By a Thread: a film about the Gabersdorf work camp
Women, Theatre, and the Holocaust: Resource Handbook
Triangles: Witnesses of the Holocaust
Honoring Haviva Reick
New Home for Remember the Women Institute's Book Collection
H: An Exhibition by Gil Yefman
Remember the Women Institute's work featured in The Hidden Child
Letter to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon
Seeking Testimonies About Sexual Violence During the Holocaust
Remember the Women Institute wins Tikkun Olam award
Sexual Violence Against Jewish Women During the Holocaust
"Mielec, Poland: The Shtetl that Became a Nazi Concentration Camp," Yad Vashem Research
Brazilian Edition of The Jewish Women of Ravensbrück
Hebrew Edition of The Jewish Women of Ravensbrück
New Edition: Fiorello's Sister: Gemma La Guardia Gluck's Story
The Jewish Women of Ravensbruck Concentration Camp
Ongoing Research Project: Antisemitism
and Sexism: Jewish Women Who Immigrated to Brazil
REMEMBER THE WOMEN INSTITUTE'S WORK FEATURED IN THE HIDDEN CHILD
The Spring 2013 issue of The Hidden Child features an article entitled "Hidden Children and Other Victims of Sexual Abuse during the Holocaust" (PDF) The article, written by Dr. Rochelle Saidel, discusses the importance of including this aspect of the Holocaust in Holocaust history, and outlines the projects of Remember the Women Institute that are endeavoring to do so. In the same issue, a related article by Carla Lessing is entitled "Aging Child Holocaust Survivors of Sexual Abuse" (PDF).
Top of page
LETTER TO UNITED NATIONS SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
In connection with International Holocaust Remembrance Day, January 27, Remember the Women Institute initiated sending a letter to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, regarding sexual violence. The letter was signed by the participants at the November 2012 symposium on the subject, sponsored by the USC Shoah Foundation and Remember the Women Institute. The open letter, sent via Martin Nesirky, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General, stated:
Your participation in activities remembering the Shoah during this time has been appreciated.
In this connection, we urge you to recognize that sexual atrocities were committed during the Holocaust. Although rape and sexual violence during the Holocaust have been overlooked and trivialized for so long, they are now increasingly being documented as integral to the Holocaust.
Particularly, given the groundbreaking inclusion of gender crimes in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, and the growing international legal understanding of the role of rape in genocide, we are certain that your acknowledgment of this neglected history, now solidly documented, would be widely welcomed.
A short message from an international group of experts at a recent symposium states:
"Evidence, information, and scholarship are emerging that sexual violence, long largely ignored, was an integral part of the Holocaust in many forms. Absence of acknowledgment of this reality has harmed not only survivors, but also the understanding of and efforts to prevent genocide, and efforts to stop sexual violence in genocide, war, and every day. We hope that increasing awareness of this subject, obscured by shame and denial, will bring recognition to the victims -- many of whom did not survive -- to rectify this omission from history, and support the work of those who oppose these atrocities."
This statement, issued November 8, 2012, in Los Angeles, was signed by:
Patrice Bensimon, France
Dr. Paula David, Canada
Dr. Monika Flaschka, USA
Dr. Eva Fogelman, USA
Dr. Myrna Goldenberg, USA
Dr. Sonja Hedgepeth, USA
Karen Jungblut, USA
Dr. Dan Leshem, USA
Dr. Catharine MacKinnon, USA
Daisy Miller, USA
Jessica Neuwirth, USA
Dr. Amy Parish, USA
Dr. Andrea Peto, Hungary
Dr. John Roth, USA
Dr. Rochelle Saidel, USA and Israel
Karen Shulman, USA
Dr. Stephen Smith, USA
Dr. Elisa von Joeden-Forgey, USA
Dr. Zoe Waxman, United Kingdom
These signatories appreciate your consideration of this request.
In response, the following note was issued by the spokesperson's office.
I am writing on behalf of Mr. Martin Nesirky, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
Mr. Nesirky has forwarded your e-mail below to colleagues in the Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme, who will give it due consideration.
Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General
United Nations Headquarters
Phone: +1 917 367 9584
Top of page
SEEKING SURVIVORS TO TESTIFY ABOUT SEXUAL VIOLENCE
Following the publication of Sexual Violence against Jewish Women during the Holocaust, Remember the Women Institute has been carrying out a project to identify Holocaust survivors and witnesses of sexual violence, bring together those willing to take part, and provide a forum for those who want to speak out so that their voices can be heard. Anyone with relevant information should please contact us at email@example.com.
