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Human Reciprocity Among the Jewish Prisoners in the Nazi Concentration Camps

Shamai Davidson

  1. Bent Jensen, "Human Reciprocity - An Arctic Exemplification," American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, Vol. 43, 1973, pp. 447-458.
  2. Joel E. Dimsdale, “The Coping Behavior of Nazi Concentration Camp Survivors,” American Journal of Psychiatry, Vol. 131, 1974, p. 792; Leo Eitinger, Concentration Camp Survivors in Norway and Israel, London, 1964; Hillel Klein, "Delayed Affects and Aftereffects of Severe Traumatization," Israel Annals of Psychiatry, Vol. 12, 1974, pp. 293-303 (see especially the discussion on fantasy and hope); Henry Krystal, “Trauma and Affects,” Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, Vol. 33, 1978, pp. 102-103; Robert J. Lifton, Death in Life - Survivor of Hiroshima, New York, 1968; P. Benner, E. Roskies, R.S. Lazarus, "Stress and Coping under Extreme Conditions," Survivors, Victims and Perpetrators, Joel E. Dimsdale, ed., New York, 1980, Chap. 9; Viktor E. Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning, New York, 1968.
  3. A sustaining fantasy particularly relevant here is “attachment ideation” (preoccupation with important attachment figures, such as parents, siblings, children, if believed to be alive, which mobilizes motivation to live in the hope of reunion). Scott Henderson, Tudor Bostock, "Coping Behavior After Shipwreck," British Journal of Psychiatry, Vol. 131, 1977, pp. 15-20.
  4. Eitinger, op.cit., p. 79.
  5. Hillel Klein, Shulamith Reinharz, "Adaptation in the Kibbutz - Holocaust Survivors and their Families," Mental Health and Social Changes, Louis Miller, ed., Jerusalem, 1972. On the significance of relations between pairs of friends, see Klein (above, note 2).
  6. Terrence Des Pres, The Survivor - An Anatomy of Life in the Death Camps, New York, 1776, pp. 98-99.
  7. Meir Dworzecki, "The Day to Day Stand of the Jews," Jewish Resistance During the Holocaust - Proceedings of the Conference on Manifestations of Jewish Resistance, Jerusalem, 1971, pp. 153-155.
  8. Des Pres, op. cit., pp. 136, 147.
  9. Kitty Hart, I Am Alive, London, New York, 1962.
  10. Gitta Sereny, Into that Darkness - From Mercy Killings to Mass Murder, London, 1974, p. 186.
  11. Ernest Schnable, "A Tragedy Revealed: Heroines’ Last Days," Life, August 18, 1958, pp. 78-114.
  12. Eugene Heimler, Resistance Against Tyranny, London, 1966, p. 161.
  13. Des Pres, op. cit., p. 142.
  14. Elmer Luchterhand, "Prisoner Behavior and Social System in the Nazi Camp," International Journal of Psychiatry, Vol. 13, 1967, pp. 245-264.
  15. Eli Pfefferkorn, “The Case of Bruno Bettelheim and Lina Wertmueller's Seven Beauties” in this book, pp. 663-681.
  16. Elmer Luchterhand, “The Gondola-Car Transports,” International Journal of Social Psychiatry, Vol. 13, 1966-1967, pp. 28-32.
  17. Henry Krystal, ed., Massive Psychic Trauma, New York, 1968.
  18. William G. Niederland, "The Problem of the Survivor," Journal of the Hillside Hospital, Vol. 10, 1961, p. 233.
  19. Krystal, op. cit., p. 105.
  20. Kait Erikson, "Loss of Communality at Buffalo Creek," American Journal of Psychiatry, Vol. 133, 1976, pp. 302-305.
  21. Shamai Davidson, "Massive Psychic Traumatization and Social Support," Journal of Psychosomatic Research, Vol. 23, 1979, pp. 395-402.
  22. Des Pres, op. cit., pp. 97, 100.
  23. On relating to traumatized persecuted people, see Israel-Netherlands Symposium on the Impact of Persecution -- II, Rijswijk, 1981.
  24. Scott Henderson, "The Social Network, Support and Neurosis," British Journal of Psychiatry, Vol. 131, 1977, pp. 155-191. In studies of Israeli soldiers suffering from combat reactions, it has been clearly demonstrated that the occurrence of breakdown during and after battle was directly related to the disruption of group-belonging and cohesion, causing loss of morale and self-esteem. Rafael Moses, "Adult Psychic Trauma - The Question of Early Predisposition and Some Detailed Mechanisms," International Journal of Psychoanalysis, Vol. 59, 1978, pp. 353-363; Meir Steiner, Micha Neumann, "Traumatic Neurosis and Social Support in the Yom Kippur War Returnees," Military Medicine, Vol. 143, 1978, pp. 866-868.
  25. Matussek, in his study of a random sample of survivors, identified by factor analysis a personality dimension labeled "ability to make contact" characterized by active comradely and contact-initiating behavior. This personality dimension was clearly related to chances of survival in the concentration camp. Furthermore, it was demonstrated that this ability to establish interpersonal relations was formed in childhood and had its roots in the quality of the motherchild relationship. Paul Matussek, Internment in Concentration Camps and its Consequences, New York, 1975, pp. 248-249.
  26. This conclusion is supported by the higher incidence of clinical findings with survivors (e.g., from Hungary) who had not gone through an anticipatory period in ghettos and suddenly were torn from homes and families and transported directly to the camps.
  27. Survivors who had experienced constant changes of camp with no continuity of contact suffered more after liberation from withdrawal, inability to communicate, and the process of their rehabilitation took longer. On the other hand, inmates who were moved from camp to camp as part of a stable group or pair were able to maintain helping relationships with each other.
  28. Halina Birenbaum, Hope Is the Last to Die - A Personal Documentation of Nazi Terror, New York, 1971, pp. 95-96.
  29. 9 See, for example, the article by Yaffa Clinch, "Jewish Tradition in the Life of the Concentration-Camp Inmate," in this book, pp. 195-206.
  30. Hope, a basic survival ingredient, becomes augmented with a group. When hope is verbalized, it becomes more powerful through suggestion and confirmation in the group interaction. See Scott Henderson, Tudor Bostock, op. cit., p. 18.
  31. M. Lustigman, "The 5th Business - The Business of Surviving in Extremity," The Human Context, 1975.
  32. Davidson, op. cit.
  33. Shamai Davidson, "Transgenerational Transmission in the Families of Holocaust Survivors," International Journal of Family Psychiatry, Vol. 1, 1980, pp. 95-112.
  34. Birenbaum, op. cit., p. 245.