Holocaust is by far the most appalling, inhumane, and cruel genocides that have ever happened in the history of civilization. Many accounts of survivors have been published since the end of the World War II trying to describe and explain this limitless atrocity. Victor Frankl was one of the victims of Holocaust whose account of his experience in the concentration camps can help understand the ferocity of war and get insight into the feelings and thoughts of those subjected to misery and pain. His famous book Man’s Search for Meaning (1985) focuses on his experience and attempts to rationalize the Holocaust and find philosophical meaning in suffering.
Frankl suffered immensely from Nazi’s cruelty (Barnes, 2015). He lost his whole family in the concentration camps and himself endured extreme hunger and deprivation in the most brutal camps like Auschwitz and Dachau. He was lucky to survive despite the fact that he has been under the threat of being sent to the gas oven. Besides, he lost all his physical belonging and a scientific paper he considered his most valuable achievement. It seems impossible under these conditions to find life worth preserving. It seems that no man can endure so much suffering without losing the sense of hope and meaning. Surprisingly, Frankl managed to not only survive but also develop a positive attitude and a thirst for life.
During his confinement in the concentration camps, Frankl established the basis for the new theory called logotherapy. The main idea formulated by the scholar was that even in the most difficult circumstances, people still have the freedom and will to choose how they see their situation and its meaning. Frankl (1985) argued that one cannot avoid suffering but can choose how to overcome it, find deeper meaning in it, and move forward. He claimed that he managed to survive and develop the optimist attitude to life because there were many things that prevented him from suicide. Thus, he cherished the memory of his wife and desperately wanted to continue working on his scientific paper (Frankl, 1985). As seen, despite the cruelty of war and immense suffering it brought to millions of people, the life and work of Victor Franks vividly demonstrate that a human thirst for life is limitless and that no matter how difficult a life may seem, it is possible to find a meaning in it.
Barnes, H. (2015, 9 June). Viktor Frankl’s book on the psychology of the Holocaust to be made into a film. The Guardian. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/film/2015/jun/09/viktor-frankls-book-on-the-psychology-of-the-holocaust-to-be-made-into-a-film
Frankl, V. (1985). Man’s search for meaning. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster.
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