Disco therapy is being used to help Holocaust survivors deal with anxiety and grief.
The folks at Minnie’s Place have found that disco music is helping survivors with the emotional turmoil they still experience to this day. The music works in conjunction with black lights, aromatherapy, and a “shower curtain” of fiber optic strands to great a relaxing atmosphere.
According to ANI News, the disco therapy room is the result of a collaboration between Blue Card and The Hebrew Educational Society.
Dora Zalcberg told the website that she feels like she’s “in heaven” when she’s inside the room. The 89-year-old Holocaust survivor was only 16 when she was sent to the Parschnitz concentration camp. Zalcberg said she was spared from the gas chamber because of her skills as a machinist.
The New York Post explains that nearly 15,000 Holocaust survivors are currently living in Brooklyn. Although disco therapy has never been used to help people cope with anxiety and grief, Blue Card executive director Masha Girshin said there is nothing to lose by trying.
The disco therapy room cost upwards of $55,000 to put together. The website explains that Minnie’s Place was named after Hebrew Educational Society President Minnie Nathanson. The organization hopes to roll out similar therapy rooms across the nation.
Girshin explained the room opened for the public this January. Blue Card expects around 350 Holocaust survivors to use disco therapy over the course of the year. One session lasting between 30 and 40 minutes is held once a week.
According to Reuters, some Holocaust survivors have turned to food to help them cope with painful memories. For many survivors, recipes from their childhood are all they have left to remind them of family members they lost during the war.
Documentary filmmaker and Oma and Bella director Alexa Karolinski explained:
“Food is the only materialistic thing they have from their lives before the war; they don’t even have a photograph. [Oma and Bella] say their chicken soup tastes exactly like their mothers’ chicken soup. It helps them remember their homes because they were orphaned by the war.”
It’s currently unknown when disco therapy rooms will be available to Holocaust survivors in other parts of the world.