Nazi leader, Doll Hitler believed, and persuaded many others to believe that the Jews were the cause of Germany’s failure in WWW and also, as a race, they were inferior and damaging to the racial “purity” of the German race. The first official concentration camp was Dachas, opened in Germany in March of 1933. This camp was intended for prisoners of war and political prisoners, but this first concentration camp became a simple template for the construction of more disgusting camps, hosting more than just ” political prisoners”, and for the “Final Solution death camps.
Within 7 years of the construction of the first concentration camp, the most infamous concentration camp in history, Auschwitz-Bureau, was established. Within 5 years of the establishment of Auschwitz-Bureau, an estimated 1. 1 million people died within the camp, 10% of the total estimated deaths as a result of the holocaust. During the Holocaust, as many 1. 5 million children died, 1 million of which were Jewish children. It is recorded that 7 babies, 4 girls and 3 boys, where born in Dachas concentration camp during the Holocaust and 2 babies, 1 boy ND 1 girl were born in Auschwitz-Bureau before or on liberation day.
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Many pregnant women and unborn children entered concentration camps and nearly all had a similar fate- death. In many cases, the unborn child would die in womb sometime during the fetal period and gestational age from starvation. Pregnant women, if discovered, were sent to death or to be experimented on. If a woman did give birth in camp, undiscovered, the baby usually died of starvation, disease or pneumonia. If a baby was born and camp then discovered, Nazi guards would make women sign a form to “sign heir baby over” which was really a form of agreement to euthanasia.
Many children entered concentration camps during the Holocaust, and few left alive on liberation day. Being encamped as a child in this severe environment is severely traumatic childhood event that leaves cognitive, psychological, neurophysiology, and physical scars that grow with age. Since 1 966 there have been 246 clinical and research based publications focusing on early childhood trauma and psychological effects. The results of studies show that psychological and cognitive effects of trauma experienced ring early childhood are observed even 60 years after the trauma when the child survivors are in the elderly phase of life.
Holocaust child survivors, now aging adults, report more dissociated symptoms in everyday life, less satisfaction with their lives, and they also perceive their life events as more stressful. This is because child survivors have increased cortical level which is caused by their negative experiences and constant adrenaline release in early childhood that damaged their hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal system (Bark 2013). These increased cortical levels are not only related to traumatic events but also related to separation from caregivers as a child.
The attachment theory suggests that early separation from caregivers and disruption of close and intimate relationships might result in long-term difficulties with coping with stress. When children were placed in concentration camps, they were most often ripped from their loving family’s arms (Bark, 201 3; Durst, 2003; Krill, 1985). “For me, the Holocaust has not ended” (holocaust survivor) The effects of the Holocaust do not stop at the survivors, but continue on into heir offspring. The effects of the Holocaust transmit into new generations- heredity.
A parent’s response to trauma affects their child’s personality development and ability to form secure attachment bonds (Shapiro). A traumatic event, such as the Holocaust, has lasting psychological effects on survivors, especially child survivor. As a child in a concentration camp, the sheer environment they are put in taints their image of the world and in long terms, often live in fear and develop depression and anxiety. “The parent who lives with anxiety and fear in a world that appears, and very much is, ungenerous, possibly influences her child to develop similar psychopathology.
The possibility arises for the child’s brain to develop disruptions in normal neurological pathways (Watt, 2003) because of anxious parenting (Shapiro)”. How a parent reacts and responds to trauma seems to become imprinted in their genetic landscape and is passed on to their children (Shapiro). In conclusion, from the research I have conducted about the Holocausts effect on child survivors and following generations, I have discovered that more than anything, psychological issues live beyond the survivors life and is eased on to generation and generation.