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Rosenfeld, D. (1986). Identification and its Vicissitudes in Relation to the Nazi Phenomenon. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 67:53-64.

(1986). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 67:53-64

Identification and its Vicissitudes in Relation to the Nazi Phenomenon

David Rosenfeld


The author has developed the following theoretical models: (1) autistic encapsulation, (2) loss of identifications under the effect of terror, (3) the logical-pragmatic paradox, which can be applied to other similar ones, but taking into account that it is not an exhaustive mechanism to be applied in all cases.

Carrying out an in-depth study of the subject, we would find two systems, one which we might define as the detachment-withdrawal model (loss) and the other, the model of autistic encapsulation. Part of the material seems to point to the former.

In the encapsulation model, there is a shielding of early identifications which are later found fairly well preserved (Inge's language and grandparents, the name of Moshe and Judaism).

As an explanatory model, I would suggest that there is a dialectic interplay between two systems: one aiming at encapsulating (which does not mean integration but preservation) and thus shielding identifications, and another which, in spite of everything, loses valuable identifications as a consequence of terror. The inner drama develops between these two mechanisms.

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