JERUSALEM (JTA) – A new study in Israel shows that adult children of Holocaust survivors are more concerned about the threat of a nuclear Iran than those whose parents were not survivors.
“Transmitting the Sum of All Fears: Iranian Nuclear Threat Salience Among Offspring of Holocaust Survivors,” a Bar-Ilan University study written by Amit Shrira, was published in the journal “Psychological Trauma,” an American Psychological Association journal dedicated to the study of trauma and its aftermath.
Shrira first studied 106 people, with 63 born after World War II ended in 1945 and whose parents lived under a Nazi or pro-Nazi regime, and a comparison group of 43 also born after 1945, but whose parents, of European origin, either immigrated to Israel before the war or fled to countries that were not under Nazi occupation. An identical second sample of 450 people gave the same results.
The study found that second-generation Holocaust survivors exhibit greater preoccupation with the Iranian nuclear threat and are more sensitive to nuclear threat. The more they are interested in the subject, the study found, the more general anxiety they report. Also, second-generation Holocaust survivors had a more ominous outlook on the world in general.
“In second generation survivors we most often see that they are a group with resilience and mental resources, and they generally exhibit good functioning on a daily basis,” Shrira said in a statement. “But they do have vulnerabilities which can be manifested during times of stress.”