Holocaust survivor families yield new insight into trauma across generations [philly.com]

 

Thank you to ACEs Connection members Bea Hollander-Goldfein and Nancy Isserman for this story.

In the 1980s, most of the research Bea Hollander-Goldfein was reading about how Holocaust survivors were faring psychologically focused entirely on the damage the Nazis had done.

That didn’t ring completely true to Hollander-Goldfein, a psychologist whose parents were both survivors.  She saw problems, but also successes.  In 1988, she gathered a team of 16 — six were children of survivors — to study the existing scientific literature.  Dissatisfied, they set out in 1991 to do their own work, talking deeply and in a more nuanced way with survivors and their children about how the Holocaust had affected them.

Twenty-six years later, Hollander-Goldfein, co-project director and social worker Nancy Isserman, and a smaller crew, are still at it.  They’ve now interviewed three generations of survivor families to study how trauma is transmitted across generations, and are considering how their findings can be applied to other traumatized groups, such as military veterans or refugees.

[For more on this story by Stacey Burling, go to http://www.philly.com/philly/h...-study-20171129.html]

Photo: Ari Gordon is the grandchild of Holocaust survivors. He is shown here in Heidelberg, Germany, while attending a conference on Jewish-Christian studies.

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