"What happened after" : meaning-making in the lives of Holocaust survivors / Patrick J. Meade.
The primary objective of this study is to understand the role of meaning in the lives of people who have endured the Holocaust by examining the types of meanings they have created in their lives.Participants were recruited through an arrangement with the speakers' bureau of a Holocaust museum. 41 interviews were conducted in all. The primary inclusion criterion was that a participant had been victimized by Nazi authorities in the Holocaust era in Europe between 1939 and 1945. A single interview over a period of 2½–5 hours was conducted with each participant, following a semi-structured approach that used a protocol to guide questions and that allowed room for in-depth exploration. Of the thirteen interviews in which I had co-constructed the interview, I selected a sample of six participants for analysis, with a mix of gender, wartime setting and country of origin.A thematic narrative analysis methodology was used in which I coded each narrative transcript for meaning and developed a set of coding categories. I identified the most significant themes connected with meaning for each participant and recontextualized each theme in the life of the interviewee incorporating examples of meaning from the narrative. I asked two peer reviewers to review my coding categories and to examine my proposed thematic analysis, and made some minor modifications based on their suggestions.The results show that meaning-making is an important process in the lives of the Holocaust survivors in this study. Each survivor has a unique pattern of themes connected with meaning, and each type of meaning has a connection with their experiences during the Holocaust. A total of 17 themes connected with meaning have emerged as being significant. Some types of themes are shared by multiple participants, such as speaking out about the Holocaust, the centrality of family, and the influence of religion. In addition, each participant has at least one theme distinct to her- or himself alone, such as a desire to become a medical doctor, or the appreciation of life itself. This study has implications for further research, for education and for therapeutic use.
Record last modified: 2018-05-18 16:20:00
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