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Serenius, M. (1995). The Silent Cry A Finnish Child during World War II and 50 Years Later. Int. Forum Psychoanal., 4(1):35-47.

(1995). International Forum of Psychoanalysis, 4(1):35-47

The Silent Cry A Finnish Child during World War II and 50 Years Later

Mona Serenius, M.A.

The author, a former analysand but not a psychoanalyst herself, gives an account of her own history as a child during the II World War in Finland. She was one of the 70,000 children who were sent to Sweden during the war. She reflects on how repeated separations, both from her biological parents and from her foster-parents have affected her in her adult life, as it became clear to her in psychoanalysis.

She compares her own experiences with those of other warchildren whom she has met or read about. She also reports on how former warchildren in their forties and fifties, who until then had remained silent, suddenly began to feel the need of giving voice to their experiences and meeting others who could understand what they had been through. Common features among many former warchildren seem to be the lack of a feeling of strong identity, a sense of worthlessness, a need to be in control, an inability to be trusting and to form or maintain close relationships. Underneath a yearning for love can be felt, which may be compensated for in many ways, such as by food or drugs. The author also reports on some scientific studies, which seem to indicate that former warchildren are no more prone to criminality, psychiatric illness, early retirement, divorce etc than those who were allowed to stay with their families during the whole war, whereas a Swedish psychologist who has conducted deep interviews with sixty-five former warchildren presents a different picture in her doctoral thesis.

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