Dr. Jeffrey Koerber
This paper will examine the effects of trauma among Holocaust survivors after the war, including Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD), triggers, nightmares, and anxiety. It will review clinical research by comparing it to the range of experiences of Holocaust survivors as described in videotaped interviews during the late 1980s and early 1990s. Upon reviewing existing literature, it becomes clear that PTSD is life-long for Holocaust survivors. PTSD is a mental health condition triggered by either experiencing or witnessing a terrifying event or a series of events. There are four general types of PTSD symptoms: intrusive memories, avoidance, negative changes in thinking and mood, and changes in physical and emotional reactions. People with PTSD may avoid situations that remind them of the traumatic event, as is the case with Trude Plack, who describes her aversion to flags. She told an interviewer in the 1990s how she once saw a line of flags posted every six feet, causing her to tell her husband that she “couldn’t stay here” and needed to leave. Her need to avoid flags was triggered by witnessing Nazi flags during the Holocaust. According to Trude, her strong reaction to flags has left an irrevocable impression on her. This “irrevocable impression” is a common experience of Holocaust survivors, in which extreme stress in childhood and young adulthood endured from the Holocaust is life-long. Ultimately, symptoms of PTSD in Holocaust survivors have been recognized even more than seventy years after the Holocaust.
Braker, Natalie, "The Effects of Trauma on Holocaust Survivors After the War" (2023). Student Scholar Symposium Abstracts and Posters. 586.