Studying 12 books of Jewish authors who have survived the Holocaust two que
stions are examined: (1) What reasons do the authors give for their surviva
l. (2) What are their personal problems that developed from their survival.
The answers reconstructed from their works, which were read with biographi
c data in mind, are connected to the results of research focussing on traum
a and salutogenesis. It is assumed that they own a high degree of validity
and expressiveness for the questions posed. Next to external circumstances
such as length of imprisonment, kind of assigned work, individual character
istics of the prison guard, and coincidence these are: extreme vigilance, t
otal adaptation to the circumstances, avoidance of emotions, denial, constr
iction of reality, and existing positive object relations, help, the will t
o survive and hope. For the time after the Holocaust the authors in general
speak of the impossibility to forget and to integrate their traumatic expe
riences into their self. Their motivation to write arose from the wish to t
estify, to show the uniqueness of their fate and to act preventively in reg
ard of the future.