As was discussed by a distinguished group of experts at a November 2012 symposium on sexual violence during the Holocaust, it is urgent that we find witnesses to document this neglected part of Holocaust history now. The symposium was an important step forward, and we are getting ready to move to Phase Two, which is recording testimonies of those who are coming forward.
Phase One of this project has been and continues to be the identification of Holocaust survivors of sexual violence who are willing to bear witness. To this day, sexual violence during the Holocaust is a secret cloaked in shame. The publication of Sexual Violence against Jewish Women during the Holocaust (Brandeis University Press/University Press of New England, Hadassah-Brandeis Institute's Series on Jewish Women), edited by Sonja M. Hedgepeth and Rochelle G. Saidel, has broken the silence after sixty-five years. This groundbreaking anthology, with contributions from historians, social scientists, literary and film critics, and psychologists opens a window into a world that has been virtually unknown. Some victims' experiences are referenced in the book, but most survivors have neither spoken out nor come together to share their experiences. While many of the victims were murdered by the Nazis to ensure their silence, some are still living and able to testify.
The project is being coordinated by Jessica Neuwirth, an attorney who founded the international women's rights organization Equality Now and is a UN expert on sexual violence in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. She is being assisted by Karen Shulman, an education consultant with experience working on the Holocaust and in Rwanda, with a Master's degree focusing on the Holocaust and genocide. The project is under the auspices of Remember the Women Institute, directed by Dr. Rochelle G. Saidel. Phase One of the project has been carried out with generous grants from the American Jewish Committee Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights and The Ruth Turner Fund.
It is not too late for the world to hear firsthand what happened to victims of sexual violence during the Holocaust, but time is running out. Rape and sexual violence in connection with other genocides have been well documented, including those in the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Sudan. In these cases women have come forward and found solidarity in each other and those who support them. The sexual enslavement during World War II of "comfort women" by the Japanese military was exposed only fifty years after the war, and the testimony of Kim Hak Soon, then age 67, inspired more than 200 other Korean women to speak out.
Top of page
REMEMBER THE WOMEN INSTITUTE WINS TIKKUN OLAM AWARD
The founders of the Haiti Jewish Refugee Legacy Project, Harriet and Bill Mohr, have presented a Tikkun Olam Award to Dr. Rochelle G. Saidel for her work in the Remember the Women Institute, to highlight her efforts to raise awareness for their many readers around the world. The Mohrs started the Haiti Jewish Refugee Legacy Project on March 31, 2010, and have already had over 36,600 blog views. Read more about the endeavors of the Haiti Jewish Refugee Legacy Project and recipients of the Tikkun Olum Award. The organization is based in Menlo Park, CA.
Top of page
ANNOUNCING A GROUNDBREAKING BOOK
NOW AVAILABLE FOR KINDLE AT AMAZON.COM
BRANDEIS UNIVERSITY PRESS/UNIVERSITY PRESS OF NEW ENGLAND
SEXUAL VIOLENCE AGAINST JEWISH WOMEN DURING THE HOLOCAUST
We are pleased to announce the November 2010 publication of
SEXUAL VIOLENCE AGAINST JEWISH WOMEN DURING THE HOLOCAUST
Edited by Dr. Sonja M. Hedgepeth and Dr. Rochelle G. Saidel
"The Holocaust horrors suffered by males and females alike have been rightly memorialized in histories and museums, but the sexual violence suffered by females has rarely been recorded. Perhaps we would have been better able to prevent the rapes in the former Yugoslavia and the Congo if we had not had to wait more than sixty years to hear the truths that are anthologized in Sexual Violence against Jewish Women during the Holocaust by Sonja Hedgepeth and Rochelle Saidel. We owe them and the authors they assembled a debt of gratitude for a well-documented warning that sexual violence is a keystone of genocide."
—Gloria Steinem, Feminist writer and organizer,
co-founder of the Women's Media Center
The Women's Media Center is featuring Sexual Violence Against Jewish Women During the Holocaust in their networking and social media.
