Abstract

Abstract:

Born in Germany in 1929, Georges-Arthur Goldschmidt was classified as a Jew under the Nuremberg racial laws of 1935. During the Holocaust, he found refuge at a boarding school in France at the age of ten. Because he acquired German and French in distinct contexts, Goldschmidt is considered to be a coordinate bilingual who experiences “language independence.” This has significant psychological implications because different variations of object relations, ego boundaries, psychic structures, and attachment systems were encoded into his languages. Consequently, Goldschmidt was able to distance himself from trauma and modulate the intensity of his emotions through his useof language. At first, German held many positive connotations linked to his family and childhood; however, the rise of Nazism caused it to become inextricably tied to violence, trauma, and genocide. Goldschmidt came to viewFrench as a language of protection, liberation, and healing. In French, Goldschmidt was able to become more aware of a wordless, unspeakable experience located at the center of his being. At first, he was not able to articulate trauma using his own words; however, he was able to recognize elements of it in literature. When reading, Goldschmidt projected himself into texts, and experienced himself as actually becoming the fictional characters. Inhabiting alternate literary personas allowed him to process trauma in an indirect way, break out of intense isolation, re-establish the legitimacy of his identity, and re-inscribe himself into the shared space of humanity.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-1836
Print ISSN
0098-9355
Pages
pp. 389-403
Launched on MUSE
2020-06-05
Open Access
No
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