In "Hitler's Furies: German Women in the Nazi Killing Fields," Dr. Wendy Lower of Claremont McKenna College will speak on young German women who went to Nazi-occupied eastern Europe and worked as nurses, secretaries, and schoolteachers and there took part in the Nazi genocide of the Jews.
Women as well as men killed Jews, plundered their goods, or stood by without protesting Nazi crimes. Dr. Lower says that, "In favoring perceived duty over morality, men and women were more alike than different."
Dr. Lower's appearance at Ithaca College is sponsored by the Jewish Studies Program, and is cosponsored by Women's and Gender Studies, History, Politics, and Hillel, and is funded by generous alumni donors.
Individuals with disabilities requiring accommodations should contact Rebecca Lesses at firstname.lastname@example.org or (607) 274-3556. We ask that requests for accommodations be made as soon as possible.
Dr. Lower's book, Hitler’s Furies: German Women in the Nazi Killing Fields (2013) builds a fascinating and convincing picture of a morally “lost generation” of young German women, born into a defeated, tumultuous post–World War I Germany, and then swept up in the nationalistic fervor of the Nazi movement—a twisted political awakening that turned to genocide. These young women—nurses, teachers, secretaries, wives, and mistresses—saw the emerging Nazi empire as a kind of “wild east” of career and matrimonial opportunity, and yet could not have imagined what they would witness and do there.
Lower, drawing on twenty years of archival and field work on the Holocaust, presents overwhelming evidence that these women were more than “desk murderers” or comforters of murderous German men: that they brutalized Jews in the ghettos of Poland, Ukraine, and Belarus and that they were present at killing-field picnics, not only providing refreshment but also taking their turn at the mass shooting. And Lower uncovers the stories, perhaps most horrific, of SS wives with children of their own, whose female brutality is as chilling as any in history.
Dr. Lower is the John K. Roth Professor of History at Claremont McKenna College and a research associate at the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich. A historical consultant for the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, she has published numerous articles and books on the Holocaust, including Nazi Empire-Building and the Holocaust in Ukraine (2007).
Review in the New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/09/books/hitlers-furies-by-wendy-lower-examines-german-women.html?_r=0