Post-Holocaust Antisemitism and the Psychiatry of Trauma

Feb 12, 2018
05:00 PM to 06:00 PM
Foster Auditorium, Pattee Library

Dr. Dagmar Herzog, City University of New York

In this paper, Professor Herzog will revisit the emotionally and politically charged conflicts among medical professionals in West Germany, the United States, and Israel over reparations for damages to mental health incurred by survivors of the Nazi Holocaust. Emphasizing the resurgence of anti-Semitism and resentment against survivors in the wake of Nazism’s defeat, as well as prominent medical professionals’ hostility toward survivors, she will show how in this context a handful of doctors sympathetic to the survivors eventually were able to develop the concepts of “massive psychic trauma” and “post-traumatic stress disorder.” She will also explore the unexpected consequences arising from the strategic entwining of the causes of Holocaust survivors and veterans of the Vietnam War – and the effects this had as mental health professionals working with survivors of torture in the Latin American dictatorships grappled with the limits of the concept of PTSD.

Dagmar Herzog is Distinguished Professor of History and the Daniel Rose Faculty Scholar at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. She writes on the histories of religion, the Holocaust and its aftermath, and gender and sexuality. Her most recent book is Cold War Freud: Psychoanalysis in an Age of Catastrophes (2017) and she is currently working on a project entitled Unlearning Eugenics: Sexuality, Reproduction, and Disability in Post-Nazi Europe.

This lecture is co-sponsored by the Department of History, The Rock Ethics Institute, the German Studies Department, the Jewish Studies Program, and the Center for Global Studies.

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