“Life is not something, it is the opportunity for something” Christian Friedrich Hebbel
After surviving the death camps of Auschwitz, many, unable to return to their old lives, chose to restart their life in different parts of the world.
And yet, there were those that in spite of the trauma they faced, returned and made the place of their greatest suffering their home once more.
Viktor E. Frankl, a professor of neurology and psychiatry at the University of Vienna Medical School, was one of them. After losing his parents and his pregnant wife in the death camps, returned to the only place he knew he could find healing.
It was 1946, nine months after the camps liberation, when Frankl published his book “Man’s Search For Meaning”. It was in this book that he provided a glimpse into the daily life of camp life as well as the inner dialogue and thought life he had with himself.
Frankl, who dedicated his life to support and help patients, developed a new approach to help individuals overcome depression and suicide.
In his approach, which is best known as the “Logotherapy”, (Healing through Meaning), Frankl helped patients turn their personal tragedy into personal triumph.
To him, the difference between people that were able to recover after traumatic experiences and those that seemed unable, lies in their personal decision.
Each person, according to Frankl, has the freedom to choose and the freedom to come up with a decision that in spite of life´s hardship, would determine their outcome.
Studying the lives of holocaust survivors, from a scientific perspective, he found that despair could be viewed as suffering without meaning.
A person that is unable to find meaningfulness in their suffering, most likely will never find a cause to live for.
Hence, an individual that in spite of their suffering, finds meaning in their pain, was more likely to overcome and turn their suffering into a personal triumph and achievement.
By Adina Sarah Abraham