Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Political Science


Marilyn Gittell

Committee Members

Marshall Berman

Jack Jacobs

Hannah Kliger

Sheryl Bowen

Subject Categories

Political Science


The political attitudes of tolerance or intolerance of victims towards their former perpetrators have not been thoroughly researched prior to this study. Through the data collected by the Transcending Trauma Project, a study looking at three generations of Holocaust survivor families, " I Harbor No Hate: A Study of Tolerance and Intolerance in Holocaust Survivors " examined this question. One expects that survivors will until their dying days hate the Germans and the Poles who destroyed their families, their livelihoods, their homes, and their communities. Yet, to a significant group of survivors interviewed for the Transcending Trauma project, this response is the complete opposite of what they believe and how they behave. One can understand the intolerant survivors, the "natural" response to what has happened to them, but have trouble accepting or understanding the response of the tolerant survivor. Through grounded research methodology and the secondary analysis of eighteen in-depth life narratives this study examined what factors contributed to tolerance versus what factors contributed to intolerance in their lives after the war. The study found that a history of persecution changes the factors that contribute to tolerant and intolerant attitudes. Threat and one aspect of worldview are important but are affected by the experience of persecution. Gender is also an important factor, with males predominantly in the intolerant group. In addition, religiosity, defined as a change in beliefs about God and change in levels of observance between the survivor's pre-war years and the post-war years showed a relationship to both intolerance and tolerance. Finally, this study studied psychological insecurity and intolerance through attachment theory, which analyzed family of origin relationships. By utilizing attachment theory, this study has offered a meaningful way to assess psychological insecurity. The strong relationship between quality of family relationships, psychological insecurity, and intolerance provides a base from which to expand this investigation into other mediating factors. Moreover, the similarities between the research on Armenian survivors and this research on Holocaust survivors show that this methodology is applicable to other survivors of persecution who are currently struggling to come to terms with rebuilding their lives and their societies.


Digital reproduction from the UMI microform