THE POWER OF DISCOURSE AND ANALYSIS OF HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS IN BUFFALO, NEW YORK
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The following research was prepared as a study into Holocaust survivors in Buffalo, NY and their coping abilities post World War II. The research, analysis, and conclusions made from this study made it possible to have a deeper understanding of victims’ lives during and post WWII Holocaust. This included what their day to day was like during WWII, what the victims did to survive, what was life like immediately after the War, and how have they been coping since. By having an honest discourse on the survivors’ experiences, I was able to better understand how each subject’s story combined different types of narratives, including chaos, restitution, and quest narratives as well as their own cultural, autobiographical, and collective memories. Furthermore, preserving the subjects past, the victim was able to provide future generations a history, understanding, and education of their experiences, so their trauma was not in vain. The interviews were conducted, videotaped and transcribed. They were also analyzed and compared to the theories of Arthur Frank, Maurice Halbwachs, Susan Feldman, Read Johnson, and Marilyn Ollayos amongst others. This allowed for the subjects’ discourse to be used as a glimpse into the study of how communication preserves, educates, and heals victims. After the Holocaust, many survivors were left with little or no assistance in trying to cope with what just happened to them and their loved ones. The psychological damage to survivors was extreme, with few available affective studies and programs available in how to deal with that damage, including, depression, anxiety or physical stress and trauma. Research has proved that the management of these ailments can be supported by utilizing various methods to manage one’s psychology. By using communication as a management tool for psychological ailments, we can see how survivors cope, interact, and impact themselves, friends, and strangers. The results of this research contribute to discussions of the role of communication in PTSD survivors. Through conversations and writing, survivors may then attempt to heal their bouts with depression and anxiety, and at the same time preserve their autobiography. The benefits of storytelling become twofold; the story teller addresses their trauma and the story teller educates, and becomes part of a process of collective memory for the passing on of these stories, and Holocaust survivor motto: “Never Again” to future generation.