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Eickhoff, F.W. (1986). Identification and its Vicissitudes in the Context of the Nazi Phenomenon. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 67:33-44.

(1986). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 67:33-44

Identification and its Vicissitudes in the Context of the Nazi Phenomenon

F. W. Eickhoff


The following vicissitudes of identification predominate among many others in my case material:

1. The primary identification, independent of the historical background, with the lost mother who returns in the transference and who receives the ancillary role of a Nazi victim.

2. The coexistence of contradictory, secondary identifications, partly characterized by intrasystemic conflicts, in the ego and superego (e.g. the existence of the peaceful and the warlike ego as 'doubles'), producing a multiple personality in which the formation of the ego ideal, moulded by themes of terror, threatens to exert a transgenerational influence owing to a superego identification with the Nazi aspects of the father, while the 'borrowed guilt' from the father corresponds to a melancholic identification; the regressive concretization in the form of a transitory delusion also belongs to the context of the latter.

3. A restitutive, self-curative identification with figures in world literature and cultural values capable of linking up with a pretraumatic past not personally experienced and of countering the threat of loss of orientation to the world—a feature which seems comparable to the struggle for attainment of the depressive position as described by Melanie Klein.

The Nazi Phenomenon can only be defined adequately with reference to delusional anti-Semitism.

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