Conference: European Perpetrators and Victims
Then and Now A Working Conference in the Series “The Past in the Present”
September 5-10, 2012 Kliczków Castle, Poland

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Director's Words
Conference Brochure
Administrative Information
  • NOTE:

    You can either read this brochure online here, or download it as a pdf.

    Sponsoring Organizations

    German Psychoanalytic Association (DPV)
    German Psychoanalytic Society (DPG)
    International Psychoanalytic Association (IPA)
    Israel Psychoanalytic Society (IPS)
    OFEK – The Israel Association for the Study of Group and Organizational Processes
    Polish Psychoanalytical Society (PPS)
    The Tavistock Institute (TI)


    Europe today is still in the grip of its past, a victim of its history. The shadows and painful residues of World War II affect people and nations across Europe deeply. The injuries inflicted by atrocities, cruelty and enmity are directly or indirectly related to the Holocaust, Nazi Germany, Soviet Communism, all shades of Fascism and recently Neo-Nazism. The pain and suffering they have caused are alive, even if covered up, fed by the horrors of war, occupation, massacres and betrayals. No one appears to be entirely free of these historical injuries and their contemporary manifestations, transmitted from one generation to the next.

    Major atrocities and other forms of historical trauma can produce profound and deeply lodged suspicion, hostility and enmity between perpetrators and victims. In turn, these ill feelings are transmitted and infiltrate the lives of their descendants. They permeate the relationship between the groups involved, laying the foundation for ongoing hostility and repeated conflict. The historical legacy and burden of both perpetration and victimhood, and perhaps no less of being a bystander, often exercise their destructive influence outside our awareness, and we can find ourselves puzzled, confused and upset by their impact on our lives.

    This residential conference aims to allow participants to work on experiences and residues of such traumas, whether as victims or as perpetrators. It is designed for people who are puzzled by their history and wish to know more about its impact on their personal lives, on the groups they belong to, and on the national and international attitudes that are shaped by and reflect such dynamics. These are often met in the form of open or hidden prejudices, stereotypes, fantasies and fears.

    Away from the pressures of ordinary life, the conference provides a safe setting for these forces to emerge, for opportunities to explore how they may be understood, and to discover whether genuine movement in the real, lived relationships between members of such groups might be possible.


    This conference continues the exploration of the residual effects and aftermath of horrendous atrocities on the national groups that perpetrated or were their victims. This series, referred to sometimes as the "Nazareth Conferences", focused initially on the shadow of the Holocaust on both Germans and Israelis. It began with the need felt by a group of Israeli and German psychoanalysts to work on the deeply-lodged suspicion, hostility and unbearable guilt which marked the relationship between Germans and Israelis/Jews as a legacy of the Holocaust. The Group Relations approach was chosen as a suitable work method and adapted to this specific task. The first three conferences were held in Israel and Germany, and their story – contained in a recently published book – relates how the Group Relations method was modified for this purpose. The book gives examples of the deep impact and significance of these events on the German and Israeli/Jewish participants. The fourth and fifth conferences included "affected Others" and were held in Cyprus. The sixth and seventh conferences in the same venue were further extended to include Palestinians.

    Aim of the Conference

    The aim of the conference is to provide a setting, away from the pressures of ordinary daily life, in which participants can experience, explore and begin to work with the unconscious and not-quite conscious factors involved in the relationships, in the mind and in the external world, between the different individuals and groups present at the conference.
    Living and working together for six days provides opportunities to examine past and present psychic and social processes from different angles, to become aware of attitudes, feelings, reactions and fantasies, to reconsider one’s identity as a member of a group, to express and explore existing ideas as well as new ones, to apply and test all these within the conference, and subsequently to take them home for future application in professional and other roles.

    The Primary Task

    The primary task for which this conference is designed is:

    To provide opportunities for participants to explore how feelings, fantasies and experiences about 'perpetrators' and 'victims' influence relations within and between different groups in the conference and affect past, present and future perceptions and relatedness to others.


    Group relations conferences are experiential in nature. Inner thoughts, feelings and fantasies about oneself as a participant and as a member of one (or more) of the groups within the conference are the raw materials that every individual brings to the work of the conference. The conference provides a setting in which these can be experienced and explored within oneself, within groups, between groups, and within the conference as a whole. Much of this work is carried out in the here and now.

    The work of the conference is done in groups. Most groups will have one or more consultants, whose role is to facilitate the group’s working on the primary task of the conference. Consultants do so by focusing on the dynamics and work of the group as a whole. There is no teaching of the conventional kind. What each individual participant learns is unique, and is accepted or rejected on his or her own personal authority.


    This residential conference invites people from all walks of life and all ages who recognize the painful residues of war and historical trauma and are puzzled by their impact on them. No previous experience is necessary except the wish to learn from one's experience of membership and to participate in the events of the conference.

