Holocaust Survivor, Dr. Edith Eger: Overcoming Trauma | E112

Holocaust Survivor, Dr. Edith Eger: Overcoming Trauma | E112

Hear From Holocaust Survivor and Psychologist, Dr. Edith Eger!

In this episode, we are chatting with Dr. Edith Eger, a best-selling author, psychologist, and survivor of the Holocaust. In 1944, she was taken to Auschwitz as a teenager and separated from her parents, who were taken to the gas chamber. Surviving on her bravery and imagination, she was able to stay alive until American soldiers liberated the camp. She went on to move to America and received a Bachelors of Psychology as well as a Doctorate.

Dr. Eger is a prolific author and a member of several professional associations. She has a clinical practice in La Jolla, California, and holds a faculty appointment at the University of California, San Diego. She has appeared on numerous television programs including CNN and the Oprah Winfrey Show, and was the primary subject of a holocaust documentary that appeared on Dutch National Television. 

In today’s episode, we chat about Edith’s shot at competing in the Olympics as a teenager, her horrifying experience during the Holocaust, how her mental strength helped her survive. We’ll also chat more about how you can use your imagination to protect yourself, how to conquer traumatic experiences, why the label ‘victim’ shouldn’t be used, and Dr. Edith’s best tips to move forward from trauma and guilt. This is such a sobering and insightful episode that you definitely do not want to miss! 

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Check out our website to meet the team, view show notes and transcripts: www.youngandprofiting.com


03:06 – Dr. Edith’s Life Before the Holocaust

06:22 – Dr. Edith’s Journey through the Holocaust 

07:35 – Why Edith Couldn’t Compete in the Olympics 

10:22 – How to Deal With Being in a Minority and Potential Shame 

12:26 – Dr. Edith’s Final Moments With Her Mother 

16:09 – How Dr. Edith Survived Her Time in Auschwitz

19:18 – Daily Life in Auschwitz and Edith’s Experiences

23:54 – Dr. Edith’s Lingering Survivors Guilt 

28:21 – What Dr. Edith Did for 10 Years After the Holocaust

30:43 – How To Use Imagination to Protect Your Mental State 

36:26 – How To Fully Grieve Traumatic Experiences

39:24 – Dr. Edith’s New Book, The Gift

40:33 – What Happens When You Are A Prisoner Of Your Own Mind

42:20 – Why Dr. Edith’s Not a Victim

45:08 – How to Move From ‘Victim’ to ‘Survivor’

47:09 – How to Control Internal Negative Talk

49:35 – How to End Hatred and Make Progress

51:57 – Actionable Steps To Deal With Trauma 

57:48 – Does Dr. Edith Forgives the Nazis?

1:00:06 – Dr. Edith’s Secret to Profiting in Life

Mentioned in the Episode:

Dr. Edith’s Website: https://dreditheger.com/

Dr. Edith’s New Book, The Gift: https://dreditheger.com/the-gift-2/

#112: Overcoming Trauma with Holocaust Survivor, Dr. Edith Eger

[00:00:00] Hala Taha: You're listening to YAP young and profiting podcast, a place where you can listen, learn, and profit. Welcome to the show. I'm your host, Hala Taha, and on young and profiting podcast, we investigate a new topic each week and interview some of the brightest minds in the world. My goal is to turn their wisdom into actionable advice that you can use in your everyday life.

No matter your age, profession, or industry, there's no fluff on this podcast and that's on purpose. I'm here to uncover value from my guests. By doing the proper research and asking the right questions. If you're new to the show, we've chatted with the likes of ex FBI agents, real estate moguls, self-made billionaires CEOs, and bestselling authors.

Our subject matter ranges from enhancing productivity, how to gain, influence the art of entrepreneurship and more, if you're smart and like to continually improve yourself, hit the subscribe button because you'll love it here at young [00:01:00] and profiting podcast this week on yap, we're chatting with Dr. Edith Eger, a 93 year old Holocaust survivor known as the ballerina of Auschwitz.

And she is one of the last survivors of the infamous world war II concentration camp. In 1944, as a Jew, living in Nazi occupied Eastern Europe, Edith and her family were sent to Auschwitz the heinous death camp when she was just 15 years old, her parents were immediately sent to the gas chambers, but Edith bravery kept her and her sister alive. Today, Edith is a renowned clinical psychologist, speaker and author. She uses her own past as a Holocaust survivor to inspire people, to tap into their full potential and shape their very best destinies. Her memoir, The Choice:  Embrace The Possible is a New York times bestseller. In today's episode, we chat about Edith chance at competing in the Olympics as a teenager, her horrifying experience during the Holocaust and how her mental strengths helped her survive.

[00:02:00] We'll also discuss her recently released book, the gift: 12 lessons to save your life, to uncover how you can use your imagination to protect yourself and how you can conquer traumatic experiences. We'll go on to understand why the label victim shouldn't be used. And we'll hear Dr. Edith best tips to move forward from trauma and guilt

hi, Edith. Welcome to young and puffing podcast.

Dr. Edith Eger: Hello. Hello. I'm so happy to wake up in the morning and look forward to seeing you .

Hala Taha: You are the sweetest dearest, such a sweet lady. So you have an incredible story. Edith, you are a Holocaust survivor. You're also a psychiatrist and you teach people how to deal with trauma and stress.

And so I can't wait to unpack that all, but before we get started, I do want to talk about what happened to you before the Holocaust. From my understanding you were a gymnast, you were training for the Olympic games, and then they told you that you couldn't compete. So talk to us about life before the [00:03:00] Holocaust, before all these terrible things happened. When you were 15 years old.

Dr. Edith Eger: I was born into a very talented family. My older sister, Magda was a very talented pianist. Then my sister Clara played the violin. . So the two of them were  playing together. And my sister would accompany Magda, the violinist Clara, and what happened that my parents really wanted a son.

