December 21, 2013

WOMEN AND THE FINAL SOLUTION: “500,000 women had front-row seats to the Final Solution, where they watched and benefitted from the rapidly declining ‘racially inferior’ masses. And yet their presence, and their atrocities, have been largely ignored for the last 70 years. Twenty years ago, Lower was researching in Zhytomyr, a city in western Ukraine, leafing through the normal stuff of archives, the fading ink and illegible handwriting on tattered paper, some of which had bootprints and charred edges. It was there, among the German records that had been inaccessible under the Iron Curtain, that Lower began to notice an abundance of women’s names among the empire-builders. . . . There is link between the shockingly cavalier testimony given by these women and our collective ignorance of their actions in the Nazi East: genocide is usually considered the business of men, and thus, when it came time to call Nazis to account for their crimes, prosecutors were less interested in these women than in their male colleagues and husbands. . . . Jewish survivors have consistently described German women in the Nazi East as violent tormenters, not innocent bystanders.”