Journal article

‘I was holding on to my ancestral merit’:1 Religious Coping and the Holocaust in the Light of Hasidic Tales of Survival

K Krysinska, J Corveleyn

Holocaust Studies | Published : 2013

Abstract

The Hasidic movement was founded in the eighteenth century in Eastern Europe. During the Holocaust, the Hasidic Jews, like other Jews in Europe, were exposed to ruthless extermination and abuse by the Nazis. This essay presents a psychological analysis, based on the religious coping framework, of The Hasidic Tales of the Holocaust by Yaffa Eliach. The tales show that in the situation of extreme trauma, deprivation and absence of other methods of self-defence, deeply internalised religiosity based upon allegiance to a leader (zaddik) and strict adherence to everyday religious practice, as well as close kinship and family allegiances, became a powerful method of coping and survival.

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