And then as I came along and I never felt that I really belonged to the family. And at the age of three, I was very ill. There was an epidemic, some kind of Spanish fever they called it . I was rendered close side. Doctor came in and somehow, unfortunately managed to touch my eye, send I became closed side.

And when we went for a walk, [00:04:00] my sisters blind for  me. So no one see what an ugly sister I was. And I can still sing to you in Hungarian that I'm so ugly and puny, and I'm never going to find a husband, and to top all that, my mom looked at me very seriously and said, I'm glad you have brain because you have no looks..

So I became a very talented gymnast and I had a wonderful ballet master that somehow gave me hope that I have a future as well. And my ballet master told me that I am very talented and that or my ecstasy has to come from inside out. This is important to say today , because as we have the epidemic of also hopelessness that people are not really seeing [00:05:00] this as something temporary that we can really find the gift in everything.

And this is a time out to the group and revisit the places where your been and then stop complaining so much. So I'm really happy to talk to you as a 93, a good drama and you would have wonderful girl aroma that. So I'm so glad that you're really committed and you're doing your calling. No, it's not that job. You go on it.

Hala Taha: Thank you. That's so crazy that, you grew up and even your mother told you that you weren't going to get married. And I even know back then the culture was when you were a woman, you get married or nothing, that was everything to get married, but you ended up meeting a boyfriend and you are actually very beautiful.

So it's surprising to hear that because you are beautiful ballerina. I've seen pictures and so surprising to hear that, but you did end up meeting a boyfriend, right? And you were [00:06:00] very happy. What happened? How did you guys end up getting separated and what happened next?

Dr. Edith Eger: We were picked up and taken to a factory from our home and so we met them and when I was taken to, to the train station, Where we were just thrown in and taken the wild shreds.

He said to me, we don't know where I will meet you , again, but I want you to know you have beautiful eyes and beautiful hands. So I said to myself in Auschwitz, I would go to everyone. Tell me about my hands. Tell me about my eyes. Because I said to myself, if I survive today, then tomorrow I'll be free.

So tomorrow can be a good friend that even today that people can just take every moment, make the best of it and know that it's [00:07:00] temporary and become self-driving.

Hala Taha: So you were saying that you were training for the Olympic games and before actually you went to the brick factory, I believe they told you that you couldn't compete because you were Jewish.

How did that make you feel at the time?

Dr. Edith Eger: I ran to actually to a Jewish school and when we came out. Children, they're spitting at us. And calling me a Christ killer. I didn't realize that Jesus was a Jewish boy. I did not know that. And I just didn't want to be a Christ killer. So I felt prejudice before he planned in Hungary.

So I think it's very important for you and I to not to forget yesterday and , not even over comment, but to come to terms with that and know that is a, hit that in every one of the worst. And that is kindness and goodness and the mother there is sound. And [00:08:00] so I was able to look at the guards and we'd guards have to turn here to get into PT.

And I felt sorry for the guards that they would throw children in the gas chamber without even gassing them. And so I was able to somehow be in hell and make it an opportunity to discover that life is from inside out. And I was able to somehow not to allow anyone to get to me just like today.

That's what I did. No one makes me angry. No one can reject me. Rejection is just an English word   that people use when they don't get what they want. So you'll have to do the expectation and reality and look at the gap because sometimes. We [00:09:00] expect something from someone who doesn't have it to give.

Hala Taha: So I want to drill on one part.

I want to go deep on one part, which is before they were taken to the brick factory before you guys went to Auschwitz , you got rejected to be in the Olympic games because you were Jewish. And I read that you actually denied that you were Jewish because you were ashamed. And I think that this is something that a lot of people feel right now, I'm Arabic.

And when 9/11 happened, I stopped. I told everyone I'm not Muslim. I'm not Arabic. Like I didn't want to be associated with it. And I understand when you can feel ashamed for no reason. And I think even there's other cultures out there, black children, for example, some of them say that they wish they were white, and so how should we deal with this? Like when we are a part of a minority group that is something that we may feel internally is shamed of. How do we deal with that? Would you say?

Dr. Edith Eger: Most of us are not dealers to begin with. I think what we want to do is [00:10:00] love ourselves and to really allow us to be a convenience, whether other people are telling us, when I go to school, I tell children to don't allow anyone to define who you are.

You are a human being, and that's what I am see. I, you tell me that I'm Holocaust survivor. I am a human being who experienced the Holocaust, but it's not my identity. I am not a victim. I was victimized. It's not who I am. It's what was done to me. And we all experienced drama, one kind or another in our lives.

So I think very important for us not to take things personally, because if someone in the English language says you, the word you say to yourself, I'm [00:11:00] going to be dumped on. And the more they talk, the more relaxed I become, you take the negative stimuli and turn it into positive and just say, thank you for your opinion.

Thank you for your feedback that you don't. If someone throws out the rope, don't pick it up. It takes two to fight. It takes one to stop it.

Hala Taha: Okay. So let's talk, you mentioned before that you guys were taken to work, your family was taken away from your home. You were taken to work at a brick factory, and then one day you guys were taking the Auschwitz, which, and that was the last day I believe that you saw your parents and your mom's last words to you was no one can take from you what you've put in your mind. So I'd love for you to take us back to that moment and what happened there and how you felt when your mom told you those words and what it meant to you moving on in terms of dealing with all the things that you dealt with later on in life.

Dr. Edith Eger: You see my mother, I was very psychic. I don't [00:12:00] know if you are too, but there  is a sixth sense that she didn't know where we going. And she hugged me in the kettle of card and said, honey, we don't know where we're going. We don't know what's going to happen. Just remember no one can take away from you, what you put here in your own mind.

