NOTE:The findings of the Holocaust images relate to all genocides, civil wars, and traumas.


Holocaust and genocide images continue to live on in our minds and souls. The profound importance of these images was discovered by Dr. Akhter Ahsen, the leading theoretician in the field of mental imagery, through his research and clinical practice. He found that Jewish patients who had not directly experienced the holocaust, but had heard stories about it from their parents or the media, developed a storehouse of subliminal images in their minds that was so powerful that they suffered similar emotional consequences as their relatives or fellow Jews had, while being at the concentration camps or in hiding preparing for an escape. Their images were of dramatic and astonishing intensity and authenticity. The reports involving these images were exactly like someone who had experienced it by being physically there. Although their reports were second or third hand, their experience seemed first hand. It was concluded, as a result, that these accounts of Holocaust experiences, although, a product of their imagination they carried an undeniable deep empathic capacity that these patients shared with the actual sufferers.


Following this discovery, Dr. Ahsen, extended the investigation involving these Holocaust images to people (Jews and non-Jews) at large, who were not victims of the Holocaust and were not patients, and found the same level of intensity as of the Jews who had been there or those who had later heard about it. Everyone reported feeling like they had been there. Interestingly, the methods of treatment for the discharge of this traumatic imagery were not different between the “virtual” or imagined images and the real Holocaust images of those who had gone through the experience first hand. Thus, the title for this program is “Holocaust: Virtual and Real.”

Very similar responses were found in the images of gentiles, but many fearing trauma, held the experience at a distance and did not empathize into it. It was found that as feelings emerged the prejudice diminished and the capacity to experience empathy came into full bloom. The natural capacity for empathy was superimposed in them by other learned ideas about Jews. When the gentiles were encouraged to experience Holocaust imagery without fear or superimposed ideas, as had the second or third generation Jews, they experienced a personal horror without any overlay of criticism or indifference toward the event. They experienced a direct experience and true knowledge of the world.


In the final search for comprehension of this type of “virtual” imagery or response, it was discovered that global images of social horrors, such as those of the Holocaust, perpetually exists in people’s minds. When attention is paid to those images, a certain amount of pain accompanies them. If attention is not paid to the full experience of these images by avoidance or discounting of them, it results in total emotional flight in the person, which injures their knowledge. This flight creates a gap or emptiness in the mind, which is of a special character of susceptibility that induces vulnerability in the person who is avoiding the painful images. They avoid dealing with the harsh realities of life, which creates a weakness in their character. This empty mind needs to be filled in with the befitting images, which are already subliminally there in the mind of the person, so that they can be helped to deal with the meta of human knowledge. Dr. Ahsen has called this type of vulnerability “Special Vulnerability Syndrome”, which all humanity suffers from. People’s ability, or lack of ability to deal, with Holocaust images is a clear barometer of this avoidance phenomena. One who is not open to the images of the Holocaust has closed down his imagination, creating a negative emptiness, which means the person himself is closed d down and the world closes down with him. In light of this, workshops have been formed to develop imagination, especially where one’s imagination has closed down in a defensive, racist or fearful way, involving themes of traumatic social situations. Even for those who are able to fully experience the Holocaust images, seeing them again in this imagery context transforms the pain into a greater wisdom, compassion, and resolution toward a better world.


From this perspective, one can understand that even the Black social experience fits into the “virtual” Holocaust and the two have a definite resonance with each other. As the two groups show empathy towards each other, through witnessing the traumatic images of the other, it manifests in a profound bond between victims of social holocausts. People carry the pain of others, therefore a unified theory of imagination at the social level becomes important, not only for the Jewish experience, but for the sake of all humanity. If one can see it, bear witness to it, then alone one can be a bearer of the other’s sins. A Gentile man seeing the images of the Holocaust in his mind said, “The Jewish suffering is very Christ like. If evokes total compassion in me. The Jew is a bearer of my sins. As I lived the images of what actually happened in my mind, I could not take it anymore. I switched my mind off and on. This is enlightening at a deep poetic level. I dare not be him. I am afraid of being him. It is like watching and sliding into a horror movie.”


Whether we are Jews, Christians or Muslims, we are not alone in this theory of imagination, which unifies all humanity. The Greeks have already commented upon it in the story of the Odyssey. When Odysseus went to visit the underworld, from its opposite side came rushing towards him, throngs of people who had been brutalized in their lives in battles and slaughters. They were victims of big and small wars. These throngs were the ghosts of old men, young men, brides, and young children. There was a deep, hollow trench between them and Odysseus. They stood on the other side and asked that their wailing be listened to and that a monument be raised in their honor as a memory of cruel deeds done to all people who did not deserve them. Odysseus promised to build a monument in their honor. The strange thing is that no monument was ever raised, and the image of the trench continued to exist between the suffering ghosts and Odysseus as if neither side could ever cross into the other. This “virtual” Holocaust imagery is now raising the promised monument and helping us to cross that trench.