Journal of Applied Psychoanalytic Studies

, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp 31–47 | Cite as

The Role of Group Experiences in the Healing Process of Massive Childhood Holocaust Trauma

  • Eva Fogelman
  • Helene Bass-Wichelhaus


This paper proposes that Holocaust child survivors profoundly benefit from participating in a variety of group modalities. From participant observation and interviews we demonstrate that affiliation in organizations, social events, commemorations, rituals, and particular therapeutic groups each contributes to the well-being of Holocaust child survivors. Mourning is enhanced by joining forces with others from a historical event that left many children orphans, bereft of a home, a community, a country, and an identity. Group participants achieve individuation and ego integration, and gain clarity about the complex psychological consequences of surviving the Holocaust. A fragmented identity is restored through the opportunity of interacting with others whose identity has been ruptured by similar cataclysmic events.

Holocaust child survivors mourning a historical trauma we-ness large-group identity annihilation anxiety 


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Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eva Fogelman
  • Helene Bass-Wichelhaus

There are no affiliations available

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