And that's exactly what happened. We arrived and I saw the sign Arbeit Macht Frei work makes you free. And my father said, it's okay. It just gonna work. And then we go home, but that's not what happened. I never saw my father when I was liberated. Someone told me that his, so my brother and being taken to the gas chamber.

So there was nothing coming from the outside and I became very suicidal on as well, because when we were liberated, we didn't [00:13:00] know how to embrace the freedom. People would walk out the gate and them, this song come back today. It's called learned helplessness in burger king with better wives. Many years ago, I was helping to build transitional living centers for women who go back to their husband, even though he would beat her, but he brain washes her, telling her that she's nothing without him.

So you have to be very careful depression. Many times is in a situation when people don't really know what to do, but to take the unfortunate beating.

Hala Taha: Yeah. And I'm sure when you're living in those conditions, like you said, when you get out of them, it's probably so hard to just assimilate back into society.

[00:14:00] Dr. Edith Eger: Where do you go? Many years ago, if I would say to somebody that I want to be a doctor, they probably would have told me because she couldn't find a husband because when I was a little, a little boy was told to become a, somebody, a doctor, a lawyer, whatever. But the little girl was told I was stolen to find somebody.

Because you're nobody until somebody loves you. That's not true at all. You are somebody I am as somebody, and that is very important to put value on yourself. And if she'll meet them once , see where they are. They are where they led, where they have you, you don't come. You want someone who is going to work like the pioneer woman in America, but alongside of the husband, I think that's important. It's not until the  industrial [00:15:00] society. When a woman became emotionally and financially dependent on a man, that's when, why beating began.

Hala Taha: That's very true. So let's go back to that story. No one can take from you what you've put in your mind, what your mother told you, you ended up being your older sister Magda's mirror when you were in Auschwitz , which you helped your older sister.

So how are you mentally strong compared to everyone else? How did you survive being in those conditions? What did you see when you were there with your sister? Take us back there.   Tell us what happened.

Dr. Edith Eger: I usually tell people today, if you want to say anything, ask yourself, is it kind. Is it very important?

Is it very necessary? And if not, then don't see it. And that's why we have two ears and one lips. So we would listen more and talk less. So I remember when my sister Magda asked me, how do I look? [00:16:00] And Hungarian women can be very vague and so bad. We were here, we are in a makeup nest and she asked me, how do I look?

And I had a choice. Then as you have a choice now I always liked to bring the debt. And then to the here and now, and I said to Magda, I looked at her and instead of telling her how she looked, I said to herself, Magda, you have beautiful eyes. And I didn't tell you when you had your hat all over the plants, And she said, thank you.

And I think today we do have a choice because what we could not do in Auschwitz is to have any control of what was happening outside of us. But we had a choice the way responded rather than reacting. Because if you touch the God, you will shut right away, if you touch a live wire you will [00:17:00] electrocuted.

Hala Taha: Oh my gosh.

And so basically you would tell your sister that she looked beautiful, so that she wouldn't feel bad. Is that what it was ?

Dr. Edith Eger: While we had it? When I was on Adela, ran a girl next to me, found the mirror and I couldn't understand where do you find a mirror in a place like that? And in no time at all?

I see the same girl with the mirror. And she told me Marie Antoinette in my book, see, you take your imagination. And I remember in Auschwitz, they even took my blood like twice a week. And I asked, why are you taking my blood? And that guy said to eat the German soldiers so we can be in the war and take over the world, especially America icon Liang my [00:18:00] arm, maybe.

But I said to myself with my blood, you're never going to be in the ward. I was a ballet dancer and I was a gymnast. And so they could throw me in a gas chamber. They could beat me, torture me. And yet they could never touch my spirit.

Hala Taha: Wow.

Dr. Edith Eger: Where they can know where they can.

Hala Taha: What else happened in Auschwitz, which is like, what was daily life like? Like you just mentioned, they took blood from you twice a week. What are those things? Did you witness?

Dr. Edith Eger: I think this was hair. And right now we are experiencing a situation that we don't know what's going to happen tomorrow. And that's a very unfortunate place to be because you don't know what's going to happen tomorrow.

So I, to put on your [00:19:00] curiosity and recognized that you never really think of suicide because you want to know what's going to happen next. And that's what kept me alive, my curiosity, and what we had was each other. So when I was asked to dance for Dr. Mengele who came to the bed, that was my school teacher from the Jewish school who taught me to do, as I am told.

And I remember I closed my eyes and I pretended that the music was Tchaikovsky and I was dancing the Roman Juliet and they would have hashed up at her house. So you had to go beyond the me me, we had to commit ourselves to each other as we do now. And it was very important. And then when I was done, by the way, while I was dancing, he was [00:20:00] pointing out this guy who to take to the gas chamber.

And so I began to pray for him. And then when I was done, I was given a piece of bread and then God, instead of gobbling up the bread, I saved it and gave it and shared it with the girls. I was up there on the third stop. When we were in a death march in April, 1945, I was about to stop. And if you stopped, you were shot right away and thrown into a ditch. I've even heard it in that place too. But the girls that I shared with cam and they carried me, so I won't die, amazing that the condition brings out best in us and they get it me. So everyone that. And then [00:21:00] gave him where we were going to be. They were preparing to kill us there, but then God, they American soldiers, the 71st infantry camp.

And we were liberated May 4th. So think of me May 4, 1945, Friday afternoon. The sense came marching in. And I met a man who was part of the 71st infantry. And I went to Colorado and also consulted on post-traumatic stress with the soldiers and told them that uniform gave me life that I was given a second chance.

Hala Taha: Wow. And from my understanding, you were found by soldiers with pneumonia, you had pleurisy, I can't say that a broken back and you and your sister were basically [00:22:00] dying on top of dead bodies, and then they found you like moving your hand or something. That's crazy. And you met your husband shortly after that, right?

