I have just finished taking an undergraduate class on the Holocaust. I felt it was very lacking in information on women. Our textbook was *Holocaust:The Fate of European Jewry* by Leni Yahil, which is very extensive but I feel completely ignores the plight of women. My instructor was also very male biased. For instance, in a lecture on non-Jews who risked their live to help Jews, he said that most were women, because they were the ones who were home all day. Then he went on to lecture and named not one woman!
I did a search of my university's library and didn't come up with anything to do with women experiencing the Holocaust. Does anyone know what is out there? This has bothered me all semester, so I'm asking for help.
Thanks in advance,
Wendy C. Simpson
Your question piqued my interest, so I did a search at Harvard to see what we have. Many of these are testimonies of Jewish survivors. There is no LC subject heading for women--holocaust. I did a keyword search. I also searched for "World War 1939 1945--women" and pulled up several records. There's a couple of bibliographies stuck in the middle that look like good sources. There was a lot of stuff in German, etc.--I included many of them, on the theory that maybe you could read one of those languages! In addition, one of the fall1994 issues of MS. has an article by Andrea Dworkin on women (or the lack thereof) in the Holocaust Memorial Museum. There might be some more info. there for you.
Sorry if there are duplications in the list here--I didn't have time to edit. Also sorry about the space taken up by Harvard locations--on the other hand, these might come in handy for ILL.
Too bad about your class. I had a similar class at Mount Holyoke, which was wonderful. We read the Vladka Meed book (On Both Sides of the Wall-- last one on the list), which is great. On the other hand, I was only a sophomore at the time, and not as attuned to how much women are ignored in "standard" histories.
Graduate School of Library and Information Studies
Women in the Holocaust: a collection of testimonies. Brooklyn, N.Y.:
LOCATION: Widener: Harvard Depository D810.W7 Consult Circ. Desk for v.2=HWT41N Library has: v. 2
Rosenbaum, Julie Fay. Female experiences during the Holocaust. Thesis (PhD) -
--Boston College, 1993. .
LOCATION: Widener Microforms: Microfiche W 1938.2000
Different voices: women and the Holocaust. 1st ed. New York, NY: Paragon
LOCATION: Schlesinger: 940.5318 R615d
LOCATION: Widener: WID-LC D804.3.D53 1993
Linden, Robin Ruth. Making stories, making selves: feminist reflections on
the Holocaust. Columbus: Ohio State University Press, c1993.
LOCATION: Schlesinger: 940.5318 L744m
LOCATION: Widener: WID-LC E184.J5 L668 1993x
Deutschkron, Inge. Unbequem--: mein Leben nach dem Uberleben. [Koln]: Verlag
Wissenschaft und Politik, c1992.
LOCATION: Widener: Harvard Depository Ordered--received Consult the Circ. Desk for HWTYA5
Erinnerungen deutsch-judischer Frauen, 1900-1990. Reclam-Bibliothek; Bd. 1423.
Schwarz, Renee Fodor. Renee. New York, N.Y.: Schengold, c1991. LOCATION: Widener: WID-LC DS135.P63 S39 1991x
Verdoner-Sluizer, Hilde. Signs of life: the letters of Hilde Verdoner-Sluizer
from Nazi Transit Camp Westerbork, 1942-1944. Washington, D.C.: Acropolis
LOCATION: Schlesinger: 940.5318 V486s
LOCATION: Widener: WID-LC DS135.N6 V47 1990
Women of Theresienstadt: voices from a concentration camp. Oxford; New York:
Berg; New York: Distributed exclusively in the US and Canada by St. Martin's
Press, 1989, c1988.
LOCATION: Schlesinger: 940.5472 S415w
LOCATION: Widener: WID-LC D805.C9 W66 x, 1989
Korchak, Reizl. Ruz'kah: lehimatah, hagutah, demutah. . Tel Aviv: Moreshet:
Sifriyat poalim, 748, 1988.
1979LOCATION: Widener: Heb 42900.327
Heinemann, Marlene E.. Gender and destiny: women writers and the Holocaust.
Contributions in women's studies; no. 72. New York: Greenwood Press, 1986.
