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Last night they close my account and I couldn't communicate with you. Also, can I send you my draft? I already started it.Violence against Jewish Women during the HolocaustThroughout the years, women have often been perceived as the “weaker sex.” An example, is the way Jewish women were treated by the Nazis during the Holocaust. As a result, the Nazis viewed Jewish women as an agent of fertility, motherhood, and homebuilders. During the Holocaust, women were considered useless especially pregnant women and mothers small children, due to the fact that they were unable to participate in tasks of the war. This counts for the fact why Jewish women were subjugated by the Nazis on a sexually violent level, such as rape, being sexually humiliated, and dehumanized. The Nazi pattern of sexual violence started against Jewish women, during the event of Kristallnacht and began to play an integral role in the Nazis pattern. Although, men were treated worse than women, both genders’ experience were distinguished due to biological and sexual distinctions. It is also important to recognize both men and women’s experiences during the Holocaust, in order to apply them to future events. Why were Jewish women sexually abused by the Nazis? One could argue that the main reason why women were treated harshly by the Nazis is because they were considered as useless for the duties and jobs in the concentration camps. The Nazis felt that Jewish women were contaminating their blood, and they felt that by assaulting a woman’s body, the Jewish population would not be able to reproduce. According to Ofer and Weitzman, Jewish women “were connected to the ‘race struggle of National Socialism because they carried the next generation of Jews” (Ofer and Weitzman 1198, 345). Both rape and sexual violence were used as significant benefactors by the Nazis, in order to subjugate and dehumanize Jewish women.
During the Holocaust, women would use sexualized violence as a tool of manipulation against the Nazis, in order to survive. According to Person, “the pattern of female collaboration was through sex with the oppressor” (Person 2015, 104). The Nazis were disgusted by the Jews that the wanted to demolish Jewish women’s chances of fertility. As a result, Jewish women were being forced to challenge the horrifying experiences of the concentration camps, which represents an assault on motherhood and sexuality. In the Jewish family, women are responsible for the health and care of their household. In order to portray their roles and duties, Jewish “women participated in the planning and running of the soup kitchen and other aid institutions; however, they were no policy makers. They directed and worked in individual kitchens as cooks, waitresses, [and] cleaning personnel” (Ofer and Weitzman 1198, 158). The Nazis wanted Jewish women to utilize their knowledge of home cooking in the camps and ghettos. Unfortunately, this did not work because “women’s knowledge of home cooking was a limited advantage in running a large soup kitchen” (Ofer and Weitzman 1198, 159). Rather than having women working out in the field or participate in the war, they would have Jewish women participate in domesticity and at the same time they were subjugated to the Nazis.
What is more interesting is that, whenever there is a discussion regarding the Holocaust, we are forced to think of men as the only participants or survivors, due to the fact that, “the field of Holocaust Studies is still male-dominated, and as men seek to identify with other men rather than with women, the ‘Holocaust canon’ has in turn remained predominantly male (Baer and Goldenberg 2003, 24). Again, we live in a patriarchal society and man is seen as the authoritative figure in the household and in social organizations, including political leadership. In Eva’s Story: A Survivor’s Tale by the Stepsister of Anne Frank, the narrator explains how she feared for her life at the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp. Every time the narrator tries to walk around the camp, there is always a young soldier watching her and eventually he started stalking her in the showers, compounds, and everywhere she went. As a result, she felt as if he was becoming a threat to her. The narrator also mentions that whenever the Kappos called her out, she felt terrified, threatened, and felt the urge to resist, although she did not (Schloss 1988).