Aging Survivors Can’t Forget

The command is to never forget the Holocaust—but some survivors wish they could, as late-onset PTSD brings back vivid memories they can’t escape

Many of the estimated 200,000 living Holocaust survivors face a new trauma in their final years, as they are overwhelmed by terrible memories they’ve successfully contained for 70 years. In some cases, the return of these memories is the outcome of a natural instinct, as we age, to look back over our lives. For others, it’s the result of what has been termed late-onset post-traumatic stress disorder, which brings on flashbacks, bouts of paranoia, and other debilitating symptoms. Reporter Karen Brown introduces us to survivors and their family members (including Howard Reich, whose documentary film Prisoner of her Past chronicled his mother’s mental decline), as well as social workers and specialists working with them, to find out more about this painful last chapter in a survivor’s life, and about what can be done to help them. [Running time: 17:00.]