Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis open access



First Advisor

Victoria Aarons


For the children of Holocaust survivors- the second generation- the past is a treacherous place fractured by a tragedy at once unknown and also familiar and shared. Their connection to a series of events that they were not alive to witness has shaped the identities and psyches of the second generation in vastly complicated ways. The trauma of survivor’s Holocaust experiences passed from survivors to their children as an origin story. The memories of the true horrors they witnessed could not help but find their way into survivor homes and survivors’ parenting. Their parents, as the second generation knows them, were created out of the ashes of the Holocaust. Author Melvin Jules Bukiet put this best when he said, “If a chasm opened in the lives of the First Generation, they could nonetheless sigh on the far side and recall the life Before, but for the Second Generation, there is no Before. In the beginning was Auschwitz”(Bukiet, 12). The very existence of the second generation begins with the camps. If it were not for the Holocaust, it is overwhelmingly likely that their parents simply would not have been in the same place in the aftermath of the war. They would not have frantically chosen each other and had children in an attempt to restart their lives and show the Nazis that they did not win their war against Jews.