“Challenging conventional interpretations by highlighting evidence that has been ignored, downplayed, or even silenced, Sexual Violence against Jewish Women during the Holocaust, a book as courageous as it is sensitive, significantly expands scholarship about the Holocaust’s extremity and intensifies imperatives to resist every kind of sexual abuse.”
—John K. Roth, Edward J. Sexton Professor Emeritus of Philosophy and Founding Director, Center for the Study of the Holocaust, Genocide, and Human Rights, Claremont McKenna College.
“This book touches upon a deeply troubling and too long ignored topic.
The Nazis used a wide variety of means to humiliate, degrade, and
torture Jews. Rape and sexual abuse were among them. Sadly, it was not
only the Nazis and their allies who abused Jewish women. Jews,
non-Jewish prisoners, and even liberators did as well. The editors and
contributors to this volume deserve great credit for addressing this
—Deborah E. Lipstadt, Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish and Holocaust Studies, Emory University
In February 2012, the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous chose Sexual Violence against Women during the Holocaust as book of the month.
Dr. Sonja M. Hedgepeth and Dr. Rochelle G. Saidel. Photo: Jeff F. Segall
Featured in the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute's Series on Jewish Women,
written with the support of Remember the Women Institute,
with sixteen chapters by a prestigious interdisciplinary and international group of scholars.
Table of Contents
by Sonja M. Hedgepeth and Rochelle G. Saidel
Part I: Aspects of Sexual Abuse
Chapter 1: Death and the Maidens: “Prostitution,” Rape, and Sexual Slavery during World War II
by Nomi Levenkron
Chapter 2: Sexualized Violence Against Women During Nazi “Racial” Persecution
by Brigitte Halbmayr
Chapter 3: Sexual Exploitation of Women in Nazi Concentration Camp Brothels
by Robert Sommer
Chapter 4: Schillinger and the Dancer: Representing Agency and Sexual Violence in Holocaust Testimonies
by Kirsty Chatwood
Part II: Rape of Jewish Women
Chapter 5: “Only Pretty Women were Raped:” The Effect of Sexual Violence on Gender Identities in the Concentration Camps
by Monika J. Flaschka
Chapter 6: The Tragic Fate of Ukrainian Jewish Women under Nazi occupation, 1941-1944
by Anatoly Podolsky
Chapter 7: The Rape of Jewish Women During the Holocaust
by Helene J. Sinnreich
Chapter 8: Rape and Sexual Abuse in Hiding
by Zoë Waxman
Part III: Assaults on Motherhood
Chapter 9: Reproduction Under the Swastika: The Other Side of the Glorification of Motherhood
by Helga Amesberger
Chapter 10: Forced Sterilization and Abortion as Sexual Abuse
by Ellen Ben-Sefer
Part IV: Sexual Violence in Literature and Cinema
Chapter 11: Sexual Abuse in Holocaust Literature: Memoir and Fiction
by S. Lillian Kremer
Chapter 12: Stoning the Messenger: Yehiel Dinur’s House of Dolls and Piepel
by Miryam Sivan
Chapter 13: Nava Semel's And the Rat Laughed: A Tale of Sexual Violation
by Sonja Hedgepeth and Rochelle G. Saidel
Chapter 14: “Public Property:” Sexual Abuse of Women and Girls in Cinematic Memory
by Yvonne Kozlovsky-Golan
Part V: The Violated Self
Chapter 15: Sexual Abuse of Jewish Women during and after the Holocaust: A Psychological Perspective
by Eva Fogelman
Chapter 16: The Shame Is Always There
by Esther Dror and Ruth Linn
Notes on Contributors
ISBN 9781584659051 (paperback), 320 pages, $35.00
For orders and more information see http://www.upne.com/1-58465-903-3.html
Dr. Helga Amesberger, a social scientist, is a senior researcher at the Institute of Conflict Research in Vienna, with a focus on National Socialist persecution of women and oral history. She is the co-author of Sexualisierte Gewalt in NS-Konzentrationslagern (Sexualized Violence in National Socialist Concentration Camps).
Dr. Ellen Ben-Sefer is a Senior Lecturer at Schoenborn Academic College of Nursing in Tel Aviv, dividing her research time between nursing research and such Holocaust-related issues as children, women, and transit camps. She has also developed a model program in Australia and Israel for teaching nursing students about relevant Holocaust issues.
