“Who Am I in Relation to My Past, in Relation to the Other?”

German and Israeli Students Confront the Holocaust and Each Other
  • Dan Bar-On
  • Tal Ostrovsky
  • Dafna Fromer
Part of the The Plenum Series on Stress and Coping book series (SSSO)


The young people of today’s Germany and Israel did not experience the Holocaust, not even its aftereffects as children of survivors (Bergmann & Jucovy, 1982; Danieli, 1980) or perpetrators (Bar-On, 1989). Though we may still find such aftereffects among the third generation, these are not clear-cut and extensive (Bar-On, 1994; Segev, 1992). The young can try to ignore its effects or to reconstruct it through history books, the media, or public discourse, thereby expressing the collective memory (Friedlander, 1992). They also may try to make sense of it through the memory of their parents and grandparents. This is a painful process because of the dialectical tension within memory and between memory and history, described by Pierre Nora in the opening quotation. We discussed earlier a group process through which we tried to elaborate the issues of different collective reconstruction of the past and their impact on the present social and political perspective among German and Israeli students (Bar-On, 1992; Bar-On, Hare, Brusten, & Beiner, 1993; Brendler, 1994). Since then, many new social and political changes have taken place in both countries as part of the global changes between East and West: the peace process in the Middle East, the Russian immigration to Israel, the unification of Germany, and the rise of the extreme right in Germany. We asked ourselves: What effect did these processes have on the identity-reconstruction and -formation of Israeli and German students and on their relationship to each other?


Group Process Life Story Peace Process Holocaust Survivor German Student 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dan Bar-On
    • 1
  • Tal Ostrovsky
    • 1
  • Dafna Fromer
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Behavioral SciencesBen Gurion University of the NegevBeer ShevaIsrael

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