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Jucovy, M.E. (1985). Telling the Holocaust Story: A Link Between the Generations. Psychoanal. Inq., 5(1):31-49.

(1985). Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 5(1):31-49

Telling the Holocaust Story: A Link Between the Generations

Milton E. Jucovy, M.D.

The issue of knowing and not knowing is at the very core of our psychoanalytic work as we attempt to help our patients resolve their unconscious conflicts. This process may be described in terms of Freud's topographic model of the mind as trying to render conscious what has been unconscious, or formulated on the basis of his later structural theory as attempting to alter forces in the patient's psychic structure so that pathological defenses are undermined and replaced by healthier ego activities. During these efforts, we are continually working with secrets, the revelation of which we trust will bring about dynamic, structural, and economic changes that are consistent with the display of greater adaptational capacities. Although encounters with secrets are ubiquitous in psychoanalytic work, it is also true that their presence and impact are more apparent in members of certain groups. The purpose of this contribution is to report some of the observations yielded by a study of survivors of the Holocaust and their children, with particular emphasis on communication between the generations. We have learned that certain features of a child's development may be influenced by parental withholding of information and that even well-intentioned revelations of parental experiences may be shrouded in uncertainty, distortion, or mystery.

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