65 Years After World War II: A Family Secret
Monday, October 15, 2012
8:00 PM-9:30 PM
Location: The Alumni Dining Room at Hebrew College
Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute open members seminar.
Presenter Gerald Schneiderman, M.D.; discussants James Herzog, M.D., Joanna Michlic, Ph.D., and Harold Bursztajn, M.D.; introduction by Liza Schneiderman, LICSW. The Andover Newton community is invited to attend.
Dr. Gerald Schneiderman, a Canadian child and adult psychiatrist, established the bereavement research team at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children. His longtime work in the area of bereavement led to an interest in family traditions and secrets, which led him to Poland. In collaboration with the Department of Psychology at the University of Warsaw, he interviewed 20 individuals who had been unaware of their Jewish origins for decades. They ranged in age from their 20s to their 70s. Either they or their parents had been born into Jewish families, but this fact was kept hidden from them to protect them from the dangers of extermination, either during World War II Poland or during the Russian occupation.
Dr. Schneiderman will share his reflections on the impact of this secret on their identities, and the effect of the revelation of this aspect of their backgrounds. He will include a moving film clip from one of his interviews.
His presentation will be discussed by Dr. James Herzog, for many years the chair of the BPSI seminar on Transmission of Trauma, with reference to the Holocaust, and consultant to the German government on the rise of right-wing extremism and its relationship to German history and behavior; Dr. Joanna Beata Michlic, a social historian and director of the HBI (Hadassah-Brandeis Institute) Project on Families, Children, and the Holocaust; and Dr. Harold Bursztajn, co-founder of the Harvard Medical School Program in Psychiatry and the Law, whose scholarly interests include psychoanalytic, ethical, and forensic exploration of decision-making and identity in the midst of uncertainty, moral, hazard, and trauma.