Shamai Davidson

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Shammai Davidson

Shamai Davidson (Hebrew: שמאי דוידסון‎‎; 1926–1986) was an Israeli professor, psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, who spent 30 years working with Holocaust survivors, trying to understand the nature of their experience. He was Medical Director of Shalvata Mental Health Center and served as Head of the Elie Wiesel Chair for the Study of the Psycho-Social Trauma of the Holocaust.[1]

Davidson witnessed the Nazi terror and the death of his aunts and cousins in the Warsaw Ghetto, Łódź Ghetto, and the gas chambers of Treblinka.[2] He studied medicine at the University of Glasgow and in Oxford University Medical School. In 1979 he became the co-founder of the Institute on the Holocaust and Genocide along with Israel W. Charny and Elie Wiesel, and worked as a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, treating Holocaust survivors, until his death.

Davidson is best known for his work Holding on to Humanity which he started in 1972. According to Jerusalem Post, "In this intensely fascinating book, Davidson succeeds in conveying a systematic understanding of trauma and survival as a whole, while emphasizing individual difference."[3]


  1. ^ Davidson's Biography
  2. ^ Holding on to Humanity: Message of Holocaust Survivors – The Shamai Davidson Papers at
  3. ^ Holding on to Humanity--The Message of Holocaust Survivors: The Shamai Davidson Papers ed. by Israel W. Charny, NYU Press, 1995, ISBN 0-8147-1513-3, p. 224

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