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Response to the Holocaust: Unit 6.docx

Jewish Studies
Course Code
Dr.Wayne Allen

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Shame and Guilt
Thursday, February 28, 2013
6:07 PM
The experience of the grandparents have had a significant affect on the next generations
(children, grandchildren)
o Their family have not been spared
o Children of survivors have grown up with psychological issues and even severe mental issues
o Does it ever stop??
Does it dilute over time?
What is shame??
o Feelings of unworthiness; inferiority; a feeling of profound inadequate and is usually
accompanies by a belief of unworthiness which is also self destructive
o Shame can be useful; it is a bad thing to have.. But it isnt a bad thing to use
Can be used as a vehicle for obedience or complying
e.g. Amish: if someone does something against the rules, they are called out and
shamed therefore stopping others from not complying
o Not just a human reaction but it can actually have some value when applied in society
o An abiding shame could lead to destructive self hatred
What is guilt??
o Anger directed inward; rather than being angry at people around you, you turn it on
o Unlike shame, guilt can be corrected
o Sometimes guilt can evolve into shame
Survivor Guilt
Address the question not of "why me" BUT of "why not me"
o Everyone is dead.. Why not me; my family got torcherd... Why not me
o e.g. War veteran: why did everyone die but me?
Why do they do this??
o In the same situations, there are different outcomes; the survival of one is construed at the
expense of another
o Telling someone not to feel guilty is like telling someone not to be hot or cold because guilt
The fact that people feel guilty CAN a good thing
o Address hopelessness and powerlessness
o Strengthens the connection with the dead
o Motives the fact that they have to do something about it... Could be kindness
o The sense of powerlessness can empower you to do something else
o "Im here for a reason"
Their life was spared for something greater; I survived because I have something
important to accomplish
Guilt has a downside...
o A perpetual need to think you are a coward; regretting doing something that could have
saved someone else etc
o These feelings idolizes the dead
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