Third generation narratives of the Holocaust: a narrative auto-ethnographic inquiry

Ollman-Hirt, Emily (2020) Third generation narratives of the Holocaust: a narrative auto-ethnographic inquiry. DCPsych thesis, Middlesex University / Metanoia Institute. [Thesis]

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Much of the previous research into the third generation after the holocaust focuses upon measures of wellbeing and pathology, following the well-established trauma-resilience narrative. This study makes a unique contribution to a more nuanced story of the on-going impact of the holocaust upon the lives of grandchildren of survivors living in the UK. This narrative auto-ethnographic study incorporates the author’s third generation voice along with four culturally-similar others. Data collection was carried out during a three part focus group, and presented in the study as narrative representations. A thematic analysis produced eight main themes derived from the data revealing a sustained impact of the holocaust upon grandchildren of survivors that is varied, encompassing experience that is positive as well as ‘burdensome’ upon their lives.

The individual differences expressed within this study suggests that the third generation varies widely in the ways in which they relate to their family history. A previously assumed direct relationship between conscious knowing and greater resolution of trauma appears to be complex; the narratives expressed in this study suggest that it is not what they know, but what form this knowing takes that is most central to their experience, and that there are inherent conflicts to be managed with either knowing or not knowing about ones history. In the discussion of this study, the strong emotions expressed by third generation survivors are linked to human survival adaptations that are inherited from their families. Rather than the trauma itself, it is these strategies that are ‘taught’. The third generation co-participants involved in this study expressed an acute awareness of their own ‘responsibleness’ in the world, with a strong sense of purpose, meaning and identity as emerging positive impacts from their holocaust histories, accompanied by a focus upon regeneration and growth. A sense of belonging and community are discussed as potential protective factors for the third generation.

Item Type: Thesis (DCPsych)
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology > Psychology
B. > Theses
C. Collaborative Partners > Metanoia Institute
Item ID: 30637
Depositing User: Brigitte Joerg
Date Deposited: 16 Apr 2021 11:16
Last Modified: 21 Jun 2021 16:49

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