Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning is a Holocaust story that does not consider the horrors of the concentration camps to be the central focus, but instead is about seeking meaning in life in the worst of circumstances and suffering. He uses his idea of Logotherapy to find meaning in his suffering, more specifically by acknowledging that his purpose in life is to complete and publish his book on Logotherapy, which pushes him to survive his experiences in multiple concentration camps.
Throughout the first half of Man’s Search for Meaning, the part of the book which describes Frankl’s experiences in the concentration camps, he tells us what he did to find meaning to his suffering. For him, he had a wife to get back to, who unbeknownst to him was already dead, and he had a manuscript that he considered to be his life’s work to rewrite after it was lost during his travel to the Auschwitz concentration camp. Unlike many of the other prisoners, by finding meaning to his life in the face of his suffering, Frankl continued to persevere.
In his stories of the camps, he briefly mentions aspects of his psychotherapy theory, Logotherapy. He mentions that no matter what the degree of suffering, it can completely take over the mind, body, and soul, and that a prisoner who could find even the tiniest bit of meaning to their suffering, such as a person or a piece of work, they would be more inclined to strive to survive, and not give in to the apathy that affected many others. As a species, we are very lucky Mr. Frankl survived. His ideas of Logotherapy are brilliant, and I recommend reading Man’s Search for Meaning to anyone