Jews and Gender: The Challenge to Hierarchy

By Jonathan Frankel | Go to book overview

The Jewish Response to the Third Reich:
Gender at the Grassroots Marion Kaplan
(QUEENS COLLEGE, CUNY)

In the sometimes vitriolic debates about gender and the Holocaust, both sides recite the litany that the Holocaust was about the destruction of the Jewish people. Why it is necessary to repeat something so obvious has everything to do with the attackers' reproach: opponents of gender studies imply that gender analysis assigns co-responsibility for the catastrophe to Jewish men and Nazis, essentially pitting Jewish men against Jewish women. Women's historians, historians of gender, and feminists, in turn, insist that the Nazis were solely to blame, but that gender nonetheless mattered.

This attack on the “accusatory gaze” of gender studies is part of a conservative backlash against feminism. It lumps feminist historians with scholars who deny or relativize the Holocaust or with feminists interested solely in “consciousness raising”—or with both. 1 Without entering into the (de)merits of these allegations, it is also important to realize that there is a more general discomfort with a gender analysis of the Holocaust, which is seen as “privileging” women—that is, as raising women's suffering above that of men.

Looking at daily life, at the quotidian responses of German Jews in the Nazi era, can address these concerns. German Jewish responses to the Nazi onslaught show that women and men often perceived, and reacted to, the same events differently. The impact of gender could be muted, an ordinary backdrop to the way people grasped or responded to events. But gender could also be a matter of life and death. We know, for example, that women were more eager than men to flee Germany, yet, in the end, more men fled. What produced the crucial (and the more mundane) decisions? More portentous than Jewish reactions, however, was Nazi behavior. In the prewar years, the Nazis treated men and women differently. They threatened and bullied men while sparing women and, in so doing, sent an ultimately erroneous message to the Jewish community.

Especially if one is interested in grassroots developments, in the perceptions and actions of the Jewish victims as the noose tightened—irregularly and unpredictably—in the years before the November pogrom of 1938 (Kristallnacht) and in the swiftly deteriorating circumstances thereafter, gender is an indispensable factor of analysis. The experiences of German Jews varied in accordance with gender, age, class, and geography 2—with urban or rural settings, Catholic or Protestant villages,

-70-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Jews and Gender: The Challenge to Hierarchy
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 397

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.