    The Role of Staff

    The Staff are a significant element in the conference. They are not observers of the process but are actively involved in it. They have specific tasks and roles: The staff collectively forms the conference management, with authority and responsibility for setting the boundary conditions of task, territory and time that are essential to enable participants to engage in the primary task of the conference. In addition, individual staff members take up specific directorial, administrative and consultant roles. In their consultant roles, based on their own experience and observations, staff members will offer working hypotheses about what is happening in the 'here and now' of the event, with the aim of focusing attention on group processes and their impact on participants learning.

    The Program

    The primary task of the conference will be pursued through several different types of events, including:

    Small Study Groups (SSG). These are groups of about 8-12 members with a consultant. The task is to study what unfolds in the group in the 'here and now', while working on the primary task of the conference.

    Large Study Group (LSG). This group brings together the entire membership with several consultants. The task of this group is to study the ‘here and now' of the large group process, as it unfolds, while working on the primary task of the conference.

    Social Dreaming Matrix (SDM).The Social Dreaming Matrix comprises all members of the conference in a number of groups with several consultants. The task of the SDM is to provide opportunities to discover the social meaning of dreams. This is done by members providing dreams to the matrix and free associating to them. Making links among the dreams and associations will provide the systemic ‘unthought-known’ meaning of the dreams. The focus of the SDM work is the dream, not the dreamer.

    System Event (SE). The SE provides a setting in which members can explore and study the nature of their relatedness to their own group and to other groups present in the system.
    The aim of the event is to shed light on what is involved in belonging to a group, and in the relationships that develop between different groups. The specific task is to study the ongoing processes of establishing and developing relationships within the system as a whole. It is a 'here and now event' in which all participants are involved. Staff will take part as a management group and will also make consultancy available.

    Plenaries (P). Plenaries involve all members and all staff. The Opening Plenary introduces the conference and provides an opportunity for participants to enter into the conference and to explore and reflect on the experience of doing so and taking up roles within it. The Closing Plenary is designed to review and to work on the process of ending.

    Review and Application Groups (RAG). Depending on the conference membership, there will be about 5-7 members of the same background in each group. Each group will have its own consultant. The purpose is to enable members to examine and reflect on the different roles they have taken up within the conference, to help them articulate and conceptualize their ongoing experience of the conference and to relate these to their roles and experiences in the situations from which they come.
    There may be additional events or a modification of existing events, depending on conference composition and the conference dynamic.
    A detailed timetable of events will be made available at the beginning of the conference.

    Conference Management & Staff

    Conference Director Shmuel Erlich, PhD

    Training and Supervising Analyst and Faculty, Israel Psychoanalytic Society and Institute; Sigmund Freud Professor of Psychoanalysis (emeritus), Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Board Representative, IPA; Founding Member, OFEK, PCCA, Israel.

    Conference Associate Director Dorothee C. von Tippelskirch-Eissing, PhD

    Dipl-Psych, psychoanalyst in private practice; member of the Berlin Psychoanalytic Institute – Karl Abraham Institute (BPI), the German Psychoanalytic Association (DPV) and the International Psychoanalytic Association (IPA); Lecturer and Supervisor at the Abraham-Geiger-College, Berlin, Potsdam; Member of Partners in Confronting Collective Atrocities (PCCA); Germany.

    Conference Administrator Marina Mojovic, MD, MA

    Psychiatrist, psychoanalytic psychotherapist, training group-analyst, private practice. Group Analytic Society Belgrade, Association of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapists of Serbia, Group Analytic Society International, International Society for Psychoanalytic Studies of Organizations, Organization for Promoting Understanding of Society, Serbia.


    Hermann Beland, BA (Theology).

    Psychoanalyst in private praxis; Supervisor and Training Analyst (BPI, DPV, IPA), German Psychoanalytic Association; member PCCA, Germany.

    Louisa Diana Bruner, MSc

    Leadership development, management and organisational consultant in profit and non profit-organisations. Selection and Career Coaching to the Executive MBA Courses at Bocconi School of Management, Milan (Italy). Board Member and Treasurer, PCCA; Honorary Member, Il Nodo Group; Member: CSGSS, the Boston Affiliate of AKRI; Family Firm Institute, ISPSO, OFEK, OPUS, Italy.

    Shmuel Erlich

    Veronika Grueneisen, PhD

    Training Analyst, German Psychoanalytic Society (DPG)/IPA; Chair, PCCA e.V.; Organisational Consultant, Member AOC Society: The Tavistock Institute’s Advanced Organisational Consultation Society; Nuernberg, Germany

    Oren Kaplan, PhD, MBA

    Associate Professor, Clinical Psychologist. Associate Dean and Academic Director of the MBA Management & Business Psychology Program, School of Business Administration, The College of Management, Rishon Le-Zion. Member, OFEK, Israel.

