Resilience & Remembrance: Lessons from the Holocaust

There are no better teachers than stories of resilience, hope, and perseverance—and nowhere are these stories more visceral than those rooted in the experiences of Holocaust survivors.

Myra Giberovitch is the daughter Fela and Moishe Grachnik, Holocaust survivors from the Lodz Ghetto and Auschwitz. She was born in a displaced persons camp in Germany after the war. “Holocaust Survivors who have experienced the dark side of humanity have important lessons to teach us about adaptation and resilience,” she said. And, she points out, the lessons from their experiences continue to ring true in the age of COVID-19.

Giberovitch has dedicated her life’s work to helping Holocaust survivors—as a social worker, therapist, and researcher. She seeks to help survivors of mass atrocity crimes recover from their trauma. This all begins by listening to and learning from survivors.

She is also the author of Recovering from Genocidal Trauma: An Information and Practice Guide for Working with Holocaust Survivors and an adjunct professor at the McGill University School of Social Work.

Giberovitch sat down with NYCityLens to talk about what she has learned from survivors around the world and how best to apply these lessons to our current crisis.

The family descendants at Giberovitch’s parent’s final resting place (Photo courtesy of Myra Giberovitch)