Kirsty Chatwood, an independent researcher who studies questions of gender, sexuality, rape and “resistance” in the context of genocide, has degrees from University of Alberta and University of Lethbridge in Canada. She is currently conducting research that includes studying the connections between sexual vulnerability and sex for survival in concentration camps.
Esther Dror is a PhD candidate in the Faculty of Education at University of Haifa, Israel. Her writings include “Unraveling the Curtain of Silence: Leading to Redefinition of the Survival of Women during the Holocaust,” presented at Women and the Holocaust, the Fourth International Conference in Israel in 2007.
Dr. Monika J. Flashka received a PhD in Modern European History from Kent State University. Her dissertation, “Race, Rape and Gender in Nazi-Occupied Territories,” analyzes the intersection of gender and racial ideology in court-martial cases of rape, attempted rape, and child abuse committed by German soldiers and non-German men in the occupied territories.
Dr. Eva Fogelman, a psychologist in private practice in New York City, is Co-Director of Psychotherapy, Generations of the Holocaust and Related Traumas and Child Development Research, Training Institute for Mental Health. The author of Conscience and Courage: Rescuers of Jews During the Holocaust, she wrote and co-produced Breaking the Silence.
Dr. Brigitte Halbmayr, a social scientist and senior researcher at the Institute of Conflict Research, Vienna, focuses on racism, National Socialism, the Holocaust, and gender. She co-authored Das Privileg der Unsichtbarkeit. Rassismus unter dem Blickwinkel von Weißsein und Dominanzkultur (The Privilege of Invisibility. Racism--Being White in Dominant Culture).
Dr. Sonja M. Hedgepeth is a full professor in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures at Middle Tennessee State University. In addition to German, she has taught extensively about the Holocaust, women's issues, and world literature. She has published a book on Else Lasker-Schüler, as well as co-edited a book on this famous German-Jewish writer.
Dr. Yvonne Kozlovsky-Golan teaches history and cinema at University of Haifa's Department of Cinema and Television, as well as Sapir College of the Negev and Kibbutzim College in Israel. She researches the cinema's influence on viewers' knowledge of history. She is the author of “Until you are Dead”: The Death Penalty in the USA: History, Law, and Cinema.
Dr. S. Lillian Kremer, University Distinguished Professor, Emerita, Kansas State University is the author of Witness Through the Imagination: The Holocaust in Jewish American Literature and Women's Holocaust Writing: Memory and Imagination, the editor of Holocaust Literature: An Encyclopedia of Writers and Their Work, and the author ofmany critical essays.
Nomi Levenkron, an Israeli attorney, headed the anti-trafficking department at the Hotline for Migrant Workers in Israel. She is currently Professional Director of “Matters” - The Law and Society Clinical Center, College of Management, Academic Studies, and Director of the Human Rights Clinic. She also teaches courses about prostitution and trafficking at Tel Aviv University.
Prof. Ruth Linn, a former Dean of the Faculty of Education at University of Haifa, Israel, studies moral psychology and focuses on issues associated with resistance to authority. Among her four books is one about the suppressed story of Auschwitz escapees. She has been a visiting scholar at Harvard University, University of Maryland, and University of British Columbia.
Dr. Anatoly Podolsky, a historian, is the Director of the Ukrainian Center for Holocaust Studies in Kiev, Ukraine, and a senior researcher at the Institute of Political and Ethnic Studies of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. He is the author of “A Reluctant look back: Jewry and the Holocaust in Ukraine,” as well as many published articles.
Dr. Rochelle G. Saidel, a political scientist, is Director of Remember the Women Institute in New York City and a senior researcher at the Center for the Study of Women and Gender, University of São Paulo, Brazil. She is the author of The Jewish Women of Ravensbrück Concentration Camp and editor of Fiorello's Sister: Gemma La Guardia Gluck's Story.
Dr. Helene Sinnreich is the Director of the Center for Judaic and Holocaust Studies and Associate Professor of History at Youngstown State University. She is editor-in-chief of the Journal of Jewish Identities and Executive Director of the Ohio Council for Holocaust Education. Her research focuses on victim experience during the Holocaust.
Dr. Miriam Sivan, originally from New York City, teaches at University of Haifa and at the Emek Yizrael College. Her book, Belonging Too Well: Portraits of Identity in Cynthia Ozick’s Fiction, was published in 2009. Her novella, City of Refuge, was adapted for the stage at a theater conference in London in 2007. She has recently completed a novel, Make it Concrete.
