Selected Reading and Viewing by and about the Second and Third Generations
For those who wish to find out more about the Second and Third Generation experience, from within or without, we have assembled a list of works: Personal accounts by Second and Third Generation from the UK; Personal accounts by Second and Third Generation from outside the UK; Fiction, drama and poetry; and Academic and psychotherapy.
This list is not comprehensive and will be reviewed and updated periodically.
1. Personal accounts by Second and Third Generation from the UK
(most focus on the impact on subsequent generations of a family Holocaust history and some include an academic perspective)
Barlay, N. 2013 Scattered Ghosts. One Family’s Survival Through War, Holocaust and Revolution. London: I.B.Tauris (family history, little about growing up in England but brilliantly written).
Jackie Kohnstamm, 2023; The Memory Keeper: A Journey Into the Holocaust to Find My Family. Canongate. (Deeply personal account of uncovering the fate of her Berlin grandparents)
David, Miriam E. and Merilyn Moos (eds) 2021 Debating the Zeitgeist and Being Second Generation. Ellstree: Vallentine Mitchell (accounts of 12 individuals combining the personal and political).
Clark, D. and von Sommaruga Howard, Teresa (eds) 2021 The Journey Home: Emerging Out of the Shadow of the Past. Bern: Peter Lang (20 accounts of visiting an ancestor’s home).
Dean, J. 2017 I Must Belong Somewhere. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson (journalistic style account, going back to where parents came from).
Jeleniewski Seidler, Victor, 2000 Shadows of the Shoah: Jewish Identity and Belonging. Oxford: Berg (about his own identity and some family history).
Karpf, Anne, 1997 The War After. London: Minerva Paperback-Random House (classic account of growing up a child of survivors and the deep psychological effects).
Moos, M. 2010 The Language of Silence. Woodstock: Writersworld (autobiographical novel, about life in the UK as Second Generation).
Moos, M. 2015 Breaking the Silence: Voices of the British Children of Refugees from Nazism. Maryland: Rowman and Littlefield (accounts by nine Second Generation about growing up in the UK).
Saraga, Esther, 2019 Berlin to London: An Emotional History of Two Refugees. Ellstree: Vallentine Mitchell (self-reflective account on exploring her parents’ past).
Weiner, G. 2016 Tales of Loving and Leaving. Bloomington: AuthorHouse (finding out about her parents but placing herself within that narrative).
Wittenberg, J. 2013 Walking the Light. London: Quartet (about his journey, mainly on foot, from Frankfurt where his grandfather had been the Rabbi, back to London, where he was born and brought up and himself is a rabbi in North London).
Mendelsohn, Daniel, 2007 The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million. New York: Harper Perennial (memoir including a man’s journey to 12 countries to find witnesses to his family’s fate).
Schindler, Meriel, 2021 The Lost Café Schindler. London: Hodder and Stoughton (memoir about the author’s travels and research into her difficult father’s Austrian origins).
2. Personal accounts by Second and Third Generation from outside the UK (mainly first-person accounts focusing on the impact of a family history of the Holocaust and some include an academic perspective)
Baumel-Schwartz, Judith Tydor (ed) 2021 Researchers Remember: Research as an Arena of Memory Among Descendants of Holocaust Survivors. Bern: Peter Lang (30 essays tracing the authors’ paths to a research profession focusing on the influence of their family’s Holocaust background).
Berger, Alan and Naomi, 2001 Second Generation Voices: Reflections by Children of Holocaust Survivors and Perpetrators. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press.
Bar-On, Dan, 1995 Fear and Hope: Three Generations of the Holocaust, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press (based on interviews with 12 families by Israeli University).
Epstein, Helen, 1979 Children of the Holocaust. New York: Penguin (journalistic-style interviews).
Fox, Tamar, 1999 Inherited Memories. Israeli Children of Holocaust Survivors. London: Cassell (includes accounts by children of Holocaust survivors about their parents’ wartime biographies and relates their own lives to their parents’ histories).
