An IPA study of transgenerational trauma in the third generation of holocaust survivors

Sherman, Antonia (2019) An IPA study of transgenerational trauma in the third generation of holocaust survivors. Doctoral thesis, London Metropolitan University.


There has been a great deal of research looking at the effects of the holocaust on survivors and their children. However, there is far less research focused on the third generation of holocaust survivors. There has been little research on this topic from a Counselling Psychology perspective and studies looking particularly at the Jewish population in the United Kingdom are scarce. This research aims to bridge this gap and explore the experiences of being a grandchild of a holocaust survivor and how this may influence the way they make sense of their lives.

Semi-structured interviews of six participants were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis.

Through analysis three superordinate themes emerged; Holocaust at the core of identity; Salience of family influences within life; internal conflict over sense of purpose: burden vs honour. Nine subordinate themes were also generated and discussed.

Participants highlighted the importance of their grandparent’s trauma in their everyday life. There was a belief that the holocaust was central to their identity and participants emphasised the internal conflict over whether this legacy was a burden or an honour. It is suggested that clinicians working with individuals in the UK who have grandparents that experienced the holocaust, take these familial experiences into consideration when conducting therapeutic interventions.

Sherman-Antonia_final-thesis_August-2019.pdf - Published Version

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