Sequential traumatisation in children
Results of a follow-up study by Hans Keilson
In view of the variety of psychopathological, psychiatric-diagnostic and fundamental methodological questions in the medical recording and description of the condition of the survivors of Nazi terror, a man-made-disaster event of an extent of wickedness hitherto unknown in psychiatric traumatology, it seems to me not insignificant to begin with a few considerations with regard to the topic. Despite all the difficulties of integrating the biographical-anecdotal moment of a massively cumulative traumatised life course of adult persecutees into a superordinate system of a scientifically justifiable structure of thought, all the investigators, whatever theoretical presuppositions they followed, could start from the common principle that the elements of persecution, insofar as they were survived at all, represented and meant in their individual and in their entire experiential content an incursion into the “adult, mature personality”. What they represented and what they meant are the central problems that played a central and, as we all know, not always sublime role in reparation legislation and practice.