Viktor Frankl believed that “love is the ultimate and highest goal to which man can aspire”. But what allowed him to hold onto this belief so fervently amidst the moral deformity of the Holocaust?
In Man’s Search for Meaning, Frankl’s autobiographical testament of his time in Auschwitz, he offers this explanation: “Those who know how close the connection is between the state of mind of a man, his courage and hope, or lack of them and the state of immunity of his body will understand that sudden loss of hope and courage can have a deadly effect”.
To illustrate his point Frankl details for us his theory on the record high death rate in Auschwitz during Christmas 1944 to New Years 1945: that prisoners died because they had expected to be home before Christmas. When they realized this was not to be they completely lost hope in life beyond the concentration camp.
“He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.”