LOCATION: Gutman Education: D810.J4 H388 1986
LOCATION: Schlesinger: 940.5318 H468g
LOCATION: Widener: WID-LC D810.J4 H388 1986
Bauman, Janina. Winter in the morning: a young girl's life in the Warsaw ghetto and beyond, 1939-1945. 1st American ed. New York: Free Press, 1986. LOCATION: Schlesinger: 940.5315 B34w
Atkinson, Linda. In kindling flame: the story of Hannah Senesh, 1921-1944.
1st ed. New York: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Books, c1985.
LOCATION: Gutman Education: Juvenile CT1919.P38 S363 1985
LOCATION: Schlesinger: 940.548 S47i
LOCATION: Widener: Harvard Depository Consult Circ. Desk for HW3Y5Z.
Focus on Women. [Show nos. 1-180]. 1983-1993. LOCATION: Schlesinger: Vt-59 Appointment required for viewing.
Conference on Women Surviving: the Holocaust (1st: 1983: Stern College).
Proceedings of the Conference on Women Surviving--the Holocaust. Occasional
papers from the Institute for Research in History. New York, N.Y.: Institute
for Research in History, [c1983].
LOCATION: Schlesinger: 940.5472 W87k
LOCATION: Widener: WID-LC D 810.J4 C654 1983
Laska, Vera. Nazism, resistance & holocaust in W.W. II: a bibliography of over 1,300 entries in 12 categories, iLOCATION: Widener: WID-LC D810.J4 Z994 x, 1982
Muller-Munch, Ingrid. Die Frauen von Majdanek: vom zerstorten Leben der Opfer
und der Morderinnen. Frauen aktuell. Rororo aktuell. Originalausg. Rowohlt
bei Hamburg: Rowohlt, 1982.
LOCATION: Widener: WID-LC D805.P7 M84x 1982
Mujeres bajo el nazismo. Informes; 15. Barcelona: Editorial Fontanella, 1966. LOCATION: Widener: Harvard Depository Ordered--received Consult Circ. Desk for HW5H38.
Berendsen, Anne. Vrouwenkamp Ravensbruck. Utrecht: Uitgeversmaatschaapij W.
De Haan N.V., 1946.
LOCATION: Widener: Harvard Depository Ordered--received Consult Circ. Desk for HW5GQL.
Saint-Clair, Simone. Ravensbruck: infierno de las mujeres. Buenos Aires:
Editorial Corinto, c1946.
LOCATION: Widener: Harvard Depository Ordered--received Consult Circ. Desk for HW5HMK.
Wedborn, Helena. Women in the First and Second World Wars: a checklist of the
holdings of the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace. Hoover Press
bibliography; 72. [Stanford, Calif.]: Hoover Inered--received
LOCATION: Schlesinger: Ref. 016.9403 W388w
LOCATION: Widener: WID-LC D639.W7 Z9943 x 1988 Copy 1. Copy 2 trans. to
LOCATION: Widener: Harvard Depository D639.W7 Z9943 x 1988 Consult Circ. Desk for Copy 2 =HW4I9A.
Poltawska, Wanda. And I am afraid of my dreams. London: Hodder & Stoughton,
LOCATION: Widener: WID-LC D805.G3 P6466513 x, 1987
Behind the lines: gender and the two world wars. New Haven: Yale University
LOCATION: Ctr Eur Studies: D639.W7 B43 1987 LOCATION: Hilles: D639.W7 B43 1987
LOCATION: History Dept: D639.W7 B43 1987 LOCATION: Lamont: D639.W7 B43 1987
LOCATION: Schlesinger: 940 H638b Inscribed. LOCATION: Widener: WID-LC D639.W7 B43 1987
Hillel, Marc. Children of the SS. London: Hutchinson, 1976. LOCATION: Widener: WID-LC D810.W7 H513 x, 1976
Sim, Kevin. Women at war: five heroines who defied the Nazis and survived.
New York: Morrow, 1982.
LOCATION: Schlesinger: 940.53 S58w Subject analytics. LOCATION: Widener: WID-LC D810.W7 S53 1982
Different voices: women and the Holocaust. 1st ed. New York, NY: Paragon
LOCATION: Schlesinger: 940.5318 R615d
LOCATION: Widener: WID-LC D804.3.D53 1993
Owings, Alison. Frauen: German women recall the Third Reich. New Brunswick,
N.J.: Rutgers University Press, c1993.
