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The Effects of the Holocaust on the Children of Survivors

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Being married to the son of two Holocaust survivors, I have a front row view of the effects of the Holocaust on the children of survivors.

Evidence shows that the children of Holocaust survivors, referred to as the “Second Generation”, can be deeply affected – both negatively and positively -- by the horrific events their parents experienced. The intergenerational transmission of trauma is so strong that Holocaust-related influences can even be seen in the “Third Generation”, children of the children of survivors.

We are all born into some story, with its particular background scenery, that affects our physical, emotional, social and spiritual growth. In the case of children of Holocaust survivors, the background story tends to be either a stifled mystery or overflowing with traumatic information. In the first case the child may feel drained and in the second case overwhelmed.

Either way, a child whose background story includes the Holocaust may experience some difficulty in their development. At the same time, the child may gain from their parent’s experience some helpful coping skills.
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