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September 2, 2015 / 18 Elul, 5775
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Passing On One’s Holocaust Experiences

Respler-Yael

It is possible that your father is attempting to transfer his wartime experiences in the direction of your 11-year-old grandson since he was the same age when he endured them. Although I understand his subconscious need to do this, your grandchild thankfully has a normal life and should not be subjected to his great-grandfather’s painful memories. His nightmares attest to this point.

Remember these points: Your father seems to be in need of healing; he is striving to accomplish this by finally sharing his stories. It is important that you do not try to stop him from talking about his encounters, only that you alter the audience. In this realm, consider suggesting having him join a support group or, if necessary, seek some psychotherapy in an effort to deal effectively with his issues. And do your best to make sure that he continues to talk about his painful experiences. This will increase the odds for success in his healing process. Hatzlachah!

About the Author: Letters may be emailed to deardryael@aol.com. To schedule an appointment, please call 917-751-4887. Dr. Respler will be on 102.1 FM at 10:00 pm Sunday evenings after Country Yossi.


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4 Responses to “Passing On One’s Holocaust Experiences”


  1. as a survivors son may i say that each and every one of them is a universe of its own
    full with pain memories and shadows that haunt them constantly
    my advise is whatever you do should be done with love and tenderness
    most effective is constantly to change the scenery local and people around him
    keeping him busy with the here now positive feedback may assist
    hope it helps yet true help comes from heaven…

  2. I often receive phone calls from survivors and their children asking for financial help to help pay for home care and nursing homes. The holocaust claims conference is not helping them and their is a lot of red tape to get any help. What are they waiting for.? Perhaps for the holocaust survivors to die out. Rabbi Dr. Bernhard Rosenberg, child of holocaust survivors who died a long time ago. I fight for those still living , not for my parents.

  3. Cody Flecker says:

    The issue about the Holocaust must be told to all regardless of their age and circumstance. The young boy in question reads on Pesach the story of the drowning of the Egyptians at the Red Sea. This is horrific enough for a young person making them not want to swim in an ocean,lake, or even a swimming pool. All of a sudden, deep emotions are coming out concerning the Holocaust that need to be preserved, told, and re-told to all generations, lest we forget it and only read about this tragedy in books, or see it on film. If the young man is having nightmares, then he needs help in solving that mystery. One trouble that modern Jews have today is that they have forgotten, or never knew the real truth about the Holocaust. Had these Jews really knew what had happened to their fellow Jews, they wouldn't be as left wing and Obama supporters as they are right now.

  4. Marsha Roth says:

    I happen to agree with Cody Flecker's words. However, it may be a possible idea to talk to your father, tell him about the nightmares the 11 year old is experiencing and ask him if he would think about talking with you or someone very close to him to record his words and thoughts so that when his great grandson is old enough to truly understand his great grandfather's horrors, he can write about it and make sure the world never forgets. I have a great aunt survivor who never spoke of her time in the camps. Not to her children or grandchildren. She mentally distanced herself from the people she loved the most, most likely to protect them from the horrors and of course, to try to eliminate the horrors from her memory. Today, in her nineties, she is locked in her mind with Alzheimer's. Her son grew up with serious difficulties. Her daughter knows very very little about her mother and little she can tell her own adult married daughters. It's very sad for the family. They lost a beautiful vibrant young lady to Hitler's concentration camps in the 1940's. They lost so much of their mother due to the repression on the horrors & now, it's too late.
    I think you are very lucky to still have your father. I also have to say that my grandparents were the best teachers of Life I could have ever wanted.

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