LOCATION: Ctr Eur Studies: D811.5.O885 1993 LOCATION: Hilles: D811.5.O885 1993
LOCATION: Lamont: D811.5.O885 1993
LOCATION: Schlesinger: 943.086 O97f
LOCATION: Widener: WID-LC D811.5.O885 1993
Hillel, Marc. Of pure blood. New York: McGraw-Hill, c1976. LOCATION: Widener: WID-LC D810.W7 H513
Surviving the fire: Mother Courage & World War II. 1st ed. Seattle, WA: Open
Hand Pub., c1989.
LOCATION: Schlesinger: 940.5315 K66h
LOCATION: Widener: WID-LC D810.W7 W4713 1989
Krockow, Christian, Graf von. Hour of the women. 1st ed. New York, NY:
HarperCollins Publishers, c1991.
LOCATION: Schlesinger: 940.53159 K93s
LOCATION: Widener: WID-LC D809.P64 K7613 1991
Myendzizshetski, Feygele Peltel. On both sides of the wall: memoirs from the
Warsaw ghetto. New York: Holocaust Library: [distributed by Schocken Books],
LOCATION: Hilles: DS135.P62 W32413 1979 LOCATION: Widener: WID-LC DS135.P62 W32413 1979
There are women doing research on this topic. One book that got an excellent review in the Women's Review of Books was the following:
Felstiner, Mary Lowenthal. TO PAINT HER LIFE. 1st ed. (New York, NY
Here is another title I pulled up in our online system by combining the holocaust and women:
Different voices : women and the Holocaust / edited and with
introductions by Carol Rittner and John K. Roth. 1st ed. New York, NY : Paragon House, 1993. 435 p. 24 cm.
This was just one of many I pulled up. Have you talked to your
friendly reference librarian about this question? Other possible
Historical Abstracts, Women Studies Abstracts, and the Index to Jewish Periodicals.
Reference Librarian/Feminist Studies
Hi! Someone forwarded your message to me because I teach genocide. The main books that come to mind are Claudia Koontz's Mothers in the Fatherland and a recent book by Nechama Tec on social structure in the resistance movement. I think in a book edited by Kren and Rappaport[Rapaport?] there's at least one chapter by someone recounting her dialogue with another researcher about whether studying women-and-the-Holocaust is a valid topic or whether it is an assault on the Jewish uniqueness of the Holocaust. Anna Pawelczynska, in writing on the concentration camps, also talks about social structure being turned upside down and I believe there too gender is discussed. That's in a book whose name I can't remember. I'm surprised that gender isn't addressed in your course; it comes up a lot in mine, more in the cases of Bosnia and the Armenian genocide than for the Holocaust but that's mainly to get a variety of cases discussed. One more comes to mind: Catharine Mackinnon is writing on the rapes in Bosnia and she makes comparisons to the Holocaust, says that she believes there's more rape during the Holocaust than we hear about, etc. This will probably become a book too. Well. Good luck looking. --Kathy
I don't know of work on female victims of the holocaust, but I do
know a couple about German women's involvement in and sympathy for
Nazism. The best known is Claudia Koontz (I think I've got the
spelling right), Mothers in the Fatherland. Doris Bergen's work is
forthcoming from UNC Press, but is available now in dissertation
form. I'm not sure what she titled the diss (I read it in draft) but
it's on the German Christians, which was a Protestant sect
sympathetic to the Nazis. She covers women's participation in the
movement. You can look her name up in Dissertation Abstracts
International (DAI). Good luck.Cindy Hahamovitch
Assistant Professor of History
College of William & Mary
Dear Ms. Simpson,
An excellent book: *To Paint Her Life: Charlotte Salomon in the Nazi Era,* by Mary Lowenthal Felstiner (New York: HarperCollins, 1994).
You might consult Different Voices: Women & the Holocaust eds. Carol Rittner and John K. Roth. (Athena: 1993) 384 pgs. The collection of articles is very good and the bibliography should also provide more information. I had Dr. Roth for a class on the Holocaust and he used pre-published material from the book. It provoked much discussion on the experiences of men versus women during the Holocaust. Jennifer Serventi National Endowment for the Humanities email@example.com The opinions reflected here are those of the person and do not necessarily reflect those of the NEH.
