Different Voices: Women and the Holocaust

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

2
Etty Hillesum

What is going on, what mysteries are these, in what sort of fatal mechanism have we become enmeshed? The answer cannot simply be that we are all cowards. We're not that bad. We stand before a much deeper question . . .

ETTY HILLESUM

In October 1939 the Dutch government established a camp in the peat bogs of northeastern Holland. Located near the German border, Westerbork's dismal wooden barracks were originally used to house Jewish refugees who had entered the Netherlands illegally. Westerbork was destined, however, to become a much more deadly place after the Germans invaded Holland on May 10, 1940. Westerbork was never an Auschwitz. Indeed, for a time it contained a more or less "permanent" population that led a relatively "normal" life. But before the war ended, Westerbork became for virtually all its Jewish inmates what it really was: a deportation assembly depot that organized Dutch Jews for transport to Nazi death camps.

Beginning in mid- July 1942, trains from Westerbork carried approximately 104,000 of Holland's 140,000 Jews to the East. Most of those transports went to Sobibor and Auschwitz. The victims included the Hillesum family--Etty, twenty- nine, her father, mother, and brother, Mischa, a brilliant young musician. They were deported from Westerbork on September 7, 1943. Upon arrival at Auschwitz--the most likely date is September 9, 1943--Etty's parents were gassed immediately. Mischa survived until March 1944. On November 30, 1943, the prisoner population at the Auschwitz complex consisted of 54,446 men and 33,846 women. Of that number 9,273 men and 8,487 women were reported as sick

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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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