Dr. Robert Sommer received his PhD from the Institute of Cultural Studies at Humboldt University in Berlin in 2009. In 2006-2009, he organized an international conference, “Forced Prostitution and War in the 20th and the Beginning of the 21st Century,” at the Ravensbrück Memorial, and also served as scientific project supervisor there for an exhibit on camp brothels.
Dr. Zoë Waxman is a Research Fellow in History at Royal Holloway, University of London. She is the author of Writing the Holocaust: Identity, Testimony, Representation (Oxford University Press, 2006) and articles on the Holocaust and women's Holocaust experiences.
Top of page
Mielec, Poland: The Shtetl that Became a Nazi Concentration Camp
by Rochelle G. Saidel
New from Gefen Publishing Company, 2012
$24.95, hard cover, ISBN 10: 9652295299, 240 pages
This unprecedented book about Mielec, Poland is available for pre-orders
from Gefen Publishing, as well as Amazon.com and other book dealers.
The book's 45 visuals include rare documentation of correspondence during
the Holocaust. Author Dr. Rochelle G. Saidel's research was carried out
as a Research Fellow at the Yad Vashem International Institute for Holocaust
Research, as well as under the auspices of Remember the Women Institute.
Poland, is just one of many small dots on the map of the Holocaust, but
its remarkable and unique history calls for closer scrutiny. Using an
experimental process that was not repeated, the Nazis destroyed the Mielec
Jewish community on March 9, 1942. After murdering those deemed too old
or disabled to be useful, the German occupiers selected able-bodied survivors
(mostly men) for slave labor and then deported the rest (4,000 mostly
women, some with children) to another sector of the Generalgouvernement,
the Lublin district. This process was recorded not only by the Nazis,
but also by some members of the local Jewish and non-Jewish population.
The visual and written documentation in this book allows us to learn
about the Jewish community that had flourished in Mielec until the Holocaust,
as well as the unusual way in which it was wiped out by the Nazis. In
addition, testimonies and war criminal trial records describe an almost
unknown brutal slave labor camp that operated on the outskirts of Mielec
from before March 1942 until July 1944.
Mielec is located in the Rzeszów
province in southern Poland, quite close to Tarnów (and was in the Kraków
district of the Generalgouvernement). Both the Jewish community and the
concentration camp of Mielec have almost vanished from history, and evidence
at the site is sparse. Nevertheless, what happened there can be recounted
using old and new testimonies, rare photographs and documents, survivor
interviews, and archival material. With the exception of a small number
of people fortunate enough to survive by running and hiding, the entire
population was murdered, sent to slave labor camps, or later deported
to death camps from the Lublin district.
Mielec was the first town in
the Generalgouvernement from which the entire Jewish population was deported
in the context of the Final Solution. The Nazis' well-documented decision
to deport the Jews of Mielec was made very early, in January 1942. Furthermore,
after deportation to the Lublin district following an Aktion on March
9, 1942, the Mielec Jews were not murdered immediately. They were allowed
to live for months under terrible circumstances in some of the small
towns in that district, near Sobibór and Belzec. Ultimately these two
death camps would be the final destination for Mielec’s Jews.
unusual aspect of the Mielec story is the labor camp that was located
there. The site of the Polish National Aircraft Company (PZL), part of
a Centralny Okreg Przemyslowy (Central Industrial District), was taken
over by the Nazis for the manufacture of Heinkel airplanes. Later this
work camp became a concentration camp, complete with tattoos and sadistic
commandants. Despite these facts, histories of the Holocaust rarely mention
Mielec. Today, this site is a Euro-Park industrial complex.
visuals about Mielec during the Holocaust are from survivor Moshe Borger
(who was given a photograph album and correspondence by a Polish neighbor
after World War II), from archives (the deportation), from research trips
to Mielec, and from other survivors. Very early and much more recent
survivor testimonies, as well as Nazi documentation, help to tell the
story. The author interviewed survivors and also found Nazi war criminal
trial records. Material from the unpublished manuscript of a Mielec concentration
camp survivor and from the diary and unpublished manuscript of a Mielec
shtetl survivor are included, as is testimony from a Mielec resident
who was one of ten women to survive the Sobibór revolt. Research was
carried out in Yad Vashem, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum,
the Jewish Historical Research Institute in Warsaw, and on site in Mielec.
the Women Institute gratefully acknowledges grants from the Five Miller
Family Foundation, Moshe Borger, the Lucius N. Littauer Foundation, and
Dr. Nancy Ordway, which made publication of this book possible
information, or to arrange for Dr. Saidel to present a program in connection
with this new book, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-212-799-0887.