Renate Bridenthal, Atina Grossman, and Marion Kaplan (eds) *When Biology Became Destiny* looks at Weimar Germany and Nazi German and might be a good place for you to start.
University of Delaware
"Rage, Rage against the dying of the light." --Dylan Thomas *****************************
For a book by a Dutch woman in the Resistance, see Diet Eman, *Things We Couldn't Say* Eerdmans Pub Co. She lives in western Michigan and there is also a play based on her book, I think.
I also saw a book recently in a catalogue with a title something like *Women in the Holocaust* but I have no more information.
Lynn Japinga, Hope College
I don't know any scholarly work on this subject. But when I travelled in Amsterdam last summer, I visited the Anne Frank's house, and read about her hiding during the German occupation. A very important person who helped her and her family was a woman employee in the factory of Anne's father. I don't have her name right now, but I believe it is easy to check in any book about Anne's story. The woman helped because she was courageous not because she was home all day. There is also a novel based on a true story named "The Hiding Place" tells about how two sisters who ran a clock shop with their father in Amsterdam helped the Jews during German occupation. Hope this helps.
H-Women: This was just posted to H-Teach. I pass it on for possible cross-posting as part of your discussion of sources on women and the holocaust. Sara Tucker (H-Teach co-editor)
In response to the query on women and the Holocaust, here are some titles:
Alexander, Caroline. Now You Are Sara. Port Angeles, Washington: Ben-Simon
Deutschkron, Inge. Outcast: A Jewish Girl in Wartime Berlin. Jean Steinberg,
translator. Lanham, Md.: University Press of America, 1990.
Leitner, Isabella. Fragments of Isabella. New York, 1978.
Lixi-Purcell, Andreas. Women of Exile: German-Jewish Autobiographies since 1933.
Contributions in Women's Studies, 91. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood, 1988.
Milton, Sybil. "Women and the Holocaust: The Case of German and German-Jewish
Women." In When Biology became Destiny, edited by Renate Bridenthal. New York: Monthly Review Press, 1984; reprinted in Different Voices: women and the Holocaust, edited by Carol Rittner and John K. Roth. New York: Paragon House, 1993.
Rosen, Sara. My Lost World: A Survivor's Tale. The Library of Holocaust
Testimonies. London, 1993.
For a remarkable account by a survivor of Auschwitz-Birkenau and Hessisch-Lichtenau, see Judith Magyar Isaacson, *Seed of Sarah: Memoirs of a Survivor* (University of Illinois Press, 1990).
I have done quite a bit of research on Hitler's Germany and prostitutes--the way they were treated and utilized. Some references that might be helpful for research on women and the Holocaust are: Sex and Society in Nazi Germany by Hans Peter Bleuel; The Jewish Feminist Movement in Germany by Marion Kaplan (for background info up until 1938). Another book that might be of interest is Life in the Third Reich by Richard Bessel (ed.). Hope this is helpful to Ms Simpson and others.
Pam Casto firstname.lastname@example.org grad. student in humanities at UT-Arlington
Dear Wendy--There is a vast literature on the subject, particularly of survivor memoirs. Do a search in your library using LOC key words world war 1939-1945--holocaust--personal narratives or cocentration camps--personal narratives. You will turn up a great deal. Good luck. Yvonne Klein
"The Hiding Place" mentioned by Jen-Der Lee was written by a Dutch woman named Corrie Ten Boom.
In yesterday's list, I only included references to Germany; here are other Holocaust/women references, dealing with non-German people and/or places.
Appleman-Jurman, Alicia. Alicia: My Story. New York: Bantam, 1994.
Atkinson, Linda. In Kindling Flame: The Story of Hannah Senesh, 1921-1944. New
Boas, Jacob. "Etty Hillesum: Fron Amsterdam to Auschwitz." Lilith, 23 (Spring
Frank, Anne. The Diary of a Young Girl: The Definitive Edition, Otto H. Frank
and Mirjam Pressler, eds. New York: Doubleday, 1995.
Gies, Miep, and Alison Leslie Gold. Anne Frank Remembered: The Story of the
Woman who Helped to Hide the Frank Family. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1987.
