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May 3, 1965

Concentration Camp Survivors in Norway and Israel

Author Affiliations

Brooklyn, NY


By Leo Eitinger. 199 pp. Oslo University Press, Oslo; Allen & Unwin, 40 Museum St, London WC 1, 1964

JAMA. 1965;192(5):427. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03080180085044

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The author, currently clinical director of the Psychiatric Clinic of the University Hospital in Oslo, and himself a survivor of Auschwitz, presents an objective and thoroughly critical exposition of the morbid psychological (and other) sequelae resulting from "the severe psychic and physical stress situations to which human beings were exposed in the concentration camps of World War II." The persons investigated numbered 590: 328 Norwegians, 262 Israelis. The two groups were exposed to comparable physical abuse, yet their experiences differed in significant respects. The Norwegian was arrested allegedly for what he did; the Jew because he was a Jew. The Norwegian was punished. The Jew, if not immediately exterminated, was systematically degraded, humiliated, and subjected to brutality, starvation, and overwork. The results—"deep changes in personality, a mental disability which affects every side of the personality's psychic life."

The author critically reviews the findings of previous investigators, and presents his own

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