Chapter 1: Mielec Today and Before World War II
Photo Gallery 1: Pre–World War II Miele
Chapter 2: The Mielec Jewish Community under Nazi Rule
Chapter 3: The Mielec Deportation
Begins: March 9, 1942 Photo Gallery 2: Mielec from September 1939 to the March
9, 1942, Deportatio
Chapter 4: Mielec Jews in the Lublin District
Chapter 5: The Many Who Were Murdered,
the Few Who Escape
Chapter 6: Missing the Roundup, Running, and Hiding
Chapter 7: The Mielec Slave
Chapter 8: The Mielec Concentration Camp
Photo Gallery 3: Exile in the Lublin District, Slave Labor in Mielec, and Mielec
Chapter 9: Post–World War II Nazi War Criminal Trial
Appendix: Jewish Life in Mielec: Sixteenth through Nineteenth Century
Reviews of Mielec, Poland: The Shtetl That Became a Nazi Concentration Camp
By Marcia Weiss Posner on the website of the Jewish Book Council. This review will also appear in the Fall 2012 print edition of Jewish Book World.
By Joyce Field in Shofar: A Journal of the Midwest Jewish Studies Association and Western Jewish Studies Association (provided on-line as a service by Case Western Reserve University).
By Marcia Weiss Posner in Jewish Book World Fall 5772/2012, published by the Jewish Book Council.
Agnieszka Mrozik, who is a native of Mielec, interviewed author Rochelle G. Saidel for the local newspaper, the Rzeszów edition of Gazeta Wyborcza (right). The interview appeared in March, 2012, in connection with the 70th anniversary of the March 9, 1942, deportation of the Jewish community of Mielec. The interview took place during a conference on women and the Holocaust, held in Warsaw in November 2011.Photo: Dr. Rochelle G. Saidel, left, presents a copy of her book, Mielec, Poland: The Shtetl That Became a Nazi Concentration Camp to Agnieszka Mrozik.
Top of page
A Visit with Judy Chicago
Co-editors Sonja Hedgepeth and Rochelle Saidel traveled to Belen, NM to meet with feminist artist Judy Chicago and discuss how images from her Holocaust Project relate to the anthology. She has been addressing the issues of rape and sexual abuse for decades in her art and writing, and through her not-for-profit organization, Through the Flower.
Rochelle Saidel, Sonja Hedgepeth, and Judy Chicago.
Through the Flower
welcome sign, Belen, NM
BACKGROUND ON RAPE
Because of the difficulty of obtaining information from the victims, and
the sensitivity of the subject, sexual abuse of women during the Holocaust
has not yet received the academic attention that it deserves. The two
main issues that require further research are rape and forced prostitution.
Regarding rape, female survivors often mention in interviews that they
know that their friend was raped, but they rarely put the discussion in
the first person. Furthermore, this is not a situation where researchers
can look for documentation, because there generally is none. Rape has
to do with the aggressor's use of power via a sexual act to humiliate
and abuse the victim. If this can happen to any woman anywhere, it surely
happens when women (and sometimes men) in concentration camps are considered
less then human by Nazi captors endowed with the power of life and death.
Laws against Rassenschande, or racial impurity, did not apply for Nazis
raping their Jewish prisoners. Besides, if there were no witnesses willing
to testify, Nazi guards could rape with impunity. A victim would not dare
to make an accusation or she would be murdered, and a rapist, even if
accused, could simply deny his actions. (The situation of Soviet troops
raping women as they conquered Nazi-held territory also needs to be explored.)
Top of page
New Portuguese Edition of The Jewish Women of Ravensbrück Concentration Camp by University of São Paulo Press
New Portuguese Edition of The Jewish Women of Ravensbrück Concentration Camp Published by University of São Paulo Press
The new Brazilian edition of The Jewish Women of Ravensbrück Concentration Camp by Dr. Rochelle G. Saidel was published by University of SãoPaulo Press in July 2009. The official launch of the book takes place in SãoPaulo, Brazil on November 9, 2009 at 7:00 p.m., in commemoration of Kristallnacht. The event is sponsored by Livraria Cultura, Congregação Israelita Paulista and University of São Paulo Press, and takes place at Livraria Cultura, Villa-Lobos Shopping Center. The event includes a commemoration of Kristallnacht, a presentation by Dr. Saidel, and a book signing.
