Men who survived the Holocaust have a longer life expectancy than those who did not have to endure its harsh conditions, a new study by researchers from the University of Haifa in Israel and Leiden University in the Netherlands has found.
The study was published in PLOS ONE, an open access peer-reviewed scientific journal published by the Public Library of Science, and uses as its focus group the Jewish Polish population from before and after the Second World War.
Researchers from both universities worked together to study data from the National Insurance Institute of Israel on 55,220 Polish immigrants, who were aged between 4 and 20 years in 1939, and fled to Israel before and after the Nazis invaded Poland.
Results show that the survivors’ life expectancy was 6.5 months longer than that of the immigrants who came to Israel before the war.
Researchers found that for females, their usual survival advantage compared to the males sustained itself across all ages, but the advantage was not increased by their Holocaust experiences.
“Such findings may highlight the resilience of survivors of severe trauma, even when they endured psychological, nutritional, and sanitary adversity, often with exposure to contaminating diseases without accessibility to health services,” the researchers posit.