Inheriting the shadow : tears unshed, lives unmourned / by Jacqueline Zeller Mendelsohn.
This study involves five individuals whose Jewish parents emigrated from Nazi Europe to the United States, leaving parents and family behind—many of whom were later deported and murdered in the camps of the Holocaust. These five individuals were born from the ashes of the Holocaust and their inheritance is one of light—the present—and shadows—the horrors of the past. The determination and courage of their parents to move forward in a new life modeled for the children an unspoken mandate to live in the present and to bury the shadows of the past. To live in the present meant that the lives that were lost were not to be mourned, and tears could not be shed. That their grandparents remained behind and that their parent survived Hitler's Third Reich had a powerful and unconscious impact on each of the individuals who were interviewed. They continued their parents' determination to live in the present by dissociating themselves from the shadow of mourning and tears, thereby protecting their parents and themselves from the depths of feelings of loss and death, from the pain of buried feelings. Common themes and phrases emerged from the interviews in this phenomenological study. “Living in the light” meant for the participants little acknowledgment of dark feelings and the careful collusion with the silence of the parents. The “archetype of the survivor,” meant life lived in a present without a past and without tears. “Burying the shadow,” meant denied feelings of shame and guilt. “Choosing life” brought the participants to their own separation from their parents' past and to the potential emergence of their individual selves. Each participant explored the personal and archetypal themes of his or her childhood and adult life. Each wove a rich tapestry that intertwined the threads of the past, the present, and a future not dared dreamed of by their parents, a future that can now include tears from the past and for the past.
Record last modified: 2018-05-24 14:02:00
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