West 1 Lana West English 8-2 Mr.

Biegel 12 November 2009 The Holocaust: Aftermath Many Have Missed “Honor the dead, but mistrust the living.” This phrase was whispered throughout the concentration camps and ghettos during, and after, the Holocaust. The death rate was huge; approximately ten million. It had many crippling effects on the human race, and questioned the trust people had in their country. The Holocaust clearly had the most damaging effects on the human mind in history. In 1945, the Holocaust ended. Many people thought that the liberation of the camps and ghettos would solve all their problems. Millions hoped in vain that life would go back to the way it was. But, after such a traumatic event, this would prove to be impossible. For many, some of the hardest times lay ahead. When the survivors integrated back into society after the war, they found it very hard to adjust. It was made difficult by the fact that they often aroused unclear feelings of fear, avoidance, guilt, shame, and hesitation. For the things that they had been through, this was perfectly normal. Many survivors described themselves as incapable of living life to the fullest, as a result of barely being able to perform basic tasks such as setting a table, brushing their hair, or even using a fork and knife to cut meat. Most survivors realized how completely they had been isolated after they regained physical and physiological stability.

West 2 The challenges faced after the Holocaust differed from person to person. The challenges, believe it or not, depended greatly on the survivors’ life before the Holocaust began. The adjustments and coping mechanisms used by survivors were affected by the aspects of their childhood experiences, developmental histories, family constellations, and emotional family bonds. For example, if you were very close to your mother, and during the Holocaust she died, it would be harder for you to accept the fact and move on compared to someone who wasn’t. After the liberation of the camps, many were left without knowing whether or not their family or friends were alive. They would wander around aimlessly, looking for a familiar face, listening for a voice calling their name. Seeing this, the government took it upon themselves to try and help. They set up a few Displaced Persons’ Camps, hoping that families and friends would be reunited. These camps helped many, but devastated even more. The thing that pulled many people through the hardest of times were the thoughts and memories of family members, friends, and loved ones. There was much relief when they were reunited. But, many people just seemed to ‘disappear.’ Some were never heard of again. Survivors went to Displaced Persons’ Camps looking for not only the ones they wished to find, but for a sense of relief. Instead, many found anguish, despair, and a deep sense of loss that had not been experienced before. It is much better to know that someone is dead than never knowing what became of them. These people would now be searching for the rest of their lives, even if they didn’t realize it. Because the traumatization of the Holocaust was both individual and collective, most people made efforts to create a “new family” to replace the nuclear family that had been

West 3 lost. Women who had lost their own children would take in children who had lost their parents.

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