As the children of the Holocaust reach adulthood, they often need professional help in establishing a new identity and self-esteem. During their childhood their parents have unconsciously transmitted to them much of their own trauma, investing them with all their memories and hopes, so that they become 'memorial candles' to those who did not survive. The book combines verbatim transcriptions of dialogues in individual and group psychotherapy sessions with analyses of dreams, fantasies and childhood memories. Diana Wardi traces the emotional history of her patients, accompanying them on a painful and moving journey into their inner world. She describes the children's infancy in the guilt-laden atmosphere of survivor families, through to their difficult separation from their parents in maturity. she also traces in detail the therapeutic process which culminates in the patients' separation from the role of 'memorial candle'.
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Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Hebrew
Jerusalem psychotherapist Wardi combines excerpts of group therapy sessions with a review of relevant literature to analyze dynamics in the lives of children of Holocaust survivors. Far more technical than Helen Epstein's journalistic exploration, Children of the Holocaust , this book should be useful for specialists. Wardi observes that survivor parents designate certain children as "memorial candles" to fill an emotional void and to continue a family history. Some "memorial candles" function well at work but poorly in human relationships; Wardi suggests that results from a combination of emotional deprivation and maternal overprotection. Children of those who actively struggled against the Nazis have a strong, sometimes compulsive, drive to achieve; children of more passive "victims" often choose professions that involve helping or protecting others. Only when "memorial candles" relax their rigid defense systems can they confront how their parents' humiliation influenced their distorted self-images and sexual identities. Wardi concludes that "memorial candles" must undergo several stages of psychotherapy in order to leave the role assigned by their parents and search for their roots.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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