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Ornstein, A. (1986). Chapter 11: The Holocaust: Reconstruction and the Establishment of Psychic Continuity. The Reconstruction of Trauma: Its Significance in Clinical Work, 171-191.

Ornstein, A. (1986). Chapter 11: The Holocaust: Reconstruction and the Establishment of Psychic Continuity. The Reconstruction of Trauma: Its Significance in Clinical Work , 171-191

Chapter 11: The Holocaust: Reconstruction and the Establishment of Psychic Continuity Book Information Previous Up Next

Anna Ornstein, M.D.

The more time passes, the more I feel that it is there, in this earliest setting of my life, rather than in the terrible upheavals that followed, that the essential part of my self was shaped (S. Friedlander, 1979).

Any effort to study the process of recovery following a traumatic experience of the magnitude of the Holocaust raises the question as to how best to conceptualize the nature of this particular trauma. Are the years of hunger, physical exhaustion, hard labor, threat to life, the loss of most or all family members, the absence of external support, best conceptualized as a shock or as a strain trauma? (Cumulative trauma [Khan, 1963], because of the similarity in its meaning is included in the concept of strain trauma [Kris, 1956a].) The chronicity would indicate that this was primarily a strain trauma, “punctuated” with shock traumatic experiences: selections, beatings, and other states of helplessness that would

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