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Granek, M. (1994). Persistent Shadows of the Holocaust: The Meaning to Those not Directly Affected: Edited by Rafael Moses. Madison, CT: International Universities Press. 1993. Pp. xxii + 276.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 75:635-639.

(1994). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 75:635-639

Persistent Shadows of the Holocaust: The Meaning to Those not Directly Affected: Edited by Rafael Moses. Madison, CT: International Universities Press. 1993. Pp. xxii + 276.

Review by:
Michel Granek

In 1988, on Mount Scopus in Jerusalem, the Hebrew University's Sigmund Freud Center held its IVth Conference under the name: 'The meaning of the Holocaust for those not directly affected. A psychoanalytic view'. There were four plenary presentations, each followed by a plenary discussion and then by a small group discussion. The Conference was closed by a final plenary panel discussion. This book presents the proceedings of the Conference, including the plenary and twelve small group discussions. Thus, the reader is invited to be a nonparticipant observer in the Conference, and to have a glimpse not only of the theoretical thinking about the Holocaust but also of the emotional involvement with it. On this matter it is important to emphasise that the Conference gave an opportunity for many Israeli and/or Jewish participants to meet German colleagues, sometimes for the first time, which served to increase the emotional responsiveness to the subject.

After a Foreword by A. Solnit and an Introduction by R. Moses, the first paper, by the late Gottfried Appy (Germany), 'The meaning of Auschwitz today: clinical reflections about the depletion of a destructive symbol', presents Nazism as an attempt to actualise the narcissistic desire of an 'immeasurable and indestructible harmony and order for which all trash had to be eliminated' (p. 5). Only the confrontation with the horror of the Holocaust lead to the rupture with Nazism, its ideology and idealisation. However, Auschwitz, which was initially a symbol of dehumanisation and suffering, of degradation and perversion, has been gradually reduced to be but a metaphor, the metaphor of the menaces threatening the psyche during the mourning process.

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