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Marcus, P. (1994). Persistent Shadows of the Holocaust: The Meaning to Those Not Directly Affected edited by Rafael Moses Madison, CT: International Universities Press, xxii + 277 pp., $37.50. Psa. Books, 5(3):447-452.

(1994). Psychoanalytic Books, 5(3):447-452

Persistent Shadows of the Holocaust: The Meaning to Those Not Directly Affected edited by Rafael Moses Madison, CT: International Universities Press, xxii + 277 pp., $37.50

Review by:
Paul Marcus, Ph.D.

Rafael Moses, a training and supervising analyst at the Israel Psychoanalytic Institute who has a long-standing interest in the Holocaust and its aftermath, has edited a most thoughtful and interesting volume on the impact of the Holocaust on the general public, on those who have not themselves been directly affected by it, either as victims or as perpetrators. The book is based on a conference that took place in 1988 at Hebrew University's Sigmund Freud Center entitled “Persistent Shadows of the Holocaust: The Meaning to Those Not Directly Affected.” Albert J. Solnit has written the foreword, and several prominent persons associated with the psychoanalytic study of the Holocaust participated in the conference, among them Yolanda Gampel, Milton Jucovy, and Dori Laub.

The centerpiece to the book is four essays written by analysts from differing backgrounds and perspectives; a German psychoanalyst (the late Johann-Gottfried Appy), an American Jewish analyst (Sheldon Roth), an American non-Jewish analyst (Vamık D. Volkan), and two Israelis (Rafael Moses and Yechezkel Cohen). In general the essays are captivating to read. They are profound, personally revealing, and humble when confronting an event that is emotionally and intellectually daunting. Only Appy's essay is somewhat hard to read; it has the feel of a poorly translated paper.

A second dimension to this book is contained in the discussions between different people and different groups on the Holocaust, perceptions of it, its influence, and how it is related to events of today. As the editor points out, the main protagonists were Germans and Israelis, but the presence of a variety of other persons gave this encounter a holding environment and framework.

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