthal about his need to come clean about his actions with the SS.
12. Karl asks Wiesenthal for forgiveness.
13. Wiesenthal leaves without saying a word; he does not offer Karl his forgiveness.
13. The following day, Wiesenthal finds out that Karl had died.
14. Over many of the next years, Wiesenthal questions himself regarding his refusal to forgive Karl.
15. The novel ends with Wiesenthal wondering about morality, forgiveness, and forgetting.