Gita Baack


An Exploration of Resilience in the Generation After the Holocaust: Implications for Secondary Inheritors of Trauma, Displacement and Disastrous Events

This dissertation began with the motivation to help build an understanding  
of resilience as demonstrated by the second generation children  
of Holocaust survivors by exploring the question: 
How is it that the members of a generation that have been brought up under the shadow of the Holocaust and its losses, are able to not only to get on with their lives, but to be successful and helpful and compassionate with their fellow human beings”?

Other questions emerged during the course of the research offering the possibility to universalize this discussion and give meaning to 2nd Geners who have inherited the guilt and sorrow from all sides of the Holocaust: the perpetrators; the bystanders; the collaborators; the resistors, the rescuers, or the partisans; as well as 2nd Generation children and adults affected by other devastating events: Native Americans; Korean, Dutch, Vietnamese, Lebanese, Palestinian, Iraqi, Egyptian people including Sephardic Jewish people (includes displaced Jewish people from Iraq, Morocco, Egypt, Iran, Africa, Yemen).

This led to two additional questions: 
How can other 2nd Geners affected by the all sides all of the Holocaust, the perpetrators, collaborators, bystanders, neighbors give meaning to their legacy for the sake of their inheritors?

Globally, how can successive generations affected by trauma, displacement and devastation get on with their lives and be successful, helpful and compassionate?

Finally, I had a deeply personal question and that was to explore a felt memory I have carried in my back since childhood that might explain how my siblings died under the Nazi régime.

This led to a fourth question: 
Do we carry memory from one generation to another?