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The Psychological Affects Of The Holocaust

2141 words - 9 pages

The Holocaust was a tragic point in history which many people believe never happened. Others who survived it thought it should never have been. Not only did this affect the people who lived through it, it also affected everyone who was connected to those fortunate individuals who survived. The survivors were lucky to have made it but there are times when their memories and flashbacks have made them wish they were the ones who died instead of living with the horrible aftermath. The psychological effects of the Holocaust on people from different parts such as survivors of Israel and survivors of the ghettos and camps vary in some ways yet in others are profoundly similar. The vast number of prisoners of various nationalities and religions in the camps made such differences inevitable. Many contrasting opinions have been published about the victims and survivors of the holocaust based on the writers' different cultural backrounds, personal experiences and intelectual traditions. Therefore, the opinions of the authors of such books and entries of human behavior and survival in the concentration camps in Nazi-occupied Europe are very diverse.The Survivors of the Holocaust: General Survey Because the traumatization of the Holocaust was both individual and collective, most individuals made efforts to create a "new family" to replace the nuclear family that had been lost. In order for the victims to resist dehumanization and regression and to find support, the members of such groups shared stories about the past, fantasies of the future and joint prayers as well as poetry and expressions of personal and general human aspirations for hope and love. Imagination was an important means of liberation from the frustrating reality by opening an outlet for the formulation of plans for the distant future, and by spurring to immediate actions.Looking at the history of the Jewish survivors, from the beginning of the Nazi occupation until the liquidation of the ghettos shows that there are common features and simmilar psychophysiological patterns in their responses to the persecutions. The survivors often experienced several phases of psychosocial response, including attempts to actively master the traumatic situation, cohesive affiliative actions with intense emotional links, and finally, passive compliance with the persecutors. These phases must be understood as the development of special mechanisms to cope with the tensions and dangers of the surrounding horrifying reality of the Holocaust.There were many speculations that survivors of the Holocaust suffered from a static concentration camp syndrome. These theories were proved to have not been valid by research that was done immediately after liberation. Clinical and theoretical research focused more on psychopathology than on the question of coping and the development of specific adaptive mechanisms during the Holocaust and after. The descriptions of the survivors' syndrome in the late 1950's and 1960's created...

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