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Video-recording of the webinar is now available : “How Descendants of Holocaust Survivors Experience the Current Pandemic”

“If you ask me how being the child of Holocaust survivors impacts my response to the current situation, I would say it helps. My standard response is, this is nothing compared to what my parents endured.”

“Just before the pandemic was openly recognized, I had the feeling of a pending disaster, like I was living in Germany before Kristalnacht. Does that make sense to you?”

“The feeling of doom? It is familiar… I feel as if I have been waiting for it my entire life…”

“We compare our current situation to our parents’, and no matter how stressful it is, it could never compare to what our survivor parents lived through. So we negate or dismiss our own feelings…”

We have no systematic empirical data yet about the responses of the children of Holocaust survivors to the Corona pandemic. Yet those of us who are part of this group and work with others who are second generation Holocaust survivors, or 2G’s, are experiencing and hearing these reactions, a mix of emotions reflecting both a higher sensitization to stressful triggers that remind the descendants of trauma survivors of their parents’ ordeals, and also manifesting the resilience that comes from having the perspective of what our parents endured and survived.

There are clearly many reactions evoked in children of survivors by the current pandemic, and they, we, seem to need to make sense of these reactions as was reflected by over 500 participants who registered for the webinar organized last week by the Neuberger Holocaust Education Centre in Toronto. Because of this large number, those who registered for the event were requested to send in their questions in writing before the event, so I could see the issues which were most poignant to the audience. These issues resonated very much with the points that were made by the participants in three online conversations I had offered over the past weeks, for 2G’s to share their feelings amongst other 2G’s.

I am grateful to the Neuberger Centre for creating this opportunity and for the link to the webinar which is open to anyone who wishes to listen or share it with others. To watch the video, click on the image above.

Irit Felsen


  1. Yes, yes, yes. Wish you were in Florida & could speak with our group. We love these kinds of discussions. 😊 Bonnie

    • Irit Felsen, Ph.D. says

      Hi Bonnie,
      Thank you so much for your comment! I will surely happily return to Florida to meet in person with my fellow 2Gs, after it is safe again. I have been coming down there fairly reularly over the past few years, and in fact I am planned to give a series of lectures in West Palm Beach in the next year, with the schedule still to be finalized. I will announce all details here on my blog once they are set.
      All the best, and stay well, warmly,

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