    Olya Khaleelee, MA

    Organisational Consultant and Corporate Psychologist, Pintab Associates;  Associate, Tavistock Institute of Human Relations, UK.

    Marina Mojovic

    Jona Rosenfeld, PhD

    Social Worker. Past Director and Professor (emeritus), the Paul Baerwald School of Social Work and Social Policy, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Head of the Unit of Learning from Success on Ongoing Learning in Human Services, Myers-JDC-Brookdale Institute, Jerusalem. Member of OFEK, Israel Society for Psychotherapy, Israel.

    Miriam Shapira, MA

    Clinical psychologist, group facilitator and consultant to educational and community systems; Director of Center for Coping and Resilience; Founder, member and first chairperson of Besod Siach; member of OFEK, Israel.

    Ed Shapiro, MD

    Former Medical Director/CEO of the Austen Riggs Center in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Yale Medical School and a Fellow of the AK Rice Institute and the American College of Psychoanalysis. A Training and Supervising Analyst at the Berkshire Psychoanalytic Institute, he is a clinician, organizational consultant, and author; USA. 

    Milena Stateva, PhD

    Senior Researcher/Consultant, The Tavistock Institute of Human Relations; Member of the British Psychological Society; Member of the British Sociological Association, UK.

    Dorothee C. von Tippelskirch-Eissing


    *Will be drawn from this list

    Administrative Information

    The conference will begin at 15:00 on Wednesday, September 5th, 2012 and end at 12:30 on Monday, September 10th, 2012.

    The conference working language will be English, except where a single-language group is working with a consultant conversant with their language. Members not fully fluent in English can expect to receive help with translation when needed.

    The conference will be held at Kliczków Castle, Poland. Members and staff will reside and work at the conference hotel.


    The hotel mailing address and other details are:

    Kliczków Castle
    Kliczków 8, 59-724 Osiecznica

    tel.: +48 75 73 40 700 (to 702)
    fax: +48 75 73 40 703

    The hotel website:,home.xml

    Selected Bibliography

    Beland, H. Collective Mourning – Who or What Frees a Collective to Mourn?

    Brunner, L. D., Nutkevitch, A. & Sher, M. (2006) Group Relations Conferences: Reviewing and Exploring Theory, Design, Role-Taking and Application. London: Karnac.

    Brunning, H. & Perini, M. (2009) Psychoanalytic Perspectives on a Turbulent World. London: Karnac.

    Erlich, H. S. (2001) Enemies within and without: Paranoia and regression in groups and organizations. In: L. J. Gould, L. F. Stapley, and M. Stein (Eds.), The Systems Psychodynamics of Organizations. London: Karnac, pp. 115-131.

    Erlich-Ginor, M. (2003) Sliding houses in the promised land: unstable reality worked through dreams. In W. G. Lawrence (ed.), Experiences in Social Dreaming. London: Karnac, pp. 157-178.

    Erlich, H. S., Erlich-Ginor, M. & Beland, H. (2009) Fed with Tears – Poisoned with Milk. The "Nazareth" Group-Relations-Conferences: Germans and Israelis: The Past in the Present. Psychosozial Verlag: Gießen.

    Erlich, H. S., Erlich-Ginor, M. & Beland, H. (2009) Gestillt mit Tränen – Vergiftet mit Milch. Die Nazareth-Gruppenkonferenzen: Deutsche und Israelis – Die Vergangenheit ist gegenwärtig. Psychosozial Verlag: Gießen.

    Erlich, H. S., Erlich-Ginor, M. & Beland, H. (2009) Being in Berlin: A large group experience in the Berlin Congress. Int J Psychoanal, 90:809–825.

    Khaleelee, O. & Miller, E. J. (2000) Beyond the small group: society as an intelligible field of study. In M. Pines (Ed.), Bion and Group Psychotherapy. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers, pp. 354-380.

    Lawrence, G. W. (2005) Introduction to Social Dreaming. London: Karnac.

    Miller, E. J. (1985) The politics of involvement. In A. Colman & M. Geller (Eds.), Group Relations Reader, Vol. 2. Washington, DC: A. K. Rice Institute, pp. 241-271.

    Miller, E. J. (1989) The Leicester model: experiential study of group and organizational processes. Occasional Paper No 10, London: Tavistock Institute of Human Relations.

    Shapiro, E. R. (1997) The Inner World in the Outer World: Psychoanalytic Perspectives. New Haven: Yale University Press.

    Turquet, P. M. (1975) Threats to identity in the large group. In L. Kreeger (Ed.), The Large Group: Dynamics and Therapy. London: Constable.

    Varvin, S. & Volkan, V. (2003) Violence or Dialogue: Psychoanalytic Insights on Terrorism. London: The International Psychoanalytical Association.