Slo Mo: A Podcast with Mo Gawdat

Dr. Edith Eger (Part 1) - Surviving the Holocaust and Healing the Pain

October 07, 2020 Mo Gawdat and Dr. Edith Eger Episode 50
Slo Mo: A Podcast with Mo Gawdat
Dr. Edith Eger (Part 1) - Surviving the Holocaust and Healing the Pain
Show Notes

At the age of sixteen, Dr. Edith Eger, a trained ballet dancer and gymnast, was sent to Auschwitz. Hours after her parents were sent to the gas chamber, the “Angel of Death,” Nazi officer Dr. Josef Mengele forced Edith to dance for his amusement and her survival. He rewarded her with a loaf of bread that she shared with her fellow prisoners, an act of generosity that would later save her life.

On May 4, 1945 a young American soldier noticed Edith's hand moving slightly amongst a number of dead bodies. He quickly summoned medical help and brought her back from the brink of death. Today, Edith is a prolific author, a clinical psychologist, and holds a faculty appointment at the University of California, San Diego.

Every story I've heard on Slo Mo has left an impact me, but Edith's is the first to make me openly cry while recording. Listening to what happened to her and her family at Auschwitz is unimaginably heartbreaking. And yet, taking in Edith's words on how she moved past the pain both during and after the heinous events, showing almost impossible levels of compassion for her inmates while herself starving, and later forgiving the evils of her captors, hit me like a spiritual experience. I love this woman, and this may just be the most powerful episode of our podcast yet.

In Part 1, we discuss:

  • How Edith's mom praised Edith's brains as making up for her lack of beauty (not true)
  • Taking care of her mom as child, giving her stronger inner resources and patience
  • Revisiting our childhoods and healing the pain
  • How she forgave the Nazis who joked about her mother burning 
  • That we are not born with hate, but learn it
  • Edith's plea to always question authority rather than blindly adhere to it
  • The true enemy: ignorance
  • "The spirit never dies."
  • How we do everything with feelings, except feel them!
  • The healing power of crying
  • The argument that America is ripe for fascism
  • The effects of telling a lie and repeating it on a society
  • How she danced for the Angel of Death and shared her reward with others that later saved her life
  • Practicing your low frustration tolerance
  • A story of papaya and the chain of joy

Instagram: @mo_gawdat
Facebook: @mo.gawdat.official
Twitter: @mgawdat
LinkedIn: /in/mogawdat

Connect with Dr. Edith Eger on Facebook @dreditheger, Twitter @dreditheger1, Instagram @dr.editheger, and her website,

Don't forget to subscribe to Slo Mo for new episodes every Sunday and Thursday. Only with your help can we reach One Billion Happy #onebillionhappy