2: The Intergenerational Transmission of Trauma: Religion, Spirituality, and Ritual among Children and Grandchildren of Holocaust Survivors

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This chapter investigates the relationship between inherited trauma and religious beliefs and practices among children and grandchildren of Holocaust survivors. It is a study of genocide, religion and traumatic inheritance, as religious culture becomes a vehicle for both the memorialization of the past and the means by which a religious/spiritual future is reimagined. The chapter makes use of an interpretive framework that, in its departure from the prevailing psychological approach to traumatic transference, focuses on the social structures of family and culture – religious beliefs systems and ritual practices – through which a history of genocidal trauma is passed on from one generation to the next. It offers an exploration into the adaptive and creative religious responses that children and grandchildren of Holocaust survivors employ as they negotiate the responsibility of culture-bearing for future generations among an historically threatened religio-ethnic population.

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