chapter  6
Leo: A JEWISH MAN LIVING IN TWO WORLDS
Pages 28

IN THE CLINICAL LITERATURE on second-generation Holocaust survivors, cases like Jacob's are typical, insofar as most patients' parents were either helpless victims or death camp survivors Qacob's is somewhat unique, in that he was himself an infant survivor, as well as the child of survivors). The father of the patient whose case we report in this chapter, however, was neither of these. Entreated by relatives in Germany to help them escape the Nazis, he bravely obtained a visa to travel to Germany, where he passed himself off as a gentile. Of course, if his deception had been discovered, he might have been killed; survival under these circumstances obviously depended upon his hypervigilance. Under such extreme conditions, we surmise, he internalized and assimilated not only the perilous nature of the external world, but also the role of the aggressor. Moreover, after he left this world of genuine danger, he seems to have maintained the defensive adaptations he had developed and later passed them to his son, Leo, who was a physician in his early 40s when he entered treatment with Dr. Greer. Images of his father's experiences under the Third Reich permeated every aspect of Leo's internalized object relations and psychosexual development. Unwittingly, Leo had become a protagonist in his father's drama; in Leo's unconscious fantasies, his past had become so inextricably intertwined with his father's traumatic past that he constantly lived in two worlds-his own and that of his father.