I Was a Shoah Child

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SUMMARY. This paper deals with the struggle to live despite massive traumatic events among individuals who were children during World War Two. The material for the paper was taken from a series of interviews with Shoah child survivors who were drawn from a non‐clinical population. The interviews attempted to explore how the Shoah experience affected some of the natural expressions of feeling that are universal in childhood. More specifically, the paper focuses on crying, dreams and treasured objects. The picture which emerged from the interviews is consistent. In the face of the terrifying and traumatic reality of the Shoah, the ego of the Shoah child was forced to function automatically and without expression of feeling. Through the creation of a‘false self these children were able to function as adults, in the bodies of children, thereby enabling their survival. Inordinate capacities to struggle and to manage without the comfort of tears and teddy bears were evidenced by these child‐adults.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)391-400
Number of pages10
JournalBritish Journal of Psychotherapy
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 1992
Externally publishedYes


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