Different Voices: Women and the Holocaust

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

alien job competitors. With few exceptions, this was reinforced for emigrant women by an ambiguous lack of support from male refugee colleagues and even within their own families, despite the dictates of economic necessity. Thus, the number of women domestics, cooks, and clerical workers increased dramatically among German-Jewish female refugees during the 1930s. 132 In one instance, Käte Frankenthal, a former doctor, supported herself as an itinerant peddler of ice cream during her periodic bouts of unemployment after arriving in New York. 133

It is generally believed that although women and men faced similar difficulties in learning new languages and adapting to new milieus, women were faster and more proficient in acquiring new languages because they needed to communicate for shopping and child care. Female writers like Vicki Baum and Martha Albrand became widely known popular novelists in the United States, Helen Wolff a fixture in American publishing, and Lotte Lenya and Lili Palmer starred in English-language film and theater. 134

The study of women and the Holocaust has barely begun, and the complexities and contours of the subject must be explored in future historical research. . . . This essay has focused on German and German-Jewish women. Future work must include horizontal pan-European studies, focusing on different female prisoner categories and camps across occupied Europe and integrating the literature on western and eastern Europe. There will also have to be new vertical studies on women in German jails, on their underground experiences and their odysseys as refugees forced to rebuild new lives abroad. I hope this essay clears away some misunderstandings and opens the way for future investigations by scholars from many disciplines. The complexity of the subject will keep historians and other analysts occupied for many years.


NOTES

The author would like to thank Werner T. Angress, Henry Friedlander, Atina Grossmann, Marion Kaplan, Walter Peterson, and Joan Ringelheim for their advice and constructive suggestions in revising this essay, which was first presented at Southeastern Massachusetts University in June 1982 and again at the Stern College, Yeshiva University, Conference on Women and the Holocaust in March 1983.

1.
For the general literature, see Raul Hilberg, The Destruction of the European Jews ( Chicago, 1961); Martin Broszat, "Nationalsozialistische Konzentrationslager, 1933-1945," in Anatomie des SS-Staates, ed. Helmut Krausnick et al., 2 vols. ( Munich, 1967), Vol. 2, pp. 11-133; Adalbert Rückerl, ed., NS- Vernichtungslager ( Munich, 1977); and Falk Pingel, Häftlinge unter SS-Herrschaft ( Hamburg, 1978). Two useful recent bibliographical surveys are conspicuous for their respective lacunae: a survey of Holocaust historiography fails to mention women's history, and a recent survey article on women's history omits all

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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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