Images taken from the Monument of the Synagogue in Lappenburg, Hildesheim, Germany. Courtesy of Tiana Sidey.

“Missing" - a Family Story 

In Emotion, Space and Society, (2016), pp. 87-93.  


After Genocide: How Ordinary Jews face the Holocaust

published by Karnac Books 2015.  
ISBN: 9781782201922

Available online from Karnac at;
from Blackwells Books (
or at Word Power ( and other independent bookshops.

How does a people – in this case, the worldwide Jewish community – deal with the emotional impact of their attempted genocide?

After Genocide explores the neglected world of “ordinary Jews”: Jews who have no direct family lineage to the Holocaust but who nevertheless are deeply affected by its memory.

Drawing from interviews with Jews from across the age spectrum, After Genocide focuses on the complex psychological legacy for a community of such a devastating history. Is it, as many commentators think, a “collective trauma”? How is a community detached in space and time traumatised by an event which neither they nor their immediate ancestors experienced?

Ordinary Jews’ own words bring to life a narrative which looks at how commonly-recognised attributes of trauma are integral to Jewish reactions to the Holocaust. The final two chapters consider how such painful feelings shape two central questions derived from the Holocaust: how the Jewish diaspora relates to Israel; and how a community traumatised however indirectly might free itself from the burden of a heavy past.

After Genocide opens up a neglected dimension of the post-Holocaust legacy. Written for both lay and professional audiences, readers will see powerful feelings reflected and explored in ways which are deeply moving. In addressing the question of what constitutes collective trauma, it will speak to many communities with comparable collective histories. It is a book that many will want to read.

What readers say about After Genocide:

“This is a wonderful exploration of why we as ‘ordinary Jews’, are still so interested in exploring our feelings towards the Holocaust. We are taken through the confusion in a moving way, made profoundly real by the experiences of individuals who ask the questions we all ask ourselves. It is a highly enlightening journey on how we cope with the past”. Judy Sischy: an ‘ordinary Jew’

“Trauma is an ever-present theme for psychotherapists, most often thought about in relation to individual clients and patients. After Genocide offers an original analysis of the long-term impacts of the Holocaust, for the demographically more numerous ‘ordinary Jews’. Exploring often perplexing traces of loss, anger, guilt and other powerful feelings, Sue Lieberman offers a lucid and evocative account of the captivating horror of the Holocaust.” Professor Liz Bondi, Head of Counselling Studies, Edinburgh University

“The navigation of ‘collective trauma’ is one of the hardest explorations psychoanalytic studies can undertake. When the ‘collective trauma’ is specifically trammelled by the Holocaust and thus possesses the minds and experiences of Jews, the endeavour becomes all the more difficult, all the more complex, all the more variable. It is on this odyssey that Sue Lieberman embarks in After Genocide". Moris Farhi, writer and novelist

“As someone who had read very little about the Holocaust, this book has opened my eyes to what it is like to be Jewish in the west today, and how much the Holocaust continues to affect Jewish people”. Sue Collin, retired adult education tutor

“Like most people, I knew the Holocaust had happened but had not really engaged with its huge meanings and implications for myself, for all humanity, and for the Jewish community in particular.

Sue's book changed all that. In a remarkably measured and thought-provoking way, she explores the deeper psychological and cultural implications of the horrors of the Holocaust, raising challenging reflections about the enduring emotional legacy caused by such a huge rent in our usual expectations of human society.

Reading this book expanded my understanding of hatred, humanity and healing, and I am grateful for the experience.” Sue MacFadyen, psychotherapist


© 2016