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Wangh, M. (1994). Journal of Social Work and Policy in Israel. V-Vi (Special Issue), 1992: The Impact of the Holocaust on the Second Generation. Dinora Pines. Pp. 85-105.. Psychoanal Q., 63:611-612.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Journal of Social Work and Policy in Israel. V-Vi (Special Issue), 1992: The Impact of the Holocaust on the Second Generation. Dinora Pines. Pp. 85-105.

(1994). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 63:611-612

Journal of Social Work and Policy in Israel. V-Vi (Special Issue), 1992: The Impact of the Holocaust on the Second Generation. Dinora Pines. Pp. 85-105.

Martin Wangh

This British psychoanalyst's account of what has taken place in the clinical, analytic space is most vivid. She tells us that she lost the notes on the four cases on which she reports, and therefore what she offers is truly a narrative. Her contemporaneous presentation of historical facts and feelings makes this a convincing piece of work. Pines points to the uniformity of findings on the "second generation" of concentration camp survivors. Their lives have been directed by their Shoah-traumatized parents. They became "replacements" for lost persons, as well as for lost self-esteem. The "second generation," used as "selfobjects," adapted themselves at the high cost of their own identities. This was necessary in order to keep the victim-parents intact enough to function as nursing and protective parents. However, such self-sacrifice caused them unconscious rage at the deprivation suffered. Accompanying sadomasochistic fantasies had to be kept secret. Once a trusting alliance has been established in analysis, all this gets poured upon the head of the analyst. Pines underlines how draining this may become to the therapist, who may be seen as a "Nazi torturer," or may be treated like vermin, as had been the victim-parent.

Pines confesses openly to the pain of countertransference. She suspects that the wish to avoid knowing about one's own sadomasochistic potentialities has caused many of her contemporaries, the second generation of refugees—as well as many of the analyst-refugees themselves—to stay away from treating patients of the "second generation." British attitudes—"one doesn't talk openly of one's sufferings and grief"—encourage such avoidance. The secretiveness of the victims of the Shoah, transmitted to their children, makes analytic treatment very difficult. But in Israel,

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where the public is willing to participate in mourning the loss of the Jewish people, suffered fifty years ago, the second generation's pathology may be more accessible to treatment. Pines herself lost her grandparents in the Holocaust.

Finally, she describes the treatment of the daughter of a German soldier. She undertook it with great reluctance, having to overcome her countertransference. The treatment was endurable only because of the patient's enormous, lasting, positive transference. Pines concludes, "We must have strength to bear the unbearable countertransference that mirrors what is unbearable and secret in every human being, namely, the impact of the fragility of civilization in patient and analyst alike that tries to defend against a deeper evil, man's inhumanity to man."

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Article Citation

Wangh, M. (1994). Journal of Social Work and Policy in Israel. V-Vi (Special Issue), 1992. Psychoanal. Q., 63:611-612

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