Suicide in Nazi Concentration Camps, 1933-9

Combining legal, social, & political history, this article contributes to a more thorough understanding of the changing relationship between Nazi concentration camps as places of extra-legal terror & the judiciary, between Nazi terror & the law. It is argued the conflict between the judiciary & the SS was not a conflict between good & evil […]

Suicide in the Soviet Gulag Camps

Based upon literary evidence from survivors of the Soviet Gulag camps & published documents, the authors present reports of attempted & completed suicide, along with a discussion of whether suicide in Gulag camps was a frequent or rare behaviour. Similar to reports from the Nazi concentration camps during World War II, the existence of dying […]

The Aging of Holocaust Survivors: Myth and Reality Concerning Suicide

Published reports on suicide & the Holocaust identified by means of a Medline literature search were reviewed. A similar search was performed on the Internet using the Google search engine. 13 studies were found, 9 of which addressed the association of suicide & the Holocaust experience. 4 focussed on suicide in the concentration camps during […]

Increased Risk of Attempted Suicide Among Aging Holocaust Survivors

Please see SIEC #2006-0105 for the Barak et al article.

The Guilt of Surviving Death

Published in “The Suicidal Process: Challenges for Treatment and Prevention”

The Emigration of Germany’s Jewish Dermatologists in the Period of National Socialism


The Missing Pieces of the Puzzle: a Reflection on the odd Career of Viktor Frankl

For commentary on this article by K Biller, J I Levinson, & T Pytell, please see SIEC #2005-0331

The Suicide Rate in the Concentration Camps was Extraordinarily High: a Comment on Bronisch and Lester

Previous reports, based on limited reports from inmates who survived the Nazi concentration camps, have claimed that suicide was rare in the concentration camps. Using slightly more detailed, but nonetheless still limited, data from survivors of the camps, the author estimates that the suicide rates in the camps were most likely 25,000 per 100,00 per […]

The Conscience of Martyrs: Letter Across the Pacific

The author presents 2 twentieth century examples of voluntary death, or altruistic suicide, from the Jewish concentration camps of the second World War. These examples he compares the behavior of Eugenio Pacelli, Pope Pius XII, during the same period. (1 ref)

Killing While Caring: the Nurses of Hadamar

This article examines the participation of nurses in the euthanasia program as it existed in the time of National Socialism in Germany & describes the participation of nurses at one of the 6 killing centers, Hadamar, located near Frankfurt, Germany. The authors assert that over 10,000 mentally & physically handicapped patients were killed by nurses […]

Suicide in the Lodz Ghetto During World War Two

Data on suicidal behaviour among the Jews confined by the Nazis in the Lodz Ghetto in 1941 & 1942 are reported. The suicide rate was extremely high, increasing from 21.6 per 100,000 per year in 1941 to 84.6 in 1942. The epidemiology of suicide in the Lodz Ghetto is described, including a spring peak & […]

Suicidality in German Concentration Camps

Very little research has been conducted into suicidality under extreme life-threatening conditions, although suicidal behaviour in general could be better understood by a closer examination of this area. Former inmates of various German concentration camps, exposed to just such extreme conditions, reported a low suicide rate although a large number of inmates thought about committing […]

Borowski: “Love Circles Above me Like Human Smoke”

Primo Levi’s Suicide Note (IN: On Suicide: Great Writers on the Ultimate Question, edited by J Miller)

In this 1988 essay, Ozick examines the writer Primo Levi’s unusual suicide note – his last novel, “The Drowned and the Saved”. Levi’s previous works are notable for their detachment from the events he experienced in Auschwitz. Ozick argues that in his last novel Levi expresses the rage that he had suppressed for so long.

Shame (IN: On Suicide: Great Writers on the Ultimate Question, edited by J Miller)

Levi discusses that while many claim that after a time of great suffering comes joy, he suggests that anguish continues even after the suffering ends. Excerpts from those who had been released after years of WWII concentration camps are given; contrary to what may be expected, these people were unhappy & felt shame upon their […]

The Suicide of a Survivor: Some Intimate Perceptions of Bettelheim’s Suicide

The paper is a bibliography of the relationship between author, David James Fisher, & Bruno Bettleheim. Becoming very close to Bettleheim in his last years, the author describes Bettleheim’s suicide as an end to the torment, loneliness, & sense of futility about his present & future. Suicide was Bettleheim’s way of refusing to fall helpless, […]

The Sad – and Needless – Death of Author Primo Levi

Commentary written by William Styron (author of “Sophie’s Choice”) on the suicide of Primo Levi – Auschwitz Concentration/Extermination Camp survivor. A plea to society not to blame Levi morally for the manner in which he took his life. Also included is a small description of the author’s encounter with depression and his equating the experience […]

Original Contributions: Follow-up Studies of World War II Korean War Prisoners

U.S. army men taken captive during World War II & the Korean War, & various other groups, were followed for mortality to 1965. Mortality ratios & death rates for prisoner groups from various areas of war are given & are compared to controls. Chief causes of excess death among prisoner groups are also given. 11 […]

Who Really Killed Sgt. Kavanaugh?

This brief article about a former prisoner of war who committed suicide suggests that his death was triggered by the threat that he would be court-martialed for his anti-war activities. (LH)

Bonn Cracks Down as “Suicide” Story Unravels

This brief article questions the supposed “suicides” of 3 West German political prisoners found dead in their cells. A number of conflicting aspects of the deaths are reviewed & it is strongly suggested that suicide was not the cause of death. (LH)

Suicide and Holocaust Survivors

The perplexing and often misunderstood phenomenon of suicide involving concentration camp survivors is analyzed in this article from the standpoint of a survivor who is also an expert. The phenomenon is compared to data for the general population and considered from the pre-war persecution and post-war stages of development. 5 REFS.

Suicides in the Nazi Concentration Camps

This article describes the circumstances, motives, & ways of committing suicide in the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, based on psychiatric interviews with 69 former prisoners (aged 55-75yrs). The prevalence of suicide attempts, the proportion of suicide attempts to completed suicides, who attempted suicide & why, when, & where suicides were committed, & the reaction of fellow […]

Suicide in Released Prisoners of War

Letter to the editor.