Second-generation Holocaust survivors more anxious about Iranian nuclear threat

Not only is the second-generation more interested in and preoccupied with the Iranian threat, but they also bear a more ominous outlook on the world in general.

April 14, 2015 15:28
1 minute read.
yad vashem

IDF General Staff holds meeting at Yad Vashem ahead of Holocaust Memorial Day, April 13, 2015. (photo credit: IDF SPOKESMAN’S UNIT)


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The adult children of Holocaust survivors are more anxious about the Iranian nuclear threat than their counterparts who are not second-generation survivors, according to a study published by researchers at Bar- Ilan University.

The study, called “Transmitting the Sum of All Fears: Iranian Nuclear Threat Salience Among Offspring of Holocaust Survivors,” was published in a recent issue of the American Psychological Association’s Psychological Trauma journal, which is dedicated to the study of trauma and its aftermath.

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Study author Dr. Amit Shrira, of the interdisciplinary department of social sciences, aimed to test the “hostile- world scenario” among second-generation Holocaust survivors. The term “hostile-world scenario” was coined by Israeli researcher Prof. Dov Shmotkin to describe one’s image of actual or potential threats to life, or more broadly, to one’s physical and mental integrity.

Most second-generation survivors most often have considerable resilience and mental resources, and they generally exhibit good functioning on a daily basis, but they do have vulnerabilities that can be manifested during times of stress, the author said.

Shrira first studied a total of 106 people. Sixty-three of them were born after World War II ended in 1945 and their parents lived under a Nazi or pro-Nazi regime. Participants in the control group of 43 people were also born after 1945, but their European- born parents either immigrated to Israel before the war or fled to countries that were not under Nazi occupation.

Not only is the second-generation more interested in and preoccupied with the Iranian threat, but this group also bears a more ominous outlook on the world in general – a world of threat and significant danger that can befall upon them, Shrira said.

To ensure that the results were accurate, the Bar-Ilan researcher performed an identical study on a second sample of 450 people (comprised of 300 second-generation Holocaust survivors and 150 comparison participants).


The same results were found, giving additional validity to the findings.

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