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Genet Soc Gen Psychol Monogr. 1990 Feb;116(1):21-36.

The evolution of mental disturbances in the concentration camp syndrome (KZ-syndrom).

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Department of Social Pathology, Medical Academy, Krakow, Poland.


As a result of long-term clinical research on former prisoners of the Nazi concentration camps, I analyzed the evolution of the clinical and psychopathological pattern of the KZ-syndrome. One can differentiate the following characteristic phases: psychosomatic inanition, latency of disease, personality and adaptation disturbances, a pseudo-neurotic and depressive phase, premature aging, and an organic phase. The stigma of KZ-syndrome is present in a second generation in different forms: personality disturbances, emotional and/or social immaturity, social disadaptation, higher frequency of neurotic states, divorce, alcoholism, and suicide. The camp stress has left in human nature traces so painful that they cannot disappear when the generation of former prisoners is gone.

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