Rieck, Miriam (ed.)

Social interactions after massive traumatization. Was the Holocaust survivors' encounter with the post-war society conductive for generating private and collective memories?



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ISBN 9783936014198


The book examines the problematic encounter between Holocaust survivors and the absorbing society, a conflictual situation that caused the survivors secondary traumatization and brought about in the absorbing society false interpretations concerning the Holocaust sequels, as well as mistaken conceptions as to life during traumatization. The absorbing society, rather than learning from the survivors' own words, relied on obsolete and irrelevant psychological and psychiatric theories, thus creating a rift between both groups.
A theoretical contribution (Wolfgang Frindte) describes memory as a social phenomenon, materializing in social settings and not in the individual as isolated from society.
Relying on interviews and documents from real time, life during persecution (Gideon Greif) is exemplified through the Sonderkommando men's unique and not so well known experience.
Barbara Preitler described her work in another trauma-ridden society – Sri Lanka – living for decades under war and murder, and additionally haunted by the tsunami.
Miriam Rieck compared the survivors' words to beliefs of the general population and professionals' diagnoses, thus demonstrating that the guilt feelings and conspiracy of silence, so often attributed to survivors are at best an exaggerated generalization.
Hadas Wiseman presents through relational interviews the long-term intergenerational effects of the Holocaust on survivors' offspring.
Henry Greenspan, based on years of experience, demonstrates how such survivors' accounts can evolve over multiple retellings and in different settings. .
This broad and encompassing presentation may shed new light on the old problem of mistaken understandings and generalizations concerning life during persecution and unwarranted generalizations about later effects of the Holocaust on its survivors.


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