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Not in My FamilyGerman Memory and Responsibility After the Holocaust$
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Roger Frie

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780199372553

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199372553.001.0001

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Confronting the Legacy of My Grandparents

Confronting the Legacy of My Grandparents

(p.53) Chapter 2 Confronting the Legacy of My Grandparents
Not in My Family

Roger Frie

Oxford University Press

This chapter considers the challenge of being identified with Germany’s dark history and explores the struggle to acknowledge the meanings of the author’s family history. Using autobiographical illustration, the author suggests that people respond differently to the past depending on the situations they are in and those with whom they interact. This is especially true when confronting the Holocaust. Turning to his psychotherapy practice, the author suggests that how his patients perceive him creates different possibilities for reflecting on history and trauma. The author considers the notion of inherited guilt and shame connected to his German background and traces its impact on his personal life and professional identity as a psychotherapist and psychoanalyst. The author’s hesitancy to confront his family history leads him to examine the psychoanalytic profession, which has struggled to openly address the legacy of the Holocaust in the lives of psychoanalysts.

Keywords:   identity, belonging, emotion, historical trauma, biculturalism, psychoanalysis, guilt, responsibility, New York

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