Transcending Trauma Project: A Holocaust survivor’s view of tolerance towards perpetrators

December 1, 2017

Since 1991, the Transcending Trauma Project, as part of Council for Relationships, has conducted 305 in-depth life histories with 98 Holocaust survivors, and their children and grandchildren to better understand coping and adaptation after trauma.

Ann and her sister, Mina, after the war in 1945

When we asked the question, “Does the Holocaust affect your political views?” a surprising number of survivors clearly stated that they do not harbor any hatred towards the groups in Europe responsible for the destruction of their families and communities.

Regardless of their wartime experiences, many survivors are able to separate out their emotional responses toward the perpetrators of the specific crimes against them from their views of all the national, ethnic, and religious groups that collaborated with the German Nazi government in the genocide of Jews in Europe during World War II.

Ann is one such survivor, whose interview demonstrates the importance of both of her parents’ influence in forming her beliefs of tolerance towards the perpetrators of the crimes against her family.