The Split between Gender and the Holocaust

TitleThe Split between Gender and the Holocaust
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication1998
AuthorsRingelheim, Joan
EditorOfer, Dalia, and Lenore J. Weitzman
Book TitleWomen in the Holocaust
PublisherYale University Press
CityNew Haven, CT

The split often seen between traditional versions of Holocaust history and the actual experiences of women survivors of concentration camps is not surprising, as most researchers—whether writing about hiding, escaping, passing, the ghettos, the camps, or the resistance—have minimized or ignored issues of sexual vulnerability and assaults against women, let alone more complex issues having to do with gender and the Holocaust. Consequently, the split between genocide and gender specific trauma exists not only in the memories of witnesses but also in the historical reconstruction by scholars. A line divides what is considered peculiar or specific to women from what has been designated as the proper collective memory of, or narrative about, the Holocaust. The connection between genocide and gender has been difficult to conceive for some; for others, it has been difficult to construct. This chapter analyzes the testimonies of women survivors of concentration camps in order to address gender-specific violence against Jewish women during the Holocaust.

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