Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Study Type

Mixed methods


School for Social Work


Children of Holocaust survivors-Psychology, Grandchildren of Holocaust survivors-Psychology, Secondary traumatic stress, Post-traumatic stress disorder, Intergenerational, Transmission, Trauma, Holocaust, Second generation, Intergenerational communication


This study was undertaken to help resolve current debate in the field as to whether or not the traumatic effects of the Holocaust are transmitted intergenerationally. What was preventing or, conversely, enabling the passage of symptomatology from one generation to the next, thereby accounting for the contradiction in research, and clinicians’ observations during their work with Holocaust families? Over 200 people received the study through social media and snowball sampling requesting participation in a Qualtrics survey consisting of 3 screening questions, 5 demographic questions, 4 sections of multiple-choice questions, and 2 open-ended questions. The four sections assessed parental PTSD symptomatology, attachment, psychological and social impacts on the children of Holocaust survivors, and community support. The findings of this research confirmed previous studies that parental Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptomatology is more than likely related to offspring adverse psychological and social impacts. Results also support that those children whose parents show high levels of PTSD, and who experience certain psychological and social troubles tend to have an anxious attachment style with their parent. Finally, findings show children of Holocaust survivors characteristically feel driven to undo and heal their caregiver's trauma by defending their caregivers from emotional and social injury. Results that were not significant are discussed along with limitations to this investigation, and suggestions for further research are outlined.




iv, 87 pages. M.S.W., Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Ma., 2016. Includes bibliographical references (pages 60-65)

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Social Work Commons