Holocaust Survivors

Topics: Antisemitism, Nazi Germany, The Holocaust Pages: 5 (1989 words) Published: January 25, 2002
Holocaust Survivors
The world's biggest desolation that caused the murders of millions of Jewish people took place during WWII. The Holocaust orchestrated by the Nazi Empire destroyed millions of lives and created questions about humanity that may never be answered. Many psychological effects caused by the Holocaust forever changed the way the Jewish people view the world and themselves. The Jewish people have been scarred for generations and may never be able to once again associate with the rest of the free world. Further, these scars have now become the looking glass through which the survivors and their children view the world. Through narrow eyes, the survivors relate everything to the experiences they endured during the Holocaust. Likewise, these new views on the world shapes how the survivors live, interact, and raise a family both socially and spiritually. Some survivors are scarred so deeply they can not escape the past feelings and images of terror; they call this Survivor Syndro! me.

A Survivor is one who has encountered, been exposed to, or witnessed death, and has himself of herself remained alive. The symptoms affected not only survivors, but their families as well. The symptoms included an inability to work, and even at times to talk. The Jewish people fear that it may happen again. Also a fear of uniformed police officers because of their position of power became very common. There were also many feelings of guilt for having survived when others had not. "Why am I alive?" Why not my sister and brother...my whole family?" The survivors had thoughts of death, nightmares, panic attacks, and various other symptoms. Disinterest in life, people, and sometimes even in reality played a huge role in marital problems and suicide.

There are five main categories of Survivor syndrome. The first is the Death imprint, which is the idea of not only death itself, but of all forms of torture and gruesome images of death. For many survivors they can recall the smell of smoke and the voices of the tortured. Some survivors are trapped in time; mentally they are unable to escape the torture that they had witnessed. In other words, they are unable to move beyond the imagery and are stuck in time. The survivors are mentally scarred with images they can never escape or share. The inability to sleep or work is a direct consequence of what they endured in the death camps. The second category is where the guilt of death is found. Here is where the survivors feels remorse for the loved ones they had lost and ask "why them and not me". The survivor remembers feeling helpless at times of need, "why didn^t I resist" or "how could I have saved someone." The survivor can not escape the feeling of debt to the lost and feels guilty. Some survivors have been known to feel guiltier about the Holocaust then the actual Perpetrators . Guilt is the most common feeling among survivors and is passed to children each generation. To cope with this guilt there are many support groups that are opening doors wide for the Jewish people to come and be set free from the needless guilt. Yet many survivors have shut themselves out from the rest of the world and have lived lives of solitude because the guilt is too much for any one person to carry . This guilt is a direct cause of the Holocaust and because of it, the Jewish people will never be the same. The third category is psychological numbing. This has been determined by psychologists as a "necessary psychological defense against overwhelming images." This defense is only good for a short time because after long term numbing the survivor can feel withdrawal and depression. Many survivors numbed themselves to all emotions and became insensitive to death. The fourth category is suspicion and paranoia. The survivor is always on guard watching out for another Holocaust to flare up and take hold. Consequently if in need of help, a survivor may not take the hand of someone there to help, in...
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