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Krystal, H. (1984). Generations of the Holocaust: Edited by Martin S. Bergmann and Milton E. Jucovy. New York: Basic Books, 1982. 338 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 53:466-473.

(1984). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 53:466-473

Generations of the Holocaust: Edited by Martin S. Bergmann and Milton E. Jucovy. New York: Basic Books, 1982. 338 pp.

Review by:
Henry Krystal

This rather complex book deals with the aftereffects of the Holocaust. Hypothetically, this involves at least four groups: the Nazi perpetrators, the surviving victims, and the offspring of each. Needless to say, the oppressors and murderers did not make themselves available for study, which leaves three groups for study. It is not possible to do justice to all the complex contributions, for each subject is addressed by a number of differing papers. The book purports to be the product of the Group for the Psychoanalytic Study of the Effects of the Holocaust on the Second Generation, which met on its own as well as under the sponsorship of psychoanalytic associations. However, many of the authors included in the book were only loosely associated with the group, and the chapters are written individually. The editors did a heroic job in trying to give the product a sense of unity and harmony.

The authors find a tendency on the part of survivors of the Holocaust and their children to deny it and avoid any mention of it. This is matched by most analysts' reluctance to get into the subject. Some analysts rationalize that "such stuff" is better left alone. The authors found that precisely because of the tendency to deny the aftereffects of the Holocaust, treatment is rendered ineffective by the therapist's joining with the patient in a conspiracy of silence. A case in point is Heinz Kohut's account of Mr. A. In both his 1971 and 1977 works, he made only a single sentence reference to the fact that Mr. A. was six years old when his country was invaded by the Germans and he was separated from his father. His family had to flee the country, and when he was eight years old, they lost everything.

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