Dr. Edith Eger: I just want you to know that you are the most brilliant interviewer and I had many thank you for reading and knowing my study. I have a story when I'm not my study. And for me to be honored and handing the torch to you, knowing that I want to be remembered as someone who did everything in her power, that your children will never experience what I did.

So you are

Hala Taha: a survivor, right? You hate, you actually don't like that word, but you've made it out of the Holocaust alive. Did you have any guilt when you came home, when you were in America, raising your family and you ended up becoming a psychiatrist and becoming successful, did you have guilt with you?

[00:23:00] Dr. Edith Eger: I have still, unfortunately, the survivors get, I even asked my sister when I saw two paraplegics working with PTSD and one of them was angry and blaming everything from God to country.

And the other one said to me, Hey doc, I am in a wheelchair. And I didn't realize that I'm closer to my children. And I'm closer to the flower scent. And here I was wearing a white coat, Dr. Eger department of psychiatry, and I felt like the worst in pasta. And that's when I decided to go back to our shreds, back [00:24:00] to the lions.

They are look at the lion in a phase to reclaim my inner sense and that's work. I do today. It's about grieving feeling and healing. I am a licensed clinical psychologist. I'm also on a faculty at UCLA medical school with the department of psychiatry. And we talk about death and dying and the it's amazing how we cannot really be free until we go through the rage.

Going through the valley of the shadow of that, but don't get stuck in that. That's what people they eat or evolving. And I think I, you and I are guiding people to not to go with the same thing over and over again, but to able to [00:25:00] go through just like a butterfly, go through the metamorphosis, and this is a good time to ask yourself, what am I holding on to?

And what am I willing to let go of? My definition of a lot of, is the ability to let go. Yeah. The ability to let go.

Hala Taha: That's your definition of love?

Dr. Edith Eger: At definition of love, because you give up the need for other people's approval of you.

Hala Taha: Yeah. It's like freedom.

Dr. Edith Eger: You need one. It's impossible. But most of all, you give up perfectionism because I always see perfectionism leading to procrastination.

Do you procrastinate?

Hala Taha: Do I procrastinates? When I'm afraid I procrastinate when I make it in my mind. That's, something's harder than it is, but as soon as I give it a try and just try it for 10 [00:26:00] minutes, that's it. That's all it takes.

Dr. Edith Eger: Do you know what is the best four letter word?

Hala Taha: What's that?

Dr. Edith Eger:  It starts with an at risk. So if I come to you and tell you, I like to get to know you and I hope you like to get to know me, not Dr. Edith . And you tell me that you respect me. And yet you're really not interested in getting to know me. So I was risking, I didn't get what I want, but I was not rejected because no one can reject me, but me.

So give up that where I just wanted something and I didn't get it so I can be disappointed, but don't get discouraged. I can be angry, but I made it lead to the resentment. See, once you're angry, you'll get power away to someone. You have to be careful not to do that.

Hala Taha: I totally [00:27:00] agree. Okay. So you were released into society, you ended up finding a husband, you became a psychiatrist, but it took you 10 years to come out with your first book. It was called The choice: Embrace the possible, it took you 10 years. So were you afraid to share, did you talk about being a Holocaust survivor or were you just shut it out and you didn't really think about it much? What happened in those 10 years?

Dr. Edith Eger: Yes. When I came to America, I didn't have $6 to get of the boat. I did not speak English at all. Everything was okay. Okay. I was totally broke. And so I decided just to go underground and become a Yankee doodle dandy like you and I never told anyone I was in Auschwitz and tear. I finally broke that when I read the book by Viktor Frankl, man's search for meaning. So [00:28:00] when Dr.

Phillips Zimbardo came to me and told me that the Holocaust survivors who are famous at all, man, and they need a female voice. And so that's how I was able to do the choice. That is the female voice. But Victor Franco was in his studies and a medical doctor in 1944. And I was a 16 year old in love. So we were there in different times, but we both used the scare.

He said, he'd do close his eyes and pretended that he was lecturing at the Viennese lecture hall about the psychology of the concentration camp. When I told him that I too close my eyes and I was dancing in my wonderful ways of not being [00:29:00] in a pleasant and get through it and to be able to actually play for Dr. Manga.

Hala Taha: Yeah. So let's stick on that for a second. So you were just saying that you used your imagination when you were in the concentration camp to keep your sanity so you weren't get depressed. You wouldn't be suicidal. You used your imagination. Are there any other tactics that we can use today?

If we're in a bad situation? No matter, I don't think there's things as extreme as being in a concentration camp, but let's say you're in an abusive relationship, or let's say you're in a bad work environment. How can we take these trauma, any traumatic situation that we're currently in and make sure we protect our mental state?

What do you suggest that we do?

Dr. Edith Eger: I tell you one, one word that is not in my vocabulary. I can't. So when I'm in a classroom, I run to their Blackboard. I say, I can't equals, I am how blessed. And then I take the [00:30:00] eraser. I take the apostrophe and a T I can. Why? Because I think I can, I think very importantly, because you see when cannibalism broke out in that camp, when I was liberated and people were eating other people's flesh, my liberator told me that people were eating that horse, which I did not see, but I was able to look up at God and I want you to see the sound of music because it was there.

And I looked up at God and I asked God to help me. And God told me just to look down and I remember I am choosing one blade of grass over against the dad. So when people say, I can't see, 'em how blessed that's not true. You [00:31:00] can choose one blade of grass, even then I had a choice. So that's why I'm not a string.

I'm a stretch. Okay. And today I'm guiding people to stretch their comfort zone and not to give up so quickly ever, because there is hope in hopelessness. There is the light after the tunnel, there is a rain after the rain. It's just how you look at things. I think it's very important, not what happens, but everything in life is an opportunity.

