Life after the Holocaust: how Survivors managed to find success

Chen, Esther (2011) Life after the Holocaust: how Survivors managed to find success. Doctoral thesis, Anglia Ruskin University.

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This research conducted 65 years after the outbreak of World War II, being almost the last opportunity to examine personally how Holocaust Survivors (H.Ss) managed to build a successful life for themselves, despite their deep trauma. The questions of this research are: What were the motivational factors of H.Ss. that enabled them to build a successful life? What were their difficulties in overcoming the trauma and achieving their goals? The present study uses a qualitative methodology in a descriptive–interpretive construc-tivist approach. It describes and clarifies a complex phenomenon from subjects` personal point of view. The data was processed from 2 sources: interviews with 12 Survivors, and my reflections following the interviews. A content analysis was then performed, and cat-egories and sub-categories were extracted. The research findings show that all of the Survivors interviewed for this study wished to continue living, despite the loss, the suffering and the traumas they had experienced. They had different motivations for wanting to continue living and succeeding, like the need for a meaningful life, their need to belong, work, believe in ideology, to be together and achieve self fulfillment. Success meant different things to the people interviewed. The main difficulties indicated by the Survivors were emotional isolation, disturbing memories, loneliness, fear, and insecurity, the attitude of the local population to the H.Ss and absorption difficulties. Some of them concealed and repressed Holocaust experienc-es, some of the Survivors may wear the success mask even nowadays, others started to share their traumatic experiences with their environment and their families after 60 years of silence. IX This is contrary to the assumption of this research that the most widely spread motivation was the need to belong and have a meaningful life. Some of them kept their pain inside. Maybe this was their way to show the world that they made it and that they were normal people.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Keywords: survivors, meaningful life, success, belonging, the second world war
Faculty: Theses from Anglia Ruskin University
Depositing User: Melissa Campey
Date Deposited: 03 May 2018 14:37
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2021 19:02

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