I am pleased to report that a video of my lecture “Defying Evil: Child and Adolescent Holocaust Survivors” at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, as part of the Eighteenth Annual Fanya Gottesfeld Heller Conference, is now available online.
The lecture addressed the adaptation of young survivors to the inordinately traumatic experiences they endured during the Holocaust and to additionally traumatic post-trauma experiences. Even the luckiest of children who survived with parents or whose parents returned after the war to claim them endured multiple traumatic experiences. For the most part, child survivors have not spoken about their past for many years, and the reasons for their silence were discussed. The characteristics of coping and some of the life-long themes that remain with child and adolescent survivors were described. The successful adaptation of this group, against all odds, speaks to the critical importance of early secure attachments and to the life-saving importance of the availability of at least one supportive, protective adult during the traumatic times.