So if you are married to someone who is drinking and you think that your love is going to make him want to stop drinking, think again, unfortunately, addiction is with us and I hope that people take stock of [00:32:00] themselves now. And whatever you do in excess, find a balance between working and loving and playing.

Don't forget the play, but not too old to do anything.

Hala Taha: This episode of yap is sponsored by Better Help. It's something preventing you from being truly happy. Are you unable to focus and achieve your goals? Guys? Nobody is perfect. We're all a work in progress. Even I still have a lot of mental work to do and you'll witness it yourself.

Later on in this episode, I literally start crying when asking Dr. Edith the question, because there's some deep trauma that I still need to work out inside of me related to the death of my father last year from COVID-19. And aside from all the trauma I faced from the pandemic, my boyfriend of 10 years, and I are having some serious relationship troubles.

Honestly, it's been a tough time. So I started to talk to someone to stay clearheaded [00:33:00] positive and focused. If you want to talk too someone to better help, we'll assess your needs and match you with your own licensed professional therapist. And forget about sitting in a stuffy waiting room, better help is available worldwide.

And it's super convenient. It's all online, safe, confidential, and you can start talking to someone in less than 48 hours. With better health, you can schedule a weekly video or phone sessions, whichever you prefer, and you can send a message to your counselor at any time. They have professional counselors who specialize in depression, anxiety, relationships, trauma, family conflicts, LGBT matters, and so much more.

They'll match you with a professional that fits your unique needs. And if for some reason you're not vibing with your therapist, you can switch counselors at any time it's affordable and it's less expensive than traditional offline counseling and financial aid is available too. I want you to start living a happier life today as a listener of young and profiting podcasts, you'll get 10% off your first [00:34:00] month by visiting our sponsor betterhelp.com/ yap. Join over 1 million people who have taken charge of their mental health. Again, that's betterhelp.com/ yap .

I'm going to share a very personal story with you, and I think it will help my lesson or so COVID 19 happened. And last March, my parents got COVID 19 and my dad ended up passing away in May from COVID. And for a whole month, I watched my dad die on camera. Sorry. I watched

him die. Okay. For a month. I just watched him die every day and we weren't allowed to see him and it was terrible. And I remember my uncle. Who's his best friend. He would refuse to even watch him on zoom. When he told me, you'll never get those images out of your head.

If you keep watching him like this is how you're going to remember him now. And it's true. When I think about him, I keep seeing him in the hospital. So it's like, what do we do with traumatic images? Like, how do we get [00:35:00] that out of our head? Sorry. But I think this is helpful for everyone. I'm sure you've seen, you saw so much worse stuff.

So what I'm even crying about is nothing compared to what you saw. So it's like, how do we get these traumatic images out of our head? What do we do?

Dr. Edith Eger: When a woman came to me and told me she was sexually abused, and I don't know how I can tell you either, because you were in Auschwitz. And my aunt said to her was you were more in prison than I was because I knew the enemy. And so when you have a feeling about your dad, what comes out of your body will not make you ill crying gets very good, very healthy to go through the valley of the shadow that go through it. And how old were you when your father died?

Hala Taha: It was just last year. So I was 30.

Dr. Edith Eger: So you can think that you didn't lose your [00:36:00] father. You had him sent to you for that many years. And so sit down and invite the feeling. Stop, denying, stop running from the feeling it's okay to grieve and you can't heal what you don't feel. Psychiatrist now and we're working on that and they do not Medicaid grieve. It's not clinical depression.

You got to really acknowledge that. Half of you is your dad. And you're carrying the blind. I carry also the blood of my ancestors who were on the desert for 40 some years. And God knows what in the promised land. And sometimes even they were worshiping something other than God. And yet [00:37:00] you see, you make it.

So I don't like the word dealing, I don't think we are very good dealers. I think we're lovers. And I think we have joy and love and passion that we're born with. And that's what I feel at 93. I don't care about the numbers because when I was 40, I was told to go get a doctor. And I told my supervisor it's impossible and I'll be 50 something.

And he said, you will be 50 anyway. And I think that is as this thing that happened, go back to school. We'll study belly dancing, do something other than you did yesterday. So stretch your comfort zone.

Hala Taha: Yeah, the time is going to pass. Anyway, that's such a valuable lesson. So you have a book, a new book that came out in 2020 called the Gift:12 lessons to save your [00:38:00] life.

Can you talk to us about some of these lessons that you talk about in that book?

Dr. Edith Eger: I was getting all these phone calls, thanks for telling me that congratulations that their choice made that the New York times best seller and I am ofcourse happy, and they say, but you need another book because you need to tell me more practical skills.

And so that's the gift came about and see the concentration camp that is in your present, namely in your head that you don't care about yourself. You may carry some guilt and shame and unresolved grief and other rigidity. And then you ask yourself, am I evolving or evolving? And am I ready to recognize that there is no forgiveness without rage?

Hala Taha: You say that the worst prison you [00:39:00] were ever in was the one that you created for yourself. Talk about what, what happens when you're a prisoner of your own mind?

Dr. Edith Eger: I was graduated comb loud and I was told to pick up, I kept in Ghana and the certain place at a certain time. And I never showed up because I said to myself, I have no rights because they are dead and I'm not, I had tremendous, survivor's scared.

And I did not show up for my graduation today. I would not do that because you see when you're angry also, you must realize that anger is not the primary emotion. You got to look at the other emotions. Once you're angry, you gave every, your power it's best, not to become angry because you're just hurting yourself.

So [00:40:00] what you want to do is write down. We, man, come to me, the, I need a man. I need a man. And I said write down what you want from that idea, man, that you want. And then you become that person. Whatever she'll become better at it. So that two things I ask you to do, think about your thinking and pay attention.

