Different Voices: Women and the Holocaust

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

Part One
VOICES OF EXPERIENCE

The murderers are loose! They search the world
All through the night, oh God, all through the night!
To find the fire kindled in me now,
This child so like a light, so still and mild
.

GERTRUD KOLMAR

She called the poem "Murder." It comes from a series titled Weibliches Bildnis (Image of Woman). World War II had not yet begun, Hermann Göring had not yet told Reinhard Heydrich to prepare plans for the "Final Solution" when Gertrud Kolmar wrote "The murderers are loose!" Those words said more than she knew, but she was right. The murderers were loose. Searching the world night and day, they would find and kill their prey in ghettos, ravines, and camps.

If human history is divided into chapters, none has proved more brutal than the one burdened by the name Holocaust. Of all the places where the Holocaust's murderers were loose, none was worse than Auschwitz. Even the Nazis said so. Consider, for example, the testimony of Dr. Johann Paul Kremer. A man in his late fifties with doctorates in biology and medicine, this professor of anatomy at the University of Münster had joined the Nazi party in 1929 and the SS in 1935. Kremer kept a diary. It reports that on August 29, 1942, he received orders that sent him to Auschwitz, where he would spend the next three months replacing a surgeon who was said to be ill.

Arriving from Prague on August 30, Kremer took a room in the SS hotel that was situated near the town railway station in Oswiecim. His diary notes the poor climate--hot, humid weather, over 80 degrees in the shade. It remarks that there were "innumerable flies" in the area but also describes the good food

-35-

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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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