Completion of the project
Transgenerational transmission of Holocaust trauma - prevention and care


On March 31, 2024, we concluded the 2.5-year project Transgenerational Transmission of Holocaust Trauma - Prevention and Care, in which partners from Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic collaborated. For the first time we had the opportunity to discuss within Eastern Europe in the Visegrad Four countries the consequences of the Holocaust and the mechanisms of its transgenerational transmission in the psyche of individuals, families and groups. Within the framework of mutual exchange of experiences taking place regularly after the zoom in the time of the covid (1.1.2022-30.6.2022), we learned that our colleagues from the V4 countries have similar concepts of therapeutic work based on the same theoretical sources, that they think similarly. At the same time, we also found similarities and differences between the countries in the impact of historical events, historical cultural traumas and the resulting specific approaches to identity healing. We were able to organize a face-to-face one-day professional meeting in October 2023 in Prague, to exchange experiences in research, psychotherapy and organization of our activities, and to write a professional paper together. This was preceded in each country by webinars on the topic for both Jewish and professional audiences.
In the course of the project, we discovered in practice how the topic of transgenerational transmission of the trauma of the Holocaust is still extremely topical, alive, and above all very sensitive to the point of intimacy.
This is also why we decided to publish a collection that brings awareness for the first time about the history and impact of cultural trauma on the Jewish minority and the majority society in the V4 countries and its healing. We consider it extremely important to highlight cultural trauma and the healing significance of society as an emotional container and to work not only with individual but also collective history. Unprocessed generational traumas in the psyche of people are highly alarming especially in an era once again threatened by wars and violence.


A member of the team, Marek Preiss, gave a talk on transgenerational transfer at a conference in České Budějovice, March 1, 2024 (see also here). The lecture was dedicated to the project.


Article "Holocaust trauma and its transgenerational transmission in Visegrad"

Members of the project jointly wrote and submitted an article entitled "Holocaust Trauma and its Transgenerational Transmission in the Visegrad Countries" to the journal Holocaust and Genocide Studies.

Abstract of the paper: In the context of Central and Eastern Europe, the legacy of the Holocaust is still very much alive. The post-war silence on the impact of the Holocaust and the persistent stigmatization of Jews during the communistic era has affected coping within the intergenerational chain of Holocaust trauma. Sharing the Hungarian, Polish, Slovakian and Czech experiences together shows both similarities (such as the conspiracy of silence) and differences (societal milieu, relation to Jewish population) in addition to original attempts at coping and treatment for the traumatic impact of the Holocaust. Contemporary authors on the topic of transgenerational transmission of trauma can build on the work of older pioneers such as Teréz Virág in Hungary, Maria Orwid in Poland, Peter Salner in Slovakia and Helena Klímová in the Czech Republic. The authors' shared experiences underscore the importance of systematic psychotherapy as a path to understanding and healing. Expanding treatment options for transgenerational trauma will be needed to prevent traumas in the future.


Videos from the conference

Recording of papers from the international conference, which concludes a two-year cooperation of Hungarian, Polish, Slovak and Czech experts on the project of the same name. The conference was held online on 28 October 2023 in Prague. Videos can also be viewed HERE.


Transgeneration transfer of holocaust trauma - prevention and care 

28 October 2023: 09:00 - 13:30 (Central European Time)

On-line konference with the participation of Hungarian, Polish, Slovak and Czech experts

Link to connect:


Meeting ID: 864 4363 1902

Passcode: 670109

Participants are requested to join between 8:45 - 09:00 a.m.

Participation fee: free of charge


Hungary - Tihamér Bako and Katalin Zana

Poland - Katarzyna Prot-Klinger and Lukasz Biedka

Slovak Republic - Monika Vrzgulová and Michaela Hapalova

Czechia - Marek Preiss and Michaela Hapalova

all lectures will be in English


Transgenerational transmission of trauma
As part of a series of seminars, we are again inviting experts and colleagues from the health and social fields and the wider professional public from the cultural and artistic fields who are interested in or work directly with Holocaust survivors and their descendants to a personal meeting on 26 June 2023 from 17.00 to 18.30 in Bratislava.


