Genocide and Its Long Term Mental Impact on Survivors – What We Know and What We Do Not Know

  • Jutta Lindert
  • Haim Y. Knobler
  • Moshe Z. Abramowitz


Little is known about traumatic memory after genocide over time and the extent to which the memory of genocide predicts physical and mental disorders or resilience. Specifically, is memory recall associated with the health of survivors? Do memories vary over time? We will tentatively answer these questions by means of a review (A scoping review is a gathering of literature in a given area where the aims are to accumulate as much evidence as possible and map the results) of non-clinical studies on long-term impact of genocides on survivors and on their offspring’s mental health. For sure, we do not capture the whole wealth of literature in this chapter. We investigate changes in memory associated with genocide. Traumatic memories are prone to change, giving a sense of nowness of the past, in some instances. Such changes in memory can have an impact on mental health of genocide survivors. This impact on survivors’ mental health may include posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, somatization and substance abuse. Conversely, it may lead to increased resilience. We review research findings showing that that changes in memory are a key feature affecting health and well-being. The empirical longitudinal assessment of memories of genocide survivors and how they vary over time might be an important step in furthering genocide and health studies.


Genocide Memory Health Survivors 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jutta Lindert
    • 1
    • 2
  • Haim Y. Knobler
    • 3
  • Moshe Z. Abramowitz
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Social Work and Public HealthUniversity of Applied Sciences EmdenEmdenGermany
  2. 2.Women’s Studies Research CenterBrandeis UniversityBrandeis,USA
  3. 3.The Jerusalem Mental Health CenterHebrew University, Hadassah Medical School, and Peres Academic CenterRehovotIsrael
  4. 4.Jerusalem Mental Health CenterHebrew University, Hadassah Medical SchoolYehudaIsrael

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