Collective Trauma From the Lab to the Real World: The Effects of the Holocaust on Contemporary Israeli Political Cognitions

Daphna Canetti, Gilad Hirschberger, Carmit Rapaport, Julia Elad-Strenger, Tsachi Ein-Dor, Shifra Rosenzveig, Tom Pyszczynski, Stevan E. Hobfoll

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


This research tested whether chronic or contextually activated Holocaust exposure is associated with more extreme political attitudes among Israeli Jews. Study 1 (N = 57), and Study 2 (N = 61) found that Holocaust primes increased support for aggressive policies against a current adversary and decreased support for political compromise via an amplified sense of identification with Zionist ideology. These effects, however, were obtained only under an exclusive but not an inclusive framing of the Holocaust. Study 3 (N = 152) replicated these findings in a field study conducted around Holocaust Remembrance Day and showed that the link between Holocaust exposure, ideological identification, and militancy also occurs in real-life settings. Study 4 (N = 867) demonstrated in a nationally representative survey that Holocaust survivors and their descendants exhibited amplified existential threat responses to contemporary political violence, which were associated with militancy and opposition to peaceful compromises. Together, these studies illustrate the Holocaustization of Israeli political cognitions 70 years later.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-21
Number of pages19
JournalPolitical Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 International Society of Political Psychology


  • collective trauma
  • existential threat
  • exposure to political violence
  • intergroup relations
  • political conflict
  • political radicalization


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