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Klein, H. Kogan, I. (1986). Identification Processes and Denial in the Shadow of Nazism. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 67:45-52.

(1986). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 67:45-52

Identification Processes and Denial in the Shadow of Nazism

Hillel Klein and Ilany Kogan


This paper presents an analysis of the vicissitudes of individual and group identification processes during and after the Holocaust. We also examine denial as a defence mechanism when confronted with massive traumatization, and in the period of readaptation and reintegration to life. Identification with (idealized) lost objects and with group myths, in fantasy as well as in action, and denial sustained by fantasy, words and acts, were connected to mourning processes which

helped to initiate the re-individuation process developing in face of danger.

We consider some of the basic problems of survivors of the Holocaust such as avoidance of mourning and rebuilding of self-structure with reemergence of superego, in connexion to various processes of identification and denial.

We focus on the 'Mythos of Survival' which reveals a special way of coping with life and death problems, and attempt to show how processes of identification connected with it, influence the survivors' way of mourning up to the second and third generation.

The aim of therapy with children of survivors is to aid the process of mourning for lost objects, to free them from the burden of the past, by differentiating between their own experiences and that of their parents, thus helping them in the process of re-individuation.

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