Both Nazi racism and sexism concerned all women, the inferior as well as the superior.
The Holocaust happened, but people still wonder how and why. Such questions require more answers than anyone can give, but, as far as the fate of women during the Shoah is concerned, some of the most telling are provided by Gisela Bock. Long associated with work on women's history, she has been for many years a scholar at the Historical Institute of the Technical University in Berlin. As shown by her essay on racism and sexism in Nazi Germany, the roads that led to Auschwitz were as long as they were full of twists and turns. But specifically, she argues, there would have been no need for Olga Lengyel, Gisela Perl, and Charlotte Delbo to talk about Auschwitz unless a tradition of "scientific racism," as Bock calls it, helped to make the Holocaust happen.
Outlining significant background, Bock documents how pre-Nazi eugenic theories paved the way for Hitler and his followers to act on the lethal conclusion that there are "lives unworthy of life" (lebensunwertes Leben). Race-hygiene principles espoused by Nazi ideology decreed that inferior breeds had to be eliminated while the superior German one had to be strengthened and improved. So the Third Reich embraced a principle that had been articulated in 1909, some years before the Nazi party even existed: "If we want to practice race hygiene seriously, we must make women the target of our social work."
One of the first to focus on the interrelationships between racism and sexism in Nazi policy, Bock's essay concentrates particularly on the Third Reich's determination to control reproduction. It might be argued that making the issue of motherhood