There are a number of connections between this concentration camp and Brazil: Olga Benario Prestes was deported from Brazil to Nazi Germany in 1936, and later sent to Ravensbrück and murdered. In addition, several survivors whose stories are told in the book settled in Brazil after World War II, and a child survivor has links to Brazil through her father. Besides these specific references to Brazil, the book is of interest to readers of Portuguese throughout the world who want to learn about Ravensbrück, the Holocaust, and women's history. This is the first book in Portuguese about Ravensbrück and about women during the Holocaust.
Jewish Women of Ravensbrück Concentration Camp (Hebrew
October 31, 2007 marked the official date for the publication of the Hebrew edition of The Jewish Women of Ravensbrück Concentration Camp by Rochelle G. Saidel. The book, elegantly translated into Hebrew by Avri Fischer, is the first in Hebrew on this subject. The Ravensbrück book is published by Beyahad Publishers, the publishing division of Lohamei Hagetaot, The Ghetto Fighters' House and Museum, Israel, and distributed by Yad Vashem, the official Holocaust memorial and museum of Israel, in Jerusalem. Professor Dalia Ofer, Max and Rita Haber Professor of Holocaust and Eastern Europe Studies, Avraham Harman Institute of Contemporary Jewry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, wrote the foreword for the new Hebrew edition.
The book launch, co-sponsored by Remember the Women Institute, was a feature of the conference, Women and the Holocaust: Childhood and Youth under the Third Reich – A Gender Perspective, held October 29 -31, 2007 in Israel. The October 31 morning session inaugurating the book took place at the Ghetto Fighters' House and Museum, north of Haifa.
The publication of the book was made possible by generous grants to Lohamei Hagetaot by Lili Haber, Naomi Asai, the Crakowian Association in Israel and Moshe Borger; and to Remember the Women Institute by the Five Millers Family Foundation, the Lucius N. Littauer Foundation, and the S. H. and Helen R. Scheuer Family Foundation. For more information about the English edition of the book, please see below. For more information about the conference, please see Events.
Jewish Women of Ravensbruck Concentration Camp (English Edition)
by Dr. Rochelle G. Saidel
Imprint: Terrace Books, University of Wisconsin Press,
Paperback edition, 2006, ISBN 0-299-19864-2, with new preface, $21.95.
Hardcover, 2004, ISBN 0-299-19860-X, $29.95, 336 pp. with 63 images. ORDER
FORM (requires Adobe
about book launch of paperback edition and reader comments.
The hardback and/or paperback edition is now available throughout Israel
via Yad Vashem by phoning (02) 644-3511. Also available in Jerusalem at M. Pomeranz Bookseller, Shmuel HaNagid
Street 4. Telephone (02) 623-5559. E-mail: email@example.com
And at Tamir Books, Rehov Emek Refaim, Jerusalem, as well as at selected
Available in Brazil through the Livraria
Cultura web site and retail store in Conjunto Nacional Av. Paulista,
2073, São Paulo, and in other cities in Brazil. São Paulo
telephone (11) 3170-4033, fax (11) 3285-4457, and e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
This is the first book in English to recount the experiences of Jewish
prisoners in Ravensbrück women’s concentration camp, and to
incorporate the camp into Holocaust memorialization. Based on the author’s
interest in the camp and its victims, as well as her personal relationships
with some of the survivors, the book was envisioned when she first visited
the camp memorial (then in East Germany) in 1980. It includes narratives
from interviews with some sixty survivors in the United States, Israel,
Canada, Europe, and Brazil, as well as unpublished testimonies and documents.
Some survivors shared a poem, diary excerpt, or unpublished memoir, which
are incorporated into the book. There are also sixty-three graphic images,
and an extensive bibliography.
This crossover book is of interest to scholars as well as general readers
of memoirs, women’s lives and history, and twentieth century and
Holocaust-related history. Although it is written in a style that is engaging
to general readers, it is thoroughly researched, documented, and footnoted.
