chapter  1
19 Pages

Psychotherapy and the Nazi Past: A Search for Concrete Forms

I would like to offer some preliminary remarks having to do with the terms in which the themes are cast: "psychotherapy" seems clear enough to be useful, but what about "Nazi past"? This term refers to people still living, particularly in the German-speaking states of Central Europe, who were the witnesses of the times (among them former Nazis, their victims, and others who were involved), as well as their children and grandchildren. In these families there is a palpable relationship between the present and the Nazi past. The Nazi time belongs to the recent past; there is no feeling of distance here, as there is with other historical pasts. If any sense of distance is felt, then it must be from some other cause. Very often, however, all subjective distance melts away.