What you're paying attention to. Any behavior you'll pay attention to you reinforce that very behavior. Okay. So if you like to change, remember if you don't change, you don't grow.

Hala Taha: Let's continue on this victim mentality. You say that you are not a victim, you were victimized. It's not who you are. It's what was done to you. Could you explain that to us?

Dr. Edith Eger: Thank you. Thank you. Yeah, it's important because what you think you create, [00:41:00] you say, I don't want to think about it. You tell me, I wonder lose weight, but I don't want to think about food. I don't want to think about food. Guess what happens? Your body, your mind is a computer, whatever you say.

I don't want to think about food. You're going to think about food. Yes. Means no, no means. Yeah, a lot of the time. So that's why it's good to have a goal and pay attention what you focus on. And that has to be coming closer and closer to your goal. I like to call it the arrow that you follow. When I came to America, I came from Germany to New York, but there was a big storm at the English channel.

And I noticed that we were taking away from that place. And then I noticed that we came back to that place so we can go to New York, not to China. So it's very important for you to [00:42:00] have a goal. I was many years ago doing some work with a horse and that's a wonderful way to do therapy. And because the horse will follow you wherever you go.

It's a place called Miraval in Tucson, Arizona. And I was with a wonderful gynecologist, Dr. Brooks, and we took women with breast cancer and they were using the horse and I was working with one myself. It's amazing how they are sensing you and following you wherever you are. So your spirit could never be touched.

And never can be touched even today, unless you wear a shirt and says, kick me. And some people like to be [00:43:00] victims because you cannot be a victim without a victimizer, so it can give you a chance to do nothing. And it's very important because many people look at the victims as being weak and victimizers as being strong.

And part of the psychic identify with the aggression , we call it the Stockholm syndrome.

Hala Taha: So if somebody has a victim mindset or they always have a victim mindset, how can they move from being a victim to a survivor?

Dr. Edith Eger: When you're a victim, you're always gonna find a victimizer, but yesterday's victims can also become today's victimizers so many times, especially parents call their children names.

And unfortunately it can go from generation to generation, but you can stop it, find a [00:44:00] parent in you that is loving and caring and find a parent in you that really doesn't even have to say anything. One look can do it. So it's very important. Look at the iContact and I can kill you with my eyes and I can love you with my eyes.

It's very important then to, for me to tell you that, because what I say, I lived it. I lived it when my sister looked at me for the answers and I kept looking at her that without her, I don't want to leave either. And all we have is each other and over we had was each other then, and all we have is each other now.

Hala Taha: That's beautiful. And so just before this, you were talking about the need to have a [00:45:00] vision, have a goal, have an end goal so that you can have something to look forward, to get yourself out of whatever you're in right now, by having a goal. There's also importance of removing any sort of negative self chatter, negative self-talk.

And you say that this negativity can actually impact you physically, it can make your cells in your body sick. So how can we make sure that we are not super negative? How do we control that internal talk and how does negativity impact your body?

Dr. Edith Eger: That is one thing we can change is our attitude, our thinking.

And when you change your thinking, you're going to change your feelings as well. So it's very important to think about your thinking. And one thing you don't want to do ever again, as co audio, because I used to ask my patients, how are you? [00:46:00] And they would say fine, the next time they came. I said, geez, good to see you.

I missed you. Don't ask questions because people only lie. If you ask questions, make a statement. So if your husband comes home, get rid of what is called social noises. How are you find that you have a good day? Yeah. What do you want to do tonight? I don't know. What do you want to do? I know when you go back and forth going nowhere, you are evolving, not evolving.

So stop at in questions and stuff asking. Anything that would lead for you to give an advice? The verged wipes, his advice. I wondered about that and I wonder what I would do if I were you, but don't say, why don't you do [00:47:00] this? Or why don't you do that? Because then they're going gonna say, oh, you taught me to do it.

You're saying. And so I teach people, especially couples, how to fight and how they finish the fight that you give up. There needs to be right, because I'm right, but I'm on a ride for eating. I cannot be right for the pressure soon.

Hala Taha: So here we are. It's 2021, right? And there's still prejudice. There's still racism.

There's still hatred. And it's different groups. It's the same groups and different groups. How do you suggest that we end all this hatred and racism going on specifically in America with what's going on with black lives matter and everything like that. What is your opinion on that? And how do you suggest that we start to make progress?

Dr. Edith Eger: It was very painful for me to see that the white supremacy group is really growing that I saw the shirt [00:48:00] on January 6th on someone that said 6 million was not enough. I think I've I wonder whether these people had a loving mother because you learn to hate, you're not born with that. It's very important for us to unite and exchange philosophies that you can be Muslim and they add up, it says, see and your ancestors and my ancestors didn't give up and you, and I can see it's what you can, centrate on what you pay attention to.

So we don't run away from Europe, wonder for people who never gave up, and that's why you are here. And that's why I'm here and said why the [00:49:00] desert and Holocaust the state of Israel. And then some people give up too quickly in America. People get a divorce much quicker. Rather than recognizing that they can empower each other with our differences that you can be you and I can be.

I, and that's what America was built on democracy that you can be you and I can be. I am, and to have the freedom and not to be against, but to be for life and for celebration.

Hala Taha: Amazing. Edith, this was such an amazing interview before I go onto my last question that I ask all my guests. I do want to ask, is there anything regarding trauma and helping people deal with trauma, especially in the time of COVID-19 where people like me our parents have died and we've all dealt with a lot of suffering this past year. What [00:50:00] is your top actionable steps to deal with trauma?

