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June 27 , 2008

A Nazi Legacy

Depositing, Transgenerational Transmission, Dissociation, and Remembering Through Action


This book relates the psychoanalytic journey of a man in his thirties, a grandson of a high-level SS officer, whose case illustrates how individuals can sometimes suffer greatly or cause the suffering of other innocent persons, simply because they are descendants of perpetrators. In it, technical considerations in treating such an individual, including countertransference issues and concepts related to transgenerational transmissions-for example, identification, depositing, dissociation, encapsulation, and remembering through actions-are explored. The man had a repeating daydream of carrying a big egg under his arm. The imagined egg, representing his encapsulated dissociated state, contained the mental representation of his Nazi grandfather and his grandfather's victims, along with images of most tragic historical events. He attempted to turn his grandfather's image from a life-taker to a life-giver and wished to own the older man's grandiose specialness, while fearing the loss of his own life. These opposite aims created unnamed "catastrophes". This book describes his psychoanalytic process from beginning to end and how he slowly cracked open his metaphorical egg, facing and naming the "catastrophes," and eventually taming them.
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