LATE-LIFE MANIFESTATIONS OF ANCESTRAL TRAUMA: The Case of Older Adult Offspring of Holocaust Survivors

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


A fascinating, yet underexplored question is whether ancestral trauma can affect the aging process of subsequent generations. The need to answer this question becomes pressing as an increased number of offspring of Holocaust survivors, the so-called Second Generation (2g) face the challenges of old age. Nevertheless, the answer to that question is not as straightforward as might seem, and therefore, there is a need to understand in which families (“who”), via which mechanisms (“how”), and under which circumstances (“when”) should one expect to see the signs of trauma and its transmission on descendants’ aging. These factors can be aligned in an interdisciplinary, integrative model delineating the pathways connecting parental exposure to the Holocaust with descendants’ aging. In the model, the consequences of parental trauma on aging offspring become most pronounced under adverse situations. In these circumstances 2g may fare less well because of multiple factors: psychological, behavioral, and biological. Further supporting the model, the chapter presents some recent findings regarding 2g coping with age-related challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. The chapter concludes by describing how the model can serve as a platform to guide and inspire prospective theoretical thinking, empirical investigation, and practical interventions designed to address the potential needs of aging 2g.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRoutledge International Handbook of Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Descendants of Holocaust Survivors
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781000926118
ISBN (Print)9781032254333
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 selection and editorial matter, Judith Tydor Baumel-Schwartz and Amit Shrira; individual chapters, the contributors.


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