Different Voices: Women and the Holocaust

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

during the Holocaust. Both of those perspectives have much to do with feeling what is heard in Gertrud Kolmar's desire to raise her voice like "a blazing torch amidst the darkened desert of the world, and thunder: JUSTICE! JUSTICE! JUSTICE!"

After Auschwitz justice may be harder to come by than it was before, for in anus mundi anything was possible and nothing was sacred. Where that situation prevails, justice can hardly be done. The episode at Budy proves it. But Budy is no longer filled with the screams of bludgeoned Jewish women, though their voices may still echo in the silence. Block 11's cruel punishment cells are empty, though their space is still full of interrogating questions. Perhaps time should have stopped before Auschwitz, but it did not, and after Auschwitz is where time is now. What can be done with post-Holocaust time? What should be made of it?

Such questions invite and insist upon reflection. When that reflection happens, well, it will grapple with issues about memory, responsibility, faith, hope, and the questions that inevitably remain whenever such grappling occurs. When that reflection happens well, it will also see that the particularity of thought and feeling gets its due. Movement in those directions will be found in the women's voices of reflection that speak in this book's third and final part. Autobiographical, dramatic, historical, poetic, spiritual, philosophical, even statistical--their approaches reflect different perspectives and traditions. Yet, in their diversity as women, they look, each and all, for ways to face the void created by the Holocaust. They seek to mend together the fragments of a broken past, and to revitalize the courage to care that can make women and men alike more just and thereby more truly human.


NOTES
1.
See "Reminiscences of Pery Broad," KL Auschwitz Seen by the SS: Höss, Broad, Kremer, ed. Jadwiga Bezwinska and Danuta Czech and trans. Krystyna Michalik ( New York: Howard Fertig, 1984), 139-198.
2.
Ibid., 163-168. For Sybil Milton's commentary on the Budy massacre, see "Women and the Holocaust: The Case of German and German-Jewish Women," When Biology Became Destiny: Women in Weimar and Nazi Germany, ed. Renate Bridenthal , Atina Grossman, and Marion Kaplan ( New York: Monthly Review Press, 1984), 316. Milton's essay is reprinted in this book. See 231, 246, n. 105.
3.
Ibid., 165.
4.
Ibid., 165.
5.
Broad's description discounts the likelihood of an actual revolt by the French Jewish women. Sybil Milton gives more credence to the possibility that a revolt did occur or at least was being planned. See "Women and the Holocaust: The Case of German and German-Jewish Women," When Biology Became Destiny, 316.
6.
"Diary of Johann Paul Kremer," trans. Krystyna Michalik, KL Auschwitz Seen by the SS, 226.
7.
Ibid., 226.

-323-

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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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