Different Voices: Women and the Holocaust

By Carol Rittner; John K. Roth | Go to book overview

10
Olga Lengyel

Such was the polluted atmosphere of Birkenau, a hell unto itself.
Here the Nazis trampled on the most private of all rights
.

OLGA LENGYEL

This book's first excerpt from Olga Lengyel Five Chimneysdescribed the loss that resulted when she arrived Auschwitz with her family. Like Gisella Perl, however, Lengyel's medical training led to work in the camp's "hospitals." There she witnessed how "the Nazis trampled on the most private of all rights."

The Germans had thousands of prisoners at their disposal. At any moment, women, men, and even children could be and were selected as human guinea pigs. Nazi doctors forcibly subjected these unfortunate people to so-called medical experiments. Often sadistic, usually bizarre, few, if any, of these experiments bad any true scientific value. Many of them, however, did exemplify what the logic of Nazi racism and sexism entailed: control of reproduction.

Professor Dr. Carl Clauberg was one of the leaders of the sterilization experiments at Auschwitz. Repeatedly during its entries for 1944, Danuta Czech Auschwitz Chronicle indicates that Clauberg kept hundreds of women available for his work. Lengyel's position in the camp during much of that year made her "well informed on the sterilization experiments," because she tried her best to care for their victims. There was not much she could do to heal the abuse they had experienced. Lengyel stresses that men were targeted as well as women, but in that same hell the horrors differed. Their bodies subjected to X-ray and short-wave ray" procedures, their genitals infused with caustic substances, their uteruses and ovaries surgically removed--in these experiments, and more, women bad fundamental aspects of their womanhood stripped away. The brutal techniques of the Nazi doctors often killed

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Different Voices: Women and the Holocaust
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • ALSO BY CAROL RITTNER AND JOHN K. ROTH ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Maps and Photographs ix
  • Preface xi
  • Prologue Women and the Holocaust 1
  • General Suggestions for Further Reading 20
  • Chronology 22
  • Part One Voices of Experience 35
  • Notes 39
  • 1: Ida Fink 40
  • 2: Etty Hillesum 46
  • Notes 57
  • 3: Charlotte Delbo 58
  • 4: Isabella Leitner 65
  • 5: Olga Lengyel 69
  • 6: Livia E. Bitton Jackson 73
  • 7: Pelagia Lewinska 84
  • 8: Charlotte Delbo 99
  • 9: Gisella Perl 104
  • 10: Olga Lengyel 119
  • 11: Anna Heilman and Rose Meth 130
  • Notes 134
  • Notes 141
  • 12: Sara Nomberg-Przytyk 143
  • Suggestions for Further Reading 149
  • Part Two Voices of Interpretation 155
  • Notes 159
  • 13: Gisela Bock 161
  • Notes 179
  • 14: Marion A. Kaplan 187
  • Notes 207
  • 15: Sybil Milton 213
  • Notes 237
  • 16: Vera Laska 250
  • Notes 267
  • 17: Gitta Sereny 270
  • Preface 271
  • 18: Claudia Koonz 287
  • Notes 304
  • 19: Magda Trocmeé 309
  • Suggestions for Further Reading 317
  • Part Three Voices of Reflection 319
  • Notes 323
  • 20: Irena Klepfisz 324
  • 21: Charlotte Delbo 328
  • 22: Ida Fink 332
  • 23: Deborah E. Lipstadt 349
  • 24: Mary Jo Leddy 355
  • 25: Rachel Altman 363
  • Notes 372
  • 26: Joan Ringelheim 373
  • Notes 400
  • Appendices 406
  • Suggestions for Further Reading 419
  • Epilogue - Different Voices 421
  • Notes 426
  • Glossary 427
  • Index 431
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