Theistic Dissonance Among Religious Jewish Holocaust Survivors: A Psychodynamic Perspective

Samuel Juni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Coining the term theistic dissonance to capture conflicted attitudes and feelings toward God, this article examines faith-based reactions to the Holocaust. The theological weltanschauung of religious Jewish Holocaust survivors is analyzed, with a particular focus on their attempts to reconcile the notion of a benevolent and caring God with their harrowing experience. Basic religious sources and contemporary literature are presented to elucidate the realm of resolutions of theistic dissonance. It is suggested that elements of defense mechanisms are adapted from the emotional into the cognitive realm, and are used by survivors to facilitate respective interpretations of God’s role during the Holocaust. Dissonance resolution is seen as being informed theologically and experientially for these victims who confronted stark challenges to their religious integrity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)854-872
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Aggression, Maltreatment and Trauma
Issue number8
StatePublished - Sep 13 2016


  • Defense mechanisms
  • God’s role
  • guilt
  • trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Professions (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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