The Holocaust as a context for telling life stories

Title

The Holocaust as a context for telling life stories

Creator

de Vries B; Suedfeld P; Krell R; Blando JA; Southard P

Publisher

International Journal Of Aging & Human Development

Date

2005

Subject

Female; Humans; Male; Aged; Middle Aged; Survivors; Aging; Adolescent Transitions; 20th Century; History; Holocaust; Narration/history

Description

Using a narrative approach, this study explores the role of the Holocaust in the life stories of Survivors, contrasted with two comparison groups (one Jewish and one non-Jewish) whose direct experiences did not include surviving the Holocaust. Using the technique of the life line and measures such as number and type of life events identified, as well as the events marking the beginning and ending of the life story, several differences were found between the three groups. Survivors identified an average of 10 life events, fewer than the non-Jewish comparison group (18) but more than the Jewish comparison group (7). Most of these events were positive, although less so for the Jewish comparison group, with very few future events identified by any of the groups. The War marked the beginning of the life story for most of the survivors and their stories ended at an earlier age than did the stories of the comparison groups. Further, WWII events predominated in the stories of the survivors, as did family births and relationship events (comparably seen in the stories of the Jewish comparisons). In contrast, the comparison groups, and particularly the non-Jewish group, identified greater numbers of career, education, illness, and family death events. It is proposed that the pronounced effect of the Holocaust in the life stories of survivors (and to a lesser, though still evident, degree of the Jewish comparisons) serves as an anchoring and contextual influence on the nature and quality of life stories told. That is, the Holocaust sets the standard for what events merit mention and further determines the nature of the events reported and their distribution.
2005

Rights

Article information provided for research and reference use only. PedPalASCNET does not hold any rights over the resource listed here. All rights are retained by the journal listed under publisher and/or the creator(s).

Type

Journal Article

Citation List Month

Backlog

Pages

213-228

Issue

3

Volume

60

Citation

de Vries B; Suedfeld P; Krell R; Blando JA; Southard P, “The Holocaust as a context for telling life stories,” Pediatric Palliative Care Library, accessed November 30, 2021, https://pedpalascnetlibrary.omeka.net/items/show/13268.

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