Freeman, Hadley, 2020 House of Glass: The Story and Secrets of a Twentieth-century Jewish Family. London: 4th Estate (the American-born journalist’s quest to discover the truth about her grandmother’s European family and life).
Grinblat, Kathy, 2002 Children of the Shadows. Voices of the Second Generation. Victoria, Australia: University of Western Australia Press (personal reflections on what it meant to grow up in a home affected by the shadows of the Holocaust).
Hass, Aaron, 1991 In the Shadow of the Holocaust: the Second Generation. London: I.B.Tauris (what it’s like to be a child of a concentration camp survivor through oral history, memoir and psychological interpretation. US interviewees describe their relationships with their parents and what the Holocaust means to them).
Hoffman, Eva, 1989 Lost in Translation. A Life in a New Language. New York: Dutton (classic memoir based on moving at the age of 13 from Poland to a new life in America).
Hoffman, Eva, 2005 After such Knowledge: a Meditation on the Aftermath of the Holocaust. London: Vintage (reflections with a personal flavour).
Schonfeld, Rosemary, 2018 Finding Relly. My Family, the Holocaust and Me. Ellstree: Vallentine Mitchell (memoir about finding and getting to know a Czech survivor relative).
3. Fiction, drama and poetry
Foer, Jonathan Safran, 2002 Everything is Illuminated (classic novel follows a young writer who travels to eastern Europe to find the woman who saved his grandfather).
King, JFT Vienna, Love, 2014 (a drama script collection reflecting Second Generation identity with reference to the Kindertransport).
Langer, Jennifer The Search, 2021 Uttoxeter: Victorina Press (poetry collection exploring the poet’s sense of identity (the poet is the daughter of German Jewish refugees)
Samuels, Diane Kindertransport, 2008 (play centred on the Kindertransport showing differing psychological perspectives of three generations).
Sebald, W.G. Austerlitz 2001 London: Penguin (an original and poetic novel of history and reminiscences based on the imagined life of a Kindertransportee).
4. Academic and psychotherapy
Aarons, Victoria and Berger, Alan L. 2017 Third-Generation Holocaust Representation: Trauma, History, and Memory. Illinois: Northwestern University Press (examines how the third generation is writing about transmission of trauma and the Holocaust).
Bloomfield z’l, Irene and Glassman, Gaby, 1990 Across the Generations. Living with the Legacy of the Holocaust through the Generations. European Judaism (Vol. 55, Issue 1) (explores Second Generation psychotherapeutic groups dating from around 1990).
Cooper, Howard, 1995 The Second Generation ‘Syndrome’. Journal of Holocaust Education 4: 131–146.
Fraiberg, Selma, 1975 Ghosts in the Nursery: A Psychoanalytic Approach to the Problems of Impaired Infant-Mother Relationships. Journal of the American Academy of Child Psychiatry, XIV: 387–421.
Grenville, Anthony 2002 Continental Britons. Jewish Refugees from Nazi Europe. London: AJR and Jewish Museum (written to accompany an exhibition at the Jewish Museum, this is much more than a catalogue of the exhibits).
Hirsch, Marianne, 2012 The Generation of Postmemory, Writing and Visual Culture after the Holocaust. New York: Columbia University Press.
Pines, Dinora, 1992 The Impact of the Holocaust on the Second Generation. Journal of Social Work and Policy in Israel, 5–6 (Special Issue): 85–105.
Rosenthal, Gabriele, 1998 The Holocaust in Three Generations: Families of Victims and Perpetrators of the Nazi Regime. London: Cassell (a classic featuring five case studies of families in Germany and Israel).
Vaul-Grimwood, M. 2007 Holocaust Literature of the Second Generation. London: Palgrave Macmillan (academic exploration of five key texts from the emerging canon of Second Generation writing).
Wardi, Dina, Memorial Candles, 1990 Jerusalem: Keter (classic psychotherapeutic examination of the impact of the holocaust on the next generation including verbatim therapy sessions).
