Cover image for Women in the Holocaust
Women in the Holocaust
Ofer, Dalia.
Publication Information:
New Haven, CT : Yale University Press, [1998]

Physical Description:
vii, 402 pages ; 25 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
D804.47 .W66 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



As Jews throughout Europe faced Nazi persecution, Jewish women - wives, daughters, mothers - encountered special problems and had particular vulnerabilities. By examining women's unique responses, their resourcefulness, their courage and their suffering, the book should enhance our understanding of the experiences of all Jews during the Nazi era.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Ofer and Weitzman, in their introductory essay, posit that their book "shows how questions about gender lead us to a richer and more finely nuanced understanding of the Holocaust." The book is divided into four parts: before the war, life in the ghettos, resistance and rescue, and labor camps and concentration camps. Liza Chapnik, a Holocaust survivor from Poland, offers a moving account of the early days after the German capture of her hometown of Grodno in July 1941. Ida Fink, survivor and prizewinning novelist, captures in a short story the terror of a family's rehearsal for the inevitable knock on the door when the Nazis come to take them away. Another chapter presents interviews of a cross section of women in the Warsaw ghetto, conducted in 1942. One survivor tells of her dangerous work as a courier for the underground youth movement in two Polish ghettos; yet another describes her life in Auschwitz. This remarkable book is a noteworthy addition to the literature of the Holocaust. --George Cohen

Choice Review

Ofer and Weitzman's goal is to provide a richer and more nuanced understanding of the Holocaust by exploring the role of gender in it. Noticeably devoid of polemic or ideological posturing, the collection offers a variety of viewpoints, methods, and purposes, assuring its value to scholars and general readers. The 18 articles and three personal testimonies hang together because of a shared focus on gender, examined from the perspective of victims, perpetrators, and bystanders. The organization of essays follows a logical scheme: gender roles of Jewish men and women before the war; the differing treatments meted out to them, even though both were condemned to die; and the varied reactions of men and women in the ghettoes, forests, and camps. A fourth category is out of the ordinary and especially suggestive: the Jews' anticipatory reactions to what they thought the Nazis would do to men but not to women and children. Most of the individual contributions are brief, showing their origins as conference papers. The overall quality is high, as is to be expected with articles from so many of the leading authorities in the field. All levels. R. S. Levy University of Illinois at Chicago

Table of Contents

Lenore J. Weitzman and Dalia OferPaula E. HymanMarion KaplanGershon BaconDaniel BlatmanGisela BockLiza ChapnikIda FinkMichal UngerDalia OferBronka KlibanskiLenore J. WeitzmanNechama TecRenee PoznanskiYehuda BauerLidia Rosenfeld VagoFelicja KarayRuth BondyMyrna GoldenbergJoan RingelheimLawrence L. LangerSara R. Horowitz
Introduction: The Role of Gender in the Holocaustp. 1
Part I Before the Warp. 19
1 Gender and the Jewish Family in Modern Europep. 25
2 Keeping Calm and Weathering the Storm: Jewish Women's Responses to Daily Life in Nazi Germany, 1933-1939p. 39
3 The Missing 52 Percent: Research on Jewish Women in Interwar Poland and Its Implications for Holocaust Studiesp. 55
4 Women in the Jewish Labor Bund in Interwar Polandp. 68
5 Ordinary Women in Nazi Germany: Perpetrators, Victims, Followers, and Bystandersp. 85
Part II Life in the Ghettosp. 101
6 The Grodno Ghetto and Its Underground: A Personal Narrativep. 109
7 The Key Gamep. 120
8 The Status and Plight of Women in the Lodz Ghettop. 123
9 Gender Issues in Diaries and Testimonies of the Ghetto: The Case of Warsawp. 143
Part III Resistance and Rescuep. 169
10 In the Ghetto and in the Resistance: A Personal Narrativep. 175
11 Living on the Aryan Side in Poland: Gender, Passing, and the Nature of Resistancep. 187
12 Women among the Forest Partisansp. 223
13 Women in the French-Jewish Underground: Shield-Bearers of the Resistance?p. 234
14 Gisi Fleischmannp. 253
Part IV Labor Camps and Concentration Campsp. 265
15 One Year in the Black Hole of Our Planet Earth: A Personal Narrativep. 273
16 Women in the Forced-Labor Campsp. 285
17 Women in Theresienstadt and the Family Camp in Birkenaup. 310
18 Memoirs of Auschwitz Survivors: The Burden of Genderp. 327
19 The Split between Gender and the Holocaustp. 340
20 Gendered Suffering? Women in Holocaust Testimoniesp. 351
21 Women in Holocaust Literature: Engendering Trauma Memoryp. 364
List of Contributorsp. 379
Indexp. 385