Dr. Edith Eger: I think one of the things I ask people. Pick a time a day when you just allow yourself to grieve, it's okay to feel sorry for yourself and say why me and it's okay. As long as you don't get stuck there and possibly, 15- 20 minutes. And but not the rest of the day, you go the rest of the day working loving, playing that you have a way to the recognized that you would find it in die in way.

And my parents then die in vain and they are really winking. And they're saying that we carry that blood from generation to generation that we don't give up ever. That we are able to feel the [00:51:00] feelings. So there is grieving feeling and healing. And I think we are going through that, the journey and climbing that mountain and slipping and climbing and never stopped climbing.

I have yet to arrive. I don't live in our shreds. I really don't live in Auschwitz. I call it my cherished one because it's, I learned to look at life from inside out that I was able to reach out to others, that we had a family of inmates. And I hope that now we can unite and truly stop this us and them mentality.

And richer for it. And I was a very lonely child, [00:52:00] but I'm so glad that I was able to find an out shreds, my inner resources that no Nazi could ever take away from me, such as eating his first Sunday. Just say, thank you for your opinion. Thank you for letting me know your fear. But one digit dad did not study Plato when he said there was no Holocaust.

I'm not going to go and tell him that you're wrong. When I'm going to tell him to possibly go first of all, to Germany, to go to a German consulate, the nearest, when you can find. And you may also find out that the largest Jewish population today is in Germany, that the 12 years of Nazis doesn't make or German Nazis.

No, not at [00:53:00] all. There was a woman dying. I remember a while ago it was in a newspaper and they asked her, why did you rescue your life to save Jews? And her aunt said was in her death bed. My father told me that's the right thing to do. I'm sure your father is very proud of you, but you have to be yourself. If you have a child say, I'm proud of you say, I hope you're proud of yourself.

Hala Taha: It's so powerful. What you're saying, like the fact that you found the internal strength and through all of those terrible experiences, you were able to find your internal power that kept you alive and kept your sister alive and helped you now helping thousands and millions of people.

So God bless you. You are an angel here on earth. Honestly, I feel your goodness inside of you. And I do want to [00:54:00] ask, do you forgive the Nazis who treated you and your family that way? Do you forgive the Nazis who murdered your parents?

Dr. Edith Eger: I see a couple of things that is no forgiveness without rage.

No, don't cover garlic with chocolate and we got to go through that rage. It's very important that we do that. Where is your father buried in New Jersey, in a cemetery. I hope you'll be able to go there even if not in person and take your shoes off and make contact with him so he can rest in peace, knowing that you carry that blend, that you do everything in your power, that this would never happen again. He is giving you a standing ovation and says it just like Mr. Higgins by God. She's got it. You got it. You got [00:55:00] it, girl. You got it, girl. You out of the Y A P and the young beautiful adventurous. Romanda because you see, you're not talking, you're doing say love is really not what you feel is what you do and what you do that you are totally committed to turn that to reality.

Hala Taha: Oh, thank you so much, Edith. So I just want to make sure, I feel like this could be such a powerful insight to our listeners. Were you able to forgive those Nazi soldiers? Do you forgive them? And it was that part of the grieving

Dr. Edith Eger: It's forgiveness is a gift that I give myself and not to carry their hate, because if I would carry that hate, I would still be a prisoner.

You've got to be very selective. Who's going to get your anger every day. It's [00:56:00] again, that, that beautiful brand that we have and what we do with it is. With us. So I back teenagers don't smoke pot because it interferes with the natural growth of your brain. The brain does until you're 25. So don't play around, just stay in school.

Because when I was 40, I was told to go get a doctor and my supervisor told me to go do it. And I said, I don't think I am able to, because I'm already 40. And by the time I got my doctor, I'll be over 50. And he said to me, you'll be 50 anyway. And I think that is so important not to look at the numbers.

It's the way you look at everything. Even the hell in our shreds that gave me the [00:57:00] opportunity to reach out, to share my bread with my sister and to be able to not only survive, but to be a guide. The people who can change from victimization to empowerment for, to share your gear and secrets and not to neglect yourself because self-love is self-care, it's not narcissistic.

Hala Taha: I'm so happy that we got to talk. I'm so happy that I get to share your story with all my listeners and all my fans on LinkedIn. You are a beautiful spirit and thank you for all the work that you do. The last question that I ask all my guests is what is your secret to profiting in life? And this can be profiting with your professional life, your social life, your love life, your financials, just what is your secret to having a profiting, fulfilling life?

Dr. Edith Eger: Just keep walking, just keep evolving. And [00:58:00] keep giving and keep being the true self. And I think this is a wonderful time for people to discover the, to sell the genuine sell that you gave up early on. And the question is, when did your childhood end and go find that little girl in you and tell her I'm never going to leave you and to be able to carry that little beautiful child with you, who is really so happy that you're going to be the caring, loving mom to you and tell that little girl you're the only one.

You're the only one. Keep on loving and so love conquers or that's on love is not what you feel is what you do. So come up with a reward system. If [00:59:00] you do something today, what you have previously avoided, put the book in a jar, just like a monkey, to get the chiefs and then you cash it in a number banana, and then you cash it in maybe a, an, a SCADA skirt or something I have for at least four. Do the rowers have scarves from 20 years ago. And people thought I just got it. But I was in many where NASCAR that opened up, as SCADA is a horse, it was the owner's horse as Canada. So I became their SCADA girl and I still have. That SCADA scarves from 20 years ago and people think I just bought it.

Hala Taha: It looks beautiful on you. And if for those of you guys listening and she's wearing a beautiful white scarf on camera, so it looks gorgeous. The final question is where can our listeners go to find out about you? [01:00:00] Where can they find your books and everything about what you do online?

Dr. Edith Eger: Yeah, I think I operations such system will tell you all about it. Here you go. But it's editheger.com.

