Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Unspoken Memories Of Holocaust Survivors Find Silent And Non-pathological Expression

Date:
June 22, 2009
Source:
University of Haifa
Summary:
Aspects of knowing about a parent's or grandparent's Holocaust experiences and traumas are transmitted to other members of the family through unspoken and sometimes unintentional behaviors in the home. This leads to a "knowledge" and presence of the Holocaust that, despite remaining unspoken, contributes to the life experiences and constitutes the personality of the person exposed to it.

Aspects of knowing about a parent's or grandparent's Holocaust experiences and traumas are transmitted to other members of the family through unspoken and sometimes unintentional behaviors in the home. This leads to a "knowledge" and presence of the Holocaust that, despite remaining unspoken, contributes to the life experiences and constitutes the personality of the person exposed to it.

This has been shown in a new ethnographic study carried out by an anthropologist at the University of Haifa and recently published in the peer-reviewed academic journal Current Anthropology. Dr. Carol Kidron of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at the University of Haifa interviewed fifty-five children of Holocaust survivors. The large majority revealed that their only knowledge of their parents' Holocaust experiences were transmitted to them via silent, taken-for-granted everyday interpersonal interaction.

The children were able to get a sense of their parents' experiences through the unspoken. One recalled hearing a parent's nightly cries. Another remembered wondering about the numbers branded on a parent's arm, and others described watching their parents reminiscing or looking through old photographs or memorabilia.

In contrast to previous and well-known psychological studies published so far, which have suggested that the children of Holocaust survivors suffer effects of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Dr. Kidron was able to conclude that 80 percent of the interviewees did not perceive themselves as suffering from such effects.

Moreover, the "knowledge", the silent day-to-day presence of Holocaust memories that the descendents of Holocaust survivors gleaned, sufficed: As children, they frequently felt no need to question their parents in depth. They had no desire to document their families' Holocaust history. A prominent 95 percent of the interviewees assured that they were not interested in telling the story of their parents' Holocaust experiences in the public domain, or their own. "By forming an experiential matrix, these silent traces maintain an intimate and nonpathological presence of the Holocaust death-world in the everyday life-world," Dr. Kidron explained.

This study disputes the more common views that a survivor's silence results in a damaged relationship with his or her children, or in the absence of an inter-generational Holocaust legacy transmitted to the second generation. It is precisely the presence of the Holocaust past in everyday silent interaction, rather than the vocal transmission of Holocaust testimony or history, that sustains and commemorates the genocidal past in the private familial domain. The accounts provided by the interviewees in this study "depict the dynamic, normative, and self-imposed silent presence of the Holocaust death-world interwoven with everyday life" and indicate that children's relationships with their survivor parents were equally normative.

Dr. Kidron presented the above study, alongside her present extended comparative research on Cambodian Canadian children of survivors of the Cambodian genocide, at a conference hosted by the University of Haifa: "The Holocaust: Its traumatic and inter-generational effects in comparison to other persecutions and its reflection in the arts."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Haifa. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Haifa. "Unspoken Memories Of Holocaust Survivors Find Silent And Non-pathological Expression." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 June 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090622103823.htm>.
University of Haifa. (2009, June 22). Unspoken Memories Of Holocaust Survivors Find Silent And Non-pathological Expression. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090622103823.htm
University of Haifa. "Unspoken Memories Of Holocaust Survivors Find Silent And Non-pathological Expression." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090622103823.htm (accessed August 22, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Friday, August 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Lost Brain Cells To Blame For Sleep Problems Among Seniors

Lost Brain Cells To Blame For Sleep Problems Among Seniors

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) According to a new study, elderly people might have trouble sleeping because of the loss of a certain group of neurons in the brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Newsy (Aug. 20, 2014) A new study found couples who had at least 150 guests at their weddings were more likely to report being happy in their marriages. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape

Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape

AP (Aug. 20, 2014) Nine years after Hurricane Katrina, charter schools are the new reality of public education in New Orleans. The state of Louisiana took over most of the city's public schools after the killer storm in 2005. (Aug. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

AP (Aug. 19, 2014) Four Texas high school football programs are trying out an experimental system designed to diagnose concussions on the field. The technology is in response to growing concern over head trauma in America's most watched sport. (Aug. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins