Cadav­er­land: Invent­ing a Pathol­o­gy of Cat­a­stro­phe for Holo­caust Survival

Michael Dor­land
  • Review
By – August 25, 2011
My father-in-law and two of his broth­ers sur­vived the Holo­caust and immi­grat­ed to the Unit­ed States in the late 1940’s. My uncles did not hes­i­tate to talk about what hap­pened, but my father-in-law was very reluc­tant to dis­cuss his time in Europe. His fear of being far from his home stemmed, I’m sure, from his expe­ri­ences in the war. Many oth­er sur­vivors suf­fered from far worse phys­i­cal and psy­cho­log­i­cal scars.
The col­lec­tion of peo­ple known as Holo­caust sur­vivors” begat sev­er­al long-term stud­ies regard­ing the effects of this unspeak­able crime. Cadav­er­land attempts to look at, in his­tor­i­cal con­text, the last 60 years of the psy­chi­atric med­ical lit­er­a­ture and research of this unique pop­u­la­tion. This vol­ume most­ly cen­ters on the French med­ical com­mu­ni­ty and their psy­cho­log­i­cal stud­ies of Holo­caust sur­vivors. It is a unique and often over­looked per­spec­tive on a his­tor­i­cal peri­od that has been eval­u­at­ed in numer­ous oth­er avenues.
The text is well writ­ten, schol­ar­ly, and author­i­ta­tive. The book goes beyond the sur­vivor to include the impact on fam­i­lies as well. Any­one inter­est­ed in the psy­cho­log­i­cal aspects of trau­ma will find this vol­ume a worth­while read.
Paul M. Arnold, MD, is pro­fes­sor of neu­ro­surgery and direc­tor of the Spinal Cord Injury Cen­ter at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Kansas.

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