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From Working Through the Holocaust to Current Ethnic Conflicts: Evaluating the TRT Group Workshop in Hamburg

Ifat Maoz and Dan Bar-On
Group
Vol. 26, No. 1, Group Theraphy in Israel (March 2002), pp. 29-48
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/41718996
Page Count: 20
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From Working Through the Holocaust to Current Ethnic Conflicts: Evaluating the TRT Group Workshop in Hamburg
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Abstract

The TRT (To Reflect and Trust) approach of bringing together descendants of Holocaust survivors and descendants of Nazi perpetrators relies on group dialogues in which participants share their personal life stories, thereby enabling them to reflect on their personal and collective histories as victims and victimizers. This process was initiated and led by the second author—an Israeli psychologist and a specialist in group processes—in the context of the socially and historically contextualized approach to group interventions that he has developed. The present study describes a new phase of the TRT group that brought together, in the framework of a workshop, professionals from South Africa, Northern Ireland, and Israel and the Palestinian Authority—all of whom were working with victims and victimizers in current conflicts. Our question was whether the TRT process, using methods of storytelling to address a past catastrophe of human making, could help the professionals who try to help other people move out of current conflicts into peace-building. We found that the TRT storytelling approach facilitates the working through of current ethnic conflicts. Participants' responses to the workshop indicated the importance of the storytelling process and of the emotional support provided by the TRT group members. We focus here on the special significance of the group process between Germans, Jews, and Palestinians, which emerged as highly significant for the Jewish participants in their efforts to reconcile being both victims and victimizers (within two separate historical contexts: German/Jewish and Israeli I Palestinian).

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