Gurdus, Luba Krugman. The Death Train. Holocaust Library. New York, 1978.
Hay, Peter. Ordinary Heroines: Chana Szenes and the Dream of Zion. New York:
Kamel, Rosa. "Interrupted Lives, Inner Resources: The Diaries of Hannah Senesh
and Etty Hillesum." Women's Studies Quarterly, 17, no. 3-4 (1989): 45-58.
Keren, Nill. "The Family Camp." In Anatomy of the Auschwitz Death Camp, edited
by Yisrael Gutman and Michael Berenbaum. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, in association with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, D.C., 1994.
Kovay, Heda Margolius. Under a Cruel Star: A Life in Prague, 1941-1968.
Plunkett Lake Press, 1973.
Leitner, Isabella, and Irving A. Leitner. Isabella: From Auschwitz to Freedom.
New York: Anchor/Doubleday, 1994.
Meed, Vladka. On Both Sides of the Wall. Holocaust Library. n.p., 1972.
Peleg-Marianska, Miriam, and Mordecai Peleg. Witnesses: Life in Occupied
Krakow. New York: Routledge, Chapman and Hall, 1991.
Rittner, Carol, and John K. Roth. Different Voices: Women and the Holocaust.
New York, 1993.
Rosenberg, Blanca. To Tell At Last: Survival Under False Identity, 1941-1945.
Urbana, Ill., 1993.
Sender, Ruth Minsky. The Cage. New York: Macmillan, 1986.
Senesh, Hannah. Hannah Senesh: Her Life and Diary, Marta Cohn, translator. New
York: Schocken, 1973.
Strzelecka, Irena. "Women." In Anatomy of the Auschwitz Death Camp, edited by
Yisrael Gutman and Michael Berenbaum. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, in association with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, D.C., 1994.
Szwajger, Adina Blady. I Remember Nothing More: The Warsaw Children's Hospital
and the Jewish Resistance, Tasja Darowska and Danusia Stok, translators, London: Collins-Harvill, 1990.
Tec, Nechama. Dry Tears: The Story of a Lost Childhood. New York: Oxford
University Press, 1984.
Weinstein, Frida Scheps. A Hidden Childhood: A Jewish Girl's Sanctuary in a
French Convent. New York: Hill and Wang, 1990.
The suggestions already submitted on women and the Holocaust have been very inclusive. One of the basic collections that I don't think has been mentioned is Vera Laska's Women in the Resistance and the Holocaust. I'll also mention that I interviewed survivors and read survivor literature for my masters' thesis (1990): "Hope Against Hope: The Spiritual Resistance of Jewish Women in Nazi Deathcamps," an early stab at imposing a gender lens on the camp experience.
The University of Illinois at Chicago
A very interesting short piece is Jill Stephenson's "The Wary Response of Women" (pp.167-75) in The Nazi Revolution: Hitler's Dictatorship and the German Nation, ed. Allan Mitchell. [Problems in European Civilization Series, Heath and Co.]
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum has a home page on the World Wide Web. The URL for it is http://www.ushmm.org.
It includes a link to regional and local resources; the student who originally posted the query was at New Mexico State U, I think. Although there is no New Mexico resource listed, the relatively nearby El Paso (Texas) Holocaust Museum and Study Center is listed, with an indication that it holds audiotapes of interviews with survivors.
The University of Texas at Austin
Another personal narrative is Playing for Time by Fania Fenelon. It was originally published as The Musicians of Auschwitz in London, but since a tv movie was aired with the Playing for Time title here in the U.S. I guess the American publisher felt that it had greater recognition value. It deals with the experiences of the female members of the band composed of prisoners which played to sooth the fears of fellow prisioners as they were being filed into the gas chambers.
For information on women and the Holocaust: Contact Doris Bergen at the University of Vermont. She teaches an intermediate lecture course and an advanced seminar on the Holocaust as well as courses on European women in the twentieth century. In the fall she will be teaching a seminar on women, gender and Nazi Germany. She's extremely generous. Call her at 802-656-4495.
