Holocaust survivors have increased life expectancy, say researchers

By Hannah Pupkewitz, August 2, 2013
Auschwitz's infamous Arbeit Macht Frei gates

Auschwitz's infamous Arbeit Macht Frei gates

Male survivors of the Shoah have a longer life expectancy than their peers who fled Nazi oppression before the outbreak of war, Israeli academics have discovered.

Research at Haifa University found that men who survived Germany’s concentration and death camps lived longer than those who left Europe before 1939.

Boys who were aged between 10 and 15 at the start of the Second World War lived 10 months longer on average, and those aged between 16 and 20 lived 18 months longer than their peers who had escaped.

The scientists identified "post traumatic growth" as a possible cause behind the increase in life expectancy.

The results, published in the journal PLOS One, showed that people who suffer from intense trauma in their younger lives can "find greater satisfaction in their later lives", leading to greater life expectancy.

However the study - which researched 55,000 male and female Holocaust survivors - found there was no difference in life expectancy for women.

Last updated: 1:09pm, August 2 2013