Living alongside past trauma : Lived experiencesof Australian grandchildren of Holocaust survivors


We explore the experience of intergenerational transmission of trauma in grandchildren of Holocaust survivors.



Impacts of mass and collective trauma may exceed those initially affected to include the survivor's extended family and, thus, impact families for generations to come. Understanding these impacts is paramount to developing interventions and support programs for the survivors and their families.



Fourteen semistructured interviews were conducted with randomly recruited 11 female and three male Australian grandchildren of Holocaust survivors (Mage = 36.5 years). Data were analyzed using interpretative phenomenological analysis.



Six main themes were identified: knowledge about the past, communication modes about the Holocaust, kinship with other descendants, emotional reactions, the meaning of the Holocaust, and impacts on present life.



The findings demonstrated that intergenerational transmission of trauma occurred and included both features of vulnerability and resilience. Although traumatic content was mainly transmitted through open communication, echoes of the past trauma were also transmitted nonverbally.



There is scope for developing and formulating guidelines for clinicians working with families of collective trauma survivors to educate the clients and support familial communication pathways. Additional clinical and research implications are discussed.

Daliya Greenfeld, Andrea Reupert, Nicky Jacobs | 2022
In: Family Relations ; ISSN: 1741-3729
Online ahead of print DOI: 10.1111/fare.12737
Casuistry, Communication, Family Members, Grandchildren, Holocaust (en), Intergenerational Effects, Jews, Psychotrauma, Resilience, Survivors, World War II