Springing from an unprecedented meeting between the sons and daughters of Holocaust survivors and the children of Nazis, Justice Matters explores the psychology of hatred and ethnic resentments. Weissmark argues that the cycle of ethnic and religious strife is kept alive generation after generation through story-telling, with each side recounting the injustice it suffered and the valor it showed in avenging its own group. She describes how these stories or "legacies" transmit moral values, beliefs and emotions and thus preserve the past.
For the research project that spawned this book, psychologist Weissmark, herself the daughter of concentration camp survivors, brought together the children of Holocaust victims and the children of Nazis to see whether they could work together to overcome feelings of fear and guilt. While the children of survivors could not acknowledge that the Nazi parents had also been victims of the Third Reich (the view commonly held by children of the latter), they could recognize that the German offspring were themselves guiltless and had suffered from their historical legacy. All in all, this is hardly new information; other titles have explored the psychology of the children of Holocaust survivors (Helen Epstein's Children of the Holocaust: Conversations with Sons and Daughters of Holocaust Survivors) and of Nazis (Gerald Posner's Hitler's Children). This title confirms the findings of these earlier works but doesn't add anything. Nor is it very useful as a model for ongoing ethnic conflicts (such as in Northern Ireland or Rwanda), since the conference participants could only find common ground in forgiveness for the second generation. For extensive Holocaust and psychology collections only.-Mary Ann Hughes, Neill P.L., Pullman, WA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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Oxford University Press, Incorporated
January 29, 2004
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