Yehuda, Rachel, Many interesting theoretical psychological articles about 2G, some accessible on the internet.
5. TV, film and radio
A Tale of Love and Darkness (film) 2015 Memoirs of Israeli author Amos Oz set in Jerusalem in the last years of the Palestine Mandate. Apple itunes.apple.com.
The Reader/Der Vorleser (film) 2008 David Hare’s dramatic adaptation of Bernhard Schlink’s 1995 novel on themes of guilt and responsibility in the post-war Federal Republic of Germany.
Self on Sebald (radio documentary) 2022 Writer Will Self explores the life and work of W.G. Sebald including his Kindertransport-themed novel Austerlitz. BBC iPlayer.
Song of Names (film) 2019 From the novel by Norman Lebrecht, the search of a Polish-English violinist for his true identity. Netflix.
6. Recorded Presentations
“Multigenerational Legacies of the Holocaust in Mexico” (a webinar)
12 February 2023
International Center for MultiGenerational Legacies of Trauma – moderator Dr. Yael Danieli
Participants: Aaron and Esther Cohen (filmmakers, Whispers of Silence: Listening to the children of Holocaust Survivors in MexicoI), Alexandra Salomon (2G), and Salomon Chertorivski Woldenberg (Mexican politician & economist)
“David Baddiel & Matt Lucas Discuss Acquiring German Citizenship”
19 January 2023
The AJR, in partnership with The Wiener Holocaust Library and Amb. Miguel Berger of the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in London present an evening with David Baddiel and Matt Lucas to explore the perspectives of descendants of German-Jewish refugees on acquiring German citizenship. Comedian & writer, David Baddiel is second-generation – his mother was a child refugee from Nazi Germany. David is in the process of applying for German citizenship. Comedian & writer, Matt Lucas is third-generation – his grandmother fled from Nazi Germany. Matt already has his German passport. The discussion is moderated by Karina Urbach, historian and author of ‘Alice’s Book’.
“The Shadow of the Holocaust on the Lives of Children of Survivors”
21 November 2021
Centre for Holocaust Education and Scholarship – Keynote speaker Helen Epstein.
“In My Own Words with Kim Masters & Barbara Winton”
30 June 2021
There are around 6000 people in the world today who owe their lives to Nicholas Winton. They are the descendants of a group of refugee children rescued by him from the Nazi threat in 1939.
One of those people is Kim Masters, editor-at-large of The Hollywood Reporter and host of KCRW’s The Business. One of her parents was rescued by Sir Nicholas Winton. These two daughters share an incredible story of heroism and gratitude for the good deeds of an incredible man. The discussion will also be facilitated by Tamara Meyer. Tamara is an author, lecturer and media consultant as well as a child of German Jewish parents who escaped Nazi Germany at the brink of World War ll. For the past two decades, she has been lecturing and writing about her family legacy.
“Intergenerational Trauma in Second and Third-Generation Holocaust Survivors”
11 May 2021
Dr. Melissa Wasserman, Clinical Psychologist and Adjunct Professor of Psychology at Pepperdine University, will explore intergenerational and historical trauma, discuss how prolonged trauma reverberates across generations, and summarize risk and resilience factors in Holocaust families. Moderated by Lisa Ansell, Associate Director of the USC Casden Institute.
“A Conversation with Helen Epstein about the Second Generation”
16 April 2021
In this program, Epstein and Ellen Bachner Greenberg, founder of Descendants of Holocaust Survivors (2G Greater New York), discuss Epstein’s life and legacy and the questions she faces today.
“Trauma Studies, Creativity, and the Second Generation”
4 August 2020
Children of survivors process and cope with inherited trauma in remarkably diverse ways, often through transmutation in the creative process or sublimation into other activities. In this discussion, clinical psychologist Irit Felsen – a trauma specialist focusing on Holocaust survivors and their children – is joined by award-winning author and poet Elizabeth Rosner (“Survivor Cafe,” “Speed of Light”) for a discussion of how trauma is passed on and manifested from generation to generation.