The book fills a gap, because the camp and the experiences of its female
Jewish victims are virtually unknown to most English language readers.
Even anthologies that study women during the Holocaust have either omitted
the camp or included only superficial information.
Because Ravensbrück was created as a camp for female political prisoners,
many of them Communists, and was located in East Germany, the Cold War
interfered with information about and interest in it after World War II.
Furthermore, because many prisoners were political rather than Jewish,
the camp has until now been downplayed in most of the literature, historical
accounts, museums, and memorials that recount Jewish Holocaust experiences.
However, thousands of Jewish women were murdered by slave labor, torture,
starvation, shooting, lethal injection, “medical” experiments,
and gassing in this camp, which was located about 50 miles north of Berlin.
Among the some 132,000 women who were in the camp, about twenty percent
were Jewish. This innovative book aims at bringing to life the stories
of the Jewish prisoners in the context of the camp, so that readers can
better understand the despair in Ravensbrück and the ways that some
of its victims managed to survive and rebuild their lives.
Top of page
Fiorello's Sister: Gemma La Guardia Gluck's Story,
The New Expanded Edition Book Published by Syracuse University Press in
March 2007, with Dr. Rochelle G. Saidel as Editor. Now in its
Paperback $16.95 ISBN 978-0-8156-0861-5
Order though Syracuse
See reviewer comments
about this new book.
See the New York Times comments
Fiorello's Sister: Gemma La Guardia Gluck's Story, a new expanded
edition of My Story, a memoir by Gemma LaGuardia Gluck, was published
by Syracuse University Press in Spring 2007. Gemma was the sister of former
New York City (1933-1944) Mayor Fiorello La Guardia, and she was held
as a political hostage in Ravensbrück concentration camp. Dr. Rochelle
G. Saidel has edited Gluck's memoir, adding a prologue and epilogue. She
also included an appendix with letters written between Gemma and Fiorello
between 1945 and 1947, as well as visuals that trace Gemma's life story.
The Remember the Women Institute and the Fiorello H. LaGuardia Foundation
provided partial support for the publication.
Gemma La Guardia Gluck's original memoir, My Story, edited by S.
L. Shneiderman and published in 1961, has long been out of print. While
the focus is on Gemma's experience in Ravensbrück, it is much more
than a Holocaust memoir. It begins with the great wave of immigration
to the United States from Europe in the 1880s, and follows the family
to army posts in Dakota Territory and Arizona. It also traces the family
history of the La Guardias, including the background of Gemma and Fiorello’s
Jewish mother, Irene Coen La Guardia.
Gemma and her family returned to Italy in the early twentieth century,
when she was in her twenties. Fiorello went back to New York to learn
a law degree and launch a political career, but Gemma remained in Europe
and married a Hungarian Jewish man. Living in Budapest in 1944, she was
arrested by the Nazis. In addition to her incarceration in Ravensbrück,
Gemma details the often untold story of the extreme hardships of living
as a displaced person in post-World War II Berlin. She also describes
how her daughter and infant grandson were reunited with her as she was
sent out of the concentration camp, and how the three of them struggled
for two years to immigrate to the United States.
Gemma's memoir is a story of a wise and strong woman who remained optimistic
and resourceful, even when life was much less than fair. For related lectures,
see 2007 EVENTS.
Read a summary of a lecture
related to this book.
The old, 1961 edition of My Story, edited by S. L. Shneiderman
(out of print)
Top of page
ANTISEMITISM AND SEXISM: JEWISH WOMEN
WHO IMMIGRATED TO BRAZIL
This ongoing project is analyzing the experiences of the Jewish immigrant
women who came to São Paulo because of persecution in Europe during
the German Third Reich. Using oral history interviews and written memoirs,
some 25 women’s stories are included in the study.
The project’s purpose is to develop an understanding that Jewish
women had to face certain issues not only because of their religion. The
theoretical assumption is that within the universal suffering of all of
the victims of the Holocaust and the general problems faced by all new
immigrants, men’s and women's experiences were different. The study
analyzes the specific issues of gender that made the female experience
different from that of the male, examining both positive and negative
gender-related aspects. Results of the study are projected to be published
in both English and Portuguese, and will be made available to educational
and cultural institutions. Interviews were done in conjunction with the
Center for the
Study of Women and Gender (NEMGE
in Portuguese), University
of São Paulo.
Top of page