Department of History
University of Vermont
Burlington, VT 05405
I'm glad the information was helpful. If you are interested in doing a paper on the subject, I would recommend talking to Dr. John Roth. He's a professor a Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, CA and is never too busy for students. He's the nicest person and is really interested in women and the holocaust (and is a man, too!). I think the main extension for Claremont McKenna is 909/621-8000. Good luck, Jennifer Serventi
The University of Illinois Press has published several titles that might be of interest. Two have already been mentioned: Judith Magyar Isaacson, SEED OF SARAH: MEMOIRS OF A SURVIVOR, and Blanca Rosenberg, TO TELL AT LAST: SURVIVAL UNDER FALSE IDENTITY, 1941-45. Another title, this one an anthology, includes stories and poems by men and women, some of whom are survivors, Milton Teichman and Sharon Leder, TRUTH AND LAMENTATION: STORIES AND POEMS ON THE HOLOCAUST. All are available in paperback.
University of Illinois Press
1325 S. Oak St.
Champaign, IL 61820
The woman who fed and otherwise helped the Franks while they were hiding was Miep Gies. She's written a very interesting book on the subject; unfortunately, I can't remember the title. She was German, but was sent to live with a Dutch family in Holland after World War I, as part of a program to place impoverished children in families that could feed them. She was 5 when she moved in with a large,rather poor family, who had a strong belief in sharing and helping others. She credits this experience with giving her the strength to help the Franks.
A nonscholarly but useful collection of interviews with Holocaust survivors, specifically the Schindlerjuden of filmdom fame, is Elinor J. Brecher, *Schindler's Legacy* (1994). It is highly readable and well illustrated with then-and-now photos, making it useful even for middle-school level (I know because my middle-school daughter is reading it on her own, along with the assigned *Diary of Anne Frank*, for a current social studies course).
A related and perhaps useful reading on the tragic legacy of the Holocaust for generations to come is Helen Epstein, *Children of the Holocaust* (1979), about the post-WWII children of concentration-camp survivors. I read it more than a decade ago but still remember vividly the recurrent accounts of mothers who had watched their children murdered -- directly or by starvation or disease -- but lived . . . and then, after the war, named newborns for those firstborns who were gone but NEVER forgotten. The emotional toll on those postwar children was -- and is -- enormous, according to the author (and according to those of the *Children* whom I knew and wanted to know better, which is why I found and read the book).
I have not read but find another monograph on the same topic: Azriel Eisenberg, *The Lost Generation: Children in the Holocaust* (1982).
Also, I hope someone on the list will be familiar with a play which recently was performed at Alverno College in Milwaukee, where my daughter's class saw it, written by a woman survivor. The title included the word "Butterflies," I believe. It received excellent reviews as oral history as well as theater.
If no one else on the list knows of this account, and if the originator of this thread (or others) wants the full title, I'll ask my daughter.
Genevieve G. McBride
The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Aha! Found the proceedings of that conference I mentioned last night. It was called "Women Surviving the Holocaust." It was held in March 1983 at Stern College for Women in NYC, and sponsored by the Institute for Research in History (who are they?) and the NY Council for the Humanities. The Institute also published the proceedings, which are edited by Esther Katz and Joan Miriam Ringelheim. Lots of really interesting stuff.
They are the first people I've seen who actually mention the demographically obvious fact that women were in general less likely to survive the Holocaust even than men, because pregnant women and women accompanied by small children were automatically gassed, even if they were in prime working age. A friend of mine whose parents are Holocaust survivors says her father survived (he was 12 or so at the time) only because *his* father insisted on keeping the boy with him, thereby giving the tacit message that the boy was old enough to work. As a result, not only did *he* survive, but so did his mother. There is something really horrible about the mother-child bond being transformed into a death warrant for both mother and child.
The Institute for Research in History was a private organization that developed in New York City in the early or mid 1970's, a spin-off of the MetropolitanNew York Area Committee of Women Historians, the local CCWHP-CGWH chapter. Many trained women historians joined to create the Institute as academic posts began to disappear. The Institute ran small study groups devoted to topics such as Family History; it ran larger conferences; at one point, it helped sponsor an AHA meeting. It raised research funds and occasionally supported a foreign scholar. I am not certain when it closed shop ... 5-6 years ago, perhaps.
It should NOT be confused with the "revisionist" Institute from California which denied the existence of the Holocaust.
Return to H-Women Home Page.