Adjustment of Detainees to Camp and Ghetto Life and Their Subsequent Re-Adjustment to Normal Society
Many factors concerning adjustment to camp life are involved, such as differing conditions, different times, and different ages. Furthermore, the study will be confined to the comparatively “healthy” majority. Every inmate knew he was living in an immoral world where lawlessness was law. The object of the Nazis was “productive extermination” and then liquidation once the individual was incapable of further output. In general, the ghetto inhabitant’s goal was to fight for his life in the belief it was a passing phase. Those near the forests fled thence with their families. The mode of “transportation” under dreadful conditions was a form of shock initiation to the bestiality in the camps. People of different races were all mixed together. Adjustment to the unspeakable conditions required a strong character and an overwhelming will to live. Faith for some was helpful. The majority chose to be passive but kept up their hope. Some refused to submit and endangered their own lives to help others. The third group hoped to survive by collaborating. On liberation day, most were so feeble that they were incapable of celebrating. Unlike the non-Jews, few Jewish survivors returned to their homes, realizing that there was little chance of finding family survivors and homes that had not been demolished. Most hoped that eventually they would be able to leave the DP camps and emigrate to Palestine. Psychosomatic problems now manifested themselves in the conflicts of everyday life, including personality changes, alienation, progressive asthenia, premature aging, etc. The will to live and the desire for revenge aided readjustment. The hundreds of thousands in the DP camps actively fought for immigration to Palestine, where they integrated well. Some have a guilty conscience about surviving while the rest of their families perished. Bringing children into the world and lavishing them with love is the main aim of the survivors.