In her book Justice Matters Psychologist Mona Weissmark illustrates how the psychology of hatred and ethnic resentments is passed from generation to generation. Weissmark, herself the child of Holocaust survivors, argues that justice is profoundly shaped by emotional responses. In her in-depth study of the legacy encountered by these children, Weissmark found, not surprisingly, that in the face of unjust treatment, the natural response is resentment and deep anger-and, in most cases, an overwhelming need for revenge. Weissmark argues that, while legal systems offer a structured means for redressing injustice, they have rarely addressed the emotional pain, which, left unresolved, is then passed along to the next generation-leading to entrenched ethnic tension and group conflict.
The documentary below shows Weissmark’s visit with the Germans that saved her father’s life in April 1945. Next week, Weissmark will comment on the OUPblog about this experience.