This research explores the relationship between the intergenerational transmission of trauma and the construction of spiritual worldviews among children of Holocaust survivors. Based on a qualitative study of fifty descendants of the Holocaust, the study examines the effects of traumatic inheritance on the beliefs surrounding God and notions of the Divine. The study’s findings reveal that children of survivors embrace varied and alternative belief systems that follow two trends in modern religious thought: belief in a personalized rather than institutionalized notion of a higher power and a search for meaning through immanence and personal forms of transcendence. In adopting these spiritual perspectives, descendants reject the patriarchal traditions of pre-Holocaust Judaism, creating new forms of religious culture and imagery that are in part a response to the failure of a patriarchal God in the face of Nazi destruction. The findings contribute to a deeper understanding of the Holocaust and the crisis of masculinity that informs the spiritual legacy of Jewish genocide.


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pp. 65-82
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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