Transgenerational transmission of trauma - prevention and care
On 12 May 2023, a webinar in Czech language on the topic of transgenerational transmission of trauma was held for professionals. 41 people participated. Clinical experience on working with trauma, research issues were shared. Some participants expressed interest in a conference on this topic.


On April 24, 2023, a personal meeting and discussion on "Transgenerational Contexts - Cultural Memory, Trauma and Identity" was held at the Rafael Institute for members of the Jewish community. The meeting was led by Michaela Hapalová and Marek Preiss. This time it was focused on experiences from practice and research and a common dialogue about how to live with the memory of the Holocaust in our genes, in our families, in Jewish communities.


Katarzyna Prot-Klinger lectured on the topic of trauma treatment as part of open lecture in the series Psychotherapists for Trauma. The lecture is publicly available on youtube (the length is almost two hours). The initiative Terapeuci dla traumy (Psychotherapists for Trauma) má (k 17.3.2023) 989 followers and was created spontaneously, after the outbreak of war in Ukraine, in response to the need to support the community of professionals in a situation of increased contact with trauma. The lecture discuss the results of joint work within the so-called "Visegrad Group" on the transmission of Holocaust trauma in Polish, Czech, Slovak and Hungarian society. The public link is: https://www.youtube.com/…wEM


A member of our team, Katarzyna Prot-Klinger and her colleagues published an article on intergenerational transmission of trauma on the example of Holocaust trauma research. This article was published as a main topic in "Psychiatry after Diploma": Katarzyna Prot-Klinger, Krzysztof Szwajca, Anna Zajenkowska, Łukasz Biedka (2023) Międzygeneracyjny przekaz traumy na przykładzie badań nad traumą Holokaustu, Psychiatria po Dyplomie 1.
The link is:


On February 13, 2023, a webinar was held for Jewish participants on the topic of transgenerational transmission of trauma. Marek Preiss reported on the study "Neurobiological and psychological markers of stress response and resilience in holocaust survivors and their offspring - a three generation study" and further discussed the outcome of the national identity research. Michaela Hapalova reflected on identity issues and developed them into a dialogue with participants who focused on issues of sensitivity, identity and jewish history. The event was attended by about 25 participants.


Two articles focusing on the issue of trauma and intergenerational transmission were published in the impacted journal Československá psychologie with the dedication of the Visegrad project.


An article about our project was published in Lélekelemzés (Journal of the Hungarian Psychoanalytic Society).


As part of the second phase of the project, the Hungarian side (Katalin Zana and Tihamér Bakó) organized a lecture on Transgenerational Trauma and its Therapy on June 8, 2022, in cooperation with the local Jewish community in Pécs. Transgenerational Atmosphere. It was an open and free event attended by professionals (not only psychologists), members of the Jewish community and others interested in the topic. The number of participants was about 70 people.


An article about our project was published in the journal E-psychologie (an electronic peer-reviewed journal for the professional public, published by the Czech-Moravian Psychological Society).


The first phase of the project was completed, the participating countries introduced themselves, established cooperation and informed about their work with Holocaust survivors and their descendants. The events of the Holocaust in the respective countries were also discussed.

In the next phase of the project, meetings with the public and Jewish communities will be held.


We are currently working on a part of the project called Deliverable 1 (Webinars for partners on transgenerational transmission of trauma and its treatment) in the period 01/01/2022-30/06/2022. Within this part of the project, the Czech side presented its experience with trauma treatment (Michaela Hapalová) and a description of the Rafael Institute and research experience (Marek Preiss) to the collaborating centres twice. There were also presentations from the Hungarian (Katalin Zana and Tihamer Bako) and Slovak sides (Monika Vrzgulová), and the Polish side (Anna Zajenkowska) will also present its experience on 22 June 2022.


We would like to thank Visegrad Funds for supporting a project Transgeneration transfer of Holocaust trauma - prevention and care (Project ID 22120162). We will work with partners from Slovakia, Poland and Hungary to fulfill the project's goals, which are focused on a deeper understanding and exchange of experience with the transgenerational transmission of trauma.

The project is planned for the period January 2022 - March 2024. We will keep you informed about the project activities.