You can find countless stories of the atrocities committed during the Holocaust as told firsthand by those souls that have witnessed, lived through, and survived indescribable horror. From great retellings from authors such as Elie Wiesel to dramatized, influential works of fiction from writers including John Boyne, it becomes clear the Holocaust has impacted more than the people that directly experienced it.
As the era of first-generation Holocaust survivors approaches its end, their stories as well as their trauma lives on, however, through their descendants. As a consequence, the descendants of Holocaust survivors, as current research suggests, have also been affected from the result of the experience of their parents and grandparents. Few stories are ever written by the heirs of those who endured that indescribable horror and in the way that it manifests psychologically just two generations later.
Author Dr. Jack Fried, born to the son and daughter of Holocaust survivors, is one of the many whose life has been forever changed by the events that transpired during the Holocaust. Inter-generational trauma is not a well-known concept, but, for Dr. Fried, it meant that he had to take a journey into a past he didn’t personally know—his grandparents’ past—to find pieces to a puzzle that may answer his questions about the origins of a lifelong battle he has had with separation anxiety. His trip took him to Poland where he uncovered a slew of pent-up emotions, fears, and dark histories.
Oddly, as Dr. Fried learns about his family’s past and his present, he unknowingly embarks on a spiritual journey into Jewish mysticism, which slowly enables him to transcend his lifelong struggles with a fear and anxiety that didn’t belong to him. All of the inhibiting emotions were released upon his connection to the strife of his ancestors.
Heirs of Auschwitz is an extremely worthwhile read for anyone with unresolved feelings, anyone who has not witnessed or has avoided witnessing human suffering, and for those who cannot fathom what hell on earth is like.
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