Holocaust Survivor Georgia Hiller

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Holocaust Survivor Georgia Hiller

Many years ago, when I finished my service in the South African Air Force as a draftee, I traveled to Israel with my long time neighborhood friend, Michael. We stayed on several kibbutzim, or communal farms, in Israel and in one instance an older woman sold us phone tokens and threw the change back at us for no reason. Obviously we were stunned at this rude behavior and asked around what her problem was. It turned out she was a holocaust survivor.

I was reminded of this behavior when I saw the recording of the Board of Collier County Commissioner meeting on 3-26-2013, when a Hispanic public speaker raised the issue that there was an impression in the Hispanic community of discrimination by the block of three commissioners, who typically vote together, in the firing of a person employed by the county.

Commissioner Georgia Hiller took that as an opportunity to throw a tirade at the speaker shouting out loud that her family were murdered and that her mother was a holocaust survivor and that she took great offense in his suggestion of ‘discrimination’. Her one sided argument went of for a while, while the speaker was told not to interrupt.

The commissioner used the horrific events of the holocaust to defend any perception that she may be discriminating. Just because her family may have suffered discrimination does not imply that she does not discriminate. The one has nothing to do with the other. Even if a person suffered discrimination first hand, the experience does not then ‘train’ them to not discriminate against others. I find the example she used offensive to all holocaust survivors, because she used the Nazi Holocaust to defend her political position.

Commissioner Georgia Hiller is in fact a ‘second generation’ survivor and she shows traits that have been well documented and studied. She is in fact suffering from the affects of trauma on her parents. She is in fact a certain “psychological profile”, one who may suffer in her own personal relationships, in life’s perspectives, jobs and may have suffered tremendously in their upbringing.

It is well documented that many holocaust survivors rushed into marriage and children with little or no emotional attraction to their partners. It was a rush to reproduce, to recover as quickly as possible what was lost forever. Many remained in these loveless marriages and the children suffered and lost out on the nurturing provided by loving couples.

It’s also known that first generation holocaust survivors were over consumed with their children, to the point of suffocation, to cause them to be exceedingly sensitive or overly anxious and protective about their children. None of these traits are healthy for a child.

On the positive side, they appear to be hard workers and diligent in their efforts to complete tasks.

With all that said, I understand that they are ‘different’ that maybe they need some slack, but when it comes to outrage, to public disruption, outbursts of anger and emotion, should this personality be in public service?

Disclaimer: The opinions stated in this blog post are solely that of Graham Ginsberg acting as an individual and not of any other entity. Graham Ginsberg is well aware of the word ‘discrimination’, having lived in South Africa during the apartheid years and served in the military when apartheid was still law in South Africa.  Just because Graham Ginsberg was a first hand witness to discrimination during this time does not make Graham Ginsberg an expert in discrimination nor does it make him an advocate for or against it.

Interesting References

Trauma In Children Of Holocaust Survivors

Identification with Parental Trauma in Children of Holocaust Survivors

The Second Generation

Psychiatric disorders and other health dimensions among Holocaust survivors

PTSD and Holocaust Survivors

Transmission of Holocaust Trauma