Hala Taha: Perfect. And we'll put those in the show notes and I'll find all your other links too. Thank you so much, Edith. You are an angel. Thanks for sharing your story. Thanks for all the work that you do in the world. You are a role model. You are a survivor you're beautiful woman, and just thank you so much for your time.

And this is going to be an amazing interview. So thanks so much for your time and all the learnings that we learned from you today.

Dr. Edith Eger: Thank you. Thank you. You are the future. You are the ambassador for peace and Goodwill. God bless you. Thank you.

Hala Taha: Thanks for listening to young and profiting podcast. Dr. Edith was so sweet and had such an incredible story. I'm so thankful that we all [01:01:00] got to experience that. And I personally loved when Dr. Edith was talking about how she's not a victim and how we can move from being a victim to a survivor. Dr. Edith had every excuse in the book to remain a permanent victim.

She went through some terrible things, but she made the choice to heal. I want you guys to always remember that true freedom can only be found by forgiving. Letting go and moving on and Dr. Edith own powerful words, we all have a story, but I refuse to be my story. I was victimized, but I'm not a victim.

That is so powerful. I was victimized, but I am not a victim. Dr. Edith's life story is a perfect example of how everything that happens to us in life, including painful and traumatic experiences. Yeah. They can be transformed into a source of inspiration. We can focus on what is possible now, instead of focusing on the past, Dr. Edith survived because of her attitude about life, her courage, her willingness to forgive [01:02:00] and her ability to focus beyond the enormous pain and suffering she endured during that camp. And personally with my dad died from COVID. I watched him suffer for an entire month. I watched him get buried without a proper funeral, and it was very traumatic for me, but I didn't realize it back then, but I did something very similar to Dr. Edith instead of just wallowing in my pain, instead of deciding I was a victim, I did quite the opposite. I decided to forgive, let go, and focus on the future. I focused on my podcast and my business, and that's why 2020 ended up being the worst year. And the best year of my life, it was because I let go. I forgave and I decided to focus my energy and get inspired and focus all of that energy, repackage it into something positive and work on my podcast and my business.

That's what I did to get out of it. That crazy situation. But obviously there's still some work to do because you guys heard me. I started crying during the interview. It's very embarrassing, but still there's lots of work to do, which is [01:03:00] why. I'm talking to someone and if you're out there and you want to talk to someone to check out our sponsors better help go to betterhelp.com/yap.

And you'll get 10% off your first month of therapy. And if you have pain or trauma that you're still holding onto, you could also pick up Dr. Edith's book the gifts, and you can learn more about press revering through the healing process. If you enjoyed this conversation with Dr. Edith, and you want more inspirational content to fuel your soul, why don't you check out my episode, number 100, which features me, Hala Taha, and my top three secrets to profiting in life.

It goes on to explain how 2020 was both the worst year and the best year of my life. Here's the clip from that special episode. And I hope this inspires you to realize that you probably have a lot of value to share in your life. And I hope that my story of 2020 and all the struggles that I went through and how I overcame them and ended up having the best year of my life.

I hope that inspires you. And I hope that some of my [01:04:00] secrets on my journey inspire you and you'll remember them the next time that you know, you've got rejected and you'll remember them the next time that you want to get an opportunity. And you don't know if you have the right experiences and you'll remember the next time that you're not believing in yourself.

And hopefully you remember Hala telling you that you need to believe that life is limitless. You need to believe you can achieve your goals if you actually want to achieve them. And rejection is okay. Rejection just means you've got to create your own lane. That's the sign from the universe. When you get rejected, it doesn't mean go find another gatekeeper.

It doesn't mean go, try to convince the same gatekeeper over and over again. It means you need to do your own thing and create your own lane. That's what it means. And then every failure that you get, every experience that you take will give you skills that you can then use later on to follow your true passions.

And if you do it right, and you, [01:05:00] aren't afraid to do new things, aren't afraid to take on risks and to possibly fail, you will learn so much so fast. And you will be at an advantage when you're finally ready to do what you were truly meant to do again, if you want to get motivated and feel pumped up for life, check out my episode number 100. So many of our listeners have reached out about how much they loved that specific episode. And if you haven't subscribed to younger profiting podcasts yet, please do so you can be notified every time we drop a new episode and go ahead and drop us a review on apple podcasts. If you're an avid listener, I love me some apple podcast reviews.

They're the number one way to think us at young and profiting podcast. And if you don't have apple, write us a review or comment on Castbox  podbean podcast Republic, or wherever you listen to our show. And as always, I want to give a quick shout out to our latest apple podcast reviewer this week. Shout out, goes out to the amazing Joel Corpus.

I [01:06:00] loved your podcast Hala. I think you're amazing. Your recent interview with Josh Kaufman was phenomenal. Both you and your team did an extraordinary job of putting this together. I listened to both the first and second parts of your interview with Josh and I took several key points as great learning opportunities.

I highly recommend everyone out there to listen and experience the value that you can bring to their lives. As you have for me, my compliments to you and the app team. I wish you much success. Thank you so much, Joel, for taking the time to message me on LinkedIn with your feedback, and then posting it as an apple podcast review, you are so appreciated.

And thank you so much for acknowledging the YAPteam. They are so amazing. I'm so blessed to have an amazing research team and social team, the whole entire team. Rock. So thank you for taking the time to appreciate them as well. And if you would like to be featured on younger profiting podcasts, just like Joel, please remember to subscribe and rate us a five star review on apple podcasts and go ahead and share young and profiting podcasts with your [01:07:00] friends and family.

And on social media, you can find me on Instagram at yapwithhala or LinkedIn, just search for my name. It's Hala Taha, and now I'm on clubhouse. I'm hosting rooms in there every single day. Big thanks to the yap team as always. This is Hala.


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