Where was God during the Holocaust? Why didn’t he save my family members? Why did I survive when so many I loved were killed? In their attempts to find answers to these questions, survivors’ prewar faith systems were lost, retained, or significantly altered. Despite questions regarding God’s role in the Holocaust, faith or ritual practice became important long-term strategies used by the majority of our survivor respondents to cope with the massive losses suffered in the war.
When we asked the question, “Does the Holocaust affect your political views?” a surprising number of survivors clearly stated that they do not harbor any hatred towards the groups in Europe responsible for the destruction of their families and communities. Regardless of their wartime experiences many survivors are able to separate out their emotional responses toward the perpetrators of the specific crimes against them from their views of all the national, ethnic and religious groups that collaborated with the German Nazi government in the genocide of Jews in Europe during World War II.