Living the Holocaust by the Survivors Essay

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Living the Holocaust by the Survivors

World War II ended in Europe on May 7, 1945, but to many survivors of the Holocaust, the war would remain with them for the rest of their lives. Not only had it brutally stripped them of their families, but also of their own humanity. As the survivors came to realizations that their families would not return to them and the initial hardships of returning to a normative life wore off, the memories of the concentration camps and the shock of brutal separation from family came flooding back into their minds. These memories often caused radical change in mental behavior and, to a degree, somaticized themselves into the “survivor’s syndrome.” (Niederland 14) The symptoms seen in “survivor’s
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In a sense, he demonstrates how “survivor’s syndrome” affects the survivor, Vladek, who is unable to shake the past in habit or thought, and a son of the survivor, Artie, who attempts to cope with his father’s reality.

In Psychopathology of Concentration Camp Survivors, Trautman discusses how the manifestations of the “survivor’s syndrome” are related to the “immediate effects and adaptive reactions the victims manifested in the original situation of acute stress and terror.” (124) One of these manifestations is anxiety, which manifests itself in the form of panic, distrust, social isolation, obsessive compulsion, and irritability in response to events that could be seen as “an imaginary reproduction of the persecution memories.” (126) Artie illustrates some of these irritabilities in an attempt to understand from what perspective Vladek has, as opposed to himself. Comparing to other survivors, he even notices that “lots of the people [at the resort] are survivors—like those Karps—if they’re whacked up it’s in a different way from Vladek.” (Maus II, 22) Before the war, it may have been possible that Vladek was already having problems, such as when he noticed Anja’s pills. (Maus I, 19) In this manner, it is completely possible for obsessive-compulsive disorder to be amplified by catastrophe, but what series of events could cause this? What could cause Vladek to be concerned about counting
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