How do victims of extreme adversity survive? How did Senator John McCain survive six years a prisoner of the Vietcong, approximately two of which were in a windowless room with a light on twenty four hours a day without little if any human contact? How did Jewish doctors survive Auschwitz for an average of twenty months? They witnessed and were subject to unspeakable cruelty, evil, suffering and humiliation. Some survivors of the Holocaust explained their escape by attributing the power of God, miracles and luck. However did luck, for example, allow a prisoner to survive two years in Auschwitz, particularly Birkenau the worst camp in human history, where death was only seconds away? Or for survival to take place must a structure be in place, as the author presents, to ensure there is a chance of survival. The author argues there are three pillars for survival - status (essential for life - food, clothing), personal traits (resiliance, self esteem) and defence mechanisms (altruism, humour, suppression, anticipation) all of which must work together - they are dependent on each other. The author has researched the life of five Jewish doctors who survived the camp and written biographies of their lives before during and after Auschwitz using them as models of survival.
Ross W halpin - B. Com (Economics), BA (UNSW), MA (Research), PhD (Sydney University) Honorary Research Associate, Department of Hebrew, Biblical and Jewish Studies, Sydney University. Dr Halpin is guest lecturer in the Department of Biblical, Hebrew and Jewish Studies, Sydney University. He is the author of "A matter of Concern: The ethical dilemma of using Nazi research data. He has contributed to the International Journal of Medicine and Law. Dr halpin has presented at international conferences in Israel, Italy, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, Turkey, and Japan on the subject of the Holocaust and bioethics. In 2011 Dr Halpin received the Archival Research Fellowship from Yad Vashem, Israel, The International Institute for Holocaust Research.
Acknowledgements, Foreword, Preface, Introduction, Part I, Sima Bailsman, Louis Micheels,Giselle Perle, Part II, Hospital, Block 10, Living and working conditions, Jewish doctors: Dilemmas and personal struggles, Part III, Status, Personal Traits, Defense Mechanisms, Anatomy of Survival, Conclusion, Epilogue, Evaluation of Sources, Meanings, terms and jargon, Bibliography, Appendices, Inde