Yes To Life In Spite of Everything

Viktor E. Frankl

Yes To Life In Spite of Everything



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Yes To Life: In Spite of Everything is a biographical tale. Frankl, having survived life in wartime concentration camps, tells the story of the prisoner’s psychological state. Stripped of everything they have, the prisoners experience slow but progressive depersonalization. They suffer horrifically both internally and externally and life in the camp becomes a real struggle for survival. Yet according to Frankl, who was a practicing psychologist before he was taken prisoner, even in the most brutal conditions, man can save himself, rediscovering the very meaning of life which lies within, uniting past and future. Light also hides in the dark and finding that light and projecting it onto the future can allow us to find the path to salvation. Every life has a meaning and it must be discovered. If Logotherapy helps to identify the source of our life’s meaning, then it is up to man to cultivate that meaning and live according to his purpose.

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Analysis and key concepts


A number tattooed on one arm, 119.104, the terrible experience in a Nazi camp and the discovery of his mission


The trip to Auschwitz, a slow ride towards horror


The organisation of the horror and the inevitable fact of every man for himself


The emotions and the psychological symptoms of those forced to live in a concentration camp


The education of thought and the rediscovery of inner life


Theresienstadt, Auschwitz, Kaufering and Turckheim: put yourself in the hands of destiny


The greatest challenge of those who survived was going back to being free


The principles of Logotherapy




Take-home message

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Many useful tips to:

  • Understand the psychological implications of being imprisoned in the Nazi concentration camps.
  • Read the testimony of a man, who is also a doctor with a clinical eye, who experienced the horror of the concentration camp.
  • Get to know the foundations of Logotherapy, a school of psychology based on the idea that we are strongly motivated to live purposefully and find meaning in life.

Victor E. Frankl (1905-1997) was an Austrian psychiatrist who survived the Nazi concentration camps. Born and raised in a Jewish family, he was put into four different concentration camps between 1942 and 1945, including Auschwitz. It was based on this experience that he created the book A Psychologist in the Camps, which became an international bestseller and was translated into over 20 languages. An optimistic man of faith, Frankl was the founder of Logotherapy, or existentialist psychology. This practice is founded on the theory that man is called on to identify his purpose in life, even during his greatest suffering. Frankl taught as Professor of neurology and psychiatry at various US universities and lectured all over the world. He was also awarded 27 honourary degrees.

Publishing house:

Beacon Press