Tokens of trauma: The ageing experience of Shoah survivors in a Jewish support centre.


  • Ben Kasstan Durham University



Shoah, trauma, embodiment, ageing, food


This paper explores the traumatic memories of ageing Shoah survivors who attend a Jewish social and therapeutic support facility in London (UK). The study investigates the perceived differences in trauma within a diverse group of members who partake in the day centre. The difference in Shoah experience contextualises how survivors of ghettos and concentration camps possess a salient relationship with food, notably bread which acts as an enduring symbol of catastrophe for participants. The meanings that underlie death amongst camp survivors are evaluated, where decisions regarding the end of life stage can be interpreted as a shared experience with those who perished during the Shoah. Results exemplify how religious and cultural elements of Judaism mediate the trauma that has become thoroughly embodied for participants. survival is steeped in intersubjective acts of remembrance, offering a novel contribution to the anthropological study of genocide.

Author Biography

Ben Kasstan, Durham University

Department of Anthropology - PhD Candidate in Anthropology


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