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Hitler's furies : German women in the Nazi killing fields / Wendy Lower.

By: Lower, Wendy.
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookPublisher: London : Chatto & Windus : [distributor] TBS The Book Service Ltd : [distributor] Random House Australia : [distributor] Random House New Zealand Ltd : [distributor] Booksite Afrika : [distributor] Trafalgar Square, 2013Description: 288 pages ; 24x16 cm.Content type: text Media type: unmediated Carrier type: volumeISBN: 9780701187217 (hbk.) :; 0701187212 (hbk.) :.Subject(s): World War, 1939-1945 -- Women -- Germany | World War, 1939-1945 -- Campaigns -- Eastern Front | World War, 1939-1945 -- Atrocities | The Holocaust -- c 1939 to c 1945 (including WW2) -- Europe | 20th century history: c 1900 to c 2000 -- c 1939 to c 1945 (including WW2) -- Europe | Jewish studies -- c 1939 to c 1945 (including WW2) -- Europe | Gender studies: women -- c 1939 to c 1945 (including WW2) -- Europe | HistoryDDC classification: 940.53180820943
Contents:
Wendy Lower's stunning account of the role of ordinary German women on the Nazi eastern front powerfully revises history. The long-held picture of German women holding down the homefront during the war, as loyal wives and cheerleaders for the Fuhrer, pales in comparison to Lower's incisive case for the massive complicity, and worse, of the 500,000 young German women directly on the genocidal war zone of the expanding Reich. Lower builds a fascinating and convincing picture of a morally lost generation of young women, born into a defeated, tumultuous post-WWI Germany, and then swept up in the nationalistic fervor of the Nazi movement. These young women - nurses, teachers, secretaries, wives, and lovers - saw the emerging Nazi empire as a kind of wild east of career and matrimonial opportunity - and yet surely could not have imagined what they would witness and do there. Lower, drawing on twenty years of archival and field work on the Holocaust, access to post - Soviet documents, and interviews with German witnesses, presents overwhelming evidence that these women were more than 'desk murderers' or comforters of murderous German men: that they went on 'shopping sprees' and romantic outings to the Jewish ghettos of Poland, Ukraine, and Belarus; that they were present at killing-field picnics, not only providing refreshment but also taking their turn at the shooting of Jews; that their brutality was as chilling as any in history. Hitler's Furies is indelible proof that we have not known what we need to know about the role of women on the Nazi killing fields of the eastern front - or about how it could have been hidden for seventy years. -- Provided by publisher.
Summary: Offers an account of the role of ordinary German women on the Nazi eastern front powerfully revises history. This title builds a picture of a morally lost generation of young women, born into a defeated, tumultuous post-WWI Germany, and then swept up in the nationalistic fervor of the Nazi movement. Wendy Lower's stunning account of the role of ordinary German women on the Nazi eastern front powerfully revises history. The long-held picture of German women holding down the homefront during the war, as loyal wives and cheerleaders for the Fuhrer, pales in comparison to Lower's incisive case for the massive complicity, and worse, of the 500,000 young German women directly on the genocidal war zone of the expanding Reich. Lower builds a fascinating and convincing picture of a morally lost generation of young women, born into a defeated, tumultuous post-WWI Germany, and then swept up in the nationalistic fervor of the Nazi movement. These young women - nurses, teachers, secretaries, wives, and lovers - saw the emerging Nazi empire as a kind of wild east of career and matrimonial opportunity - and yet surely could not have imagined what they would witness and do there. Lower, drawing on twenty years of archival and field work on the Holocaust, access to post - Soviet documents, and interviews with German witnesses, presents overwhelming evidence that these women were more than 'desk murderers' or comforters of murderous German men: that they went on 'shopping sprees' and romantic outings to the Jewish ghettos of Poland, Ukraine, and Belarus; that they were present at killing-field picnics, not only providing refreshment but also taking their turn at the shooting of Jews; that their brutality was as chilling as any in history. Hitler's Furies is indelible proof that we have not known what we need to know about the role of women on the Nazi killing fields of the eastern front - or about how it could have been hidden for seventy years.Review: "Hitler's Furies will be experienced and remembered as a turning point in both women's studies and Holocaust studies" Timothy Snyder, author of Bloodlands "Lower shifts away from the narrow focus on the few thousand female concentration camp guards who have been at the center of previous studies of female culpability in Nazi crimes and identifies the cluster of professions-nurses, social workers, teachers, office workers-that in addition to family connections brought nearly one-half million women to the German East and into close proximity with pervasive Nazi atrocities. Through the lives of carefully researched individuals, she captures a spectrum of career trajectories and behavior. This is a book that artfully combines the study of gender with the illumination of individual experience." Christopher R. Browning, author of Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland "A grim, original study of the nurses, teachers, secretaries and wives who made up a good half of Hitler's murderers... A virtuosic feat of scholarship" Kirkus "Hitler's Furies is a long overdue and superb addition to the history of the Holocaust. The role of women perpetrators during the Final Solution has been too much glossed over. Wendy Lower's book provides an important and stunning corrective. It is a significant addition to our understanding of the role of ordinary Germans in the Reich's genocide." Deborah Lipstadt, author of The Eichmann Trial "Hitler's Furies is the first book to follow the biographical trajectories of individual women whose youthful exuberance, loyalty to the Fuhrer, ambition, and racism took them to the deadliest sites in German-occupied Europe. Drawing on immensely rich source material, Wendy Lower integrates women perpetrators and accomplices into the social history of the Third Reich, and illuminates them indelibly as a part of post-war East and West German memory that has been, until this book, unmined" Claudia Koonz, author of Mothers in the Fatherland.
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Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

Wendy Lower's account of the role of ordinary German women on the Nazi Eastern Front powerfully revises history. She builds a fascinating and convincing picture of a morally lost generation of young women, born into a defeated, tumultuous post-WWI Germany, and then swept up in the nationalistic fervor of the Nazi movement.

Hardback.

Wendy Lower's stunning account of the role of ordinary German women on the Nazi eastern front powerfully revises history. The long-held picture of German women holding down the homefront during the war, as loyal wives and cheerleaders for the Fuhrer, pales in comparison to Lower's incisive case for the massive complicity, and worse, of the 500,000 young German women directly on the genocidal war zone of the expanding Reich. Lower builds a fascinating and convincing picture of a morally lost generation of young women, born into a defeated, tumultuous post-WWI Germany, and then swept up in the nationalistic fervor of the Nazi movement. These young women - nurses, teachers, secretaries, wives, and lovers - saw the emerging Nazi empire as a kind of wild east of career and matrimonial opportunity - and yet surely could not have imagined what they would witness and do there. Lower, drawing on twenty years of archival and field work on the Holocaust, access to post - Soviet documents, and interviews with German witnesses, presents overwhelming evidence that these women were more than 'desk murderers' or comforters of murderous German men: that they went on 'shopping sprees' and romantic outings to the Jewish ghettos of Poland, Ukraine, and Belarus; that they were present at killing-field picnics, not only providing refreshment but also taking their turn at the shooting of Jews; that their brutality was as chilling as any in history. Hitler's Furies is indelible proof that we have not known what we need to know about the role of women on the Nazi killing fields of the eastern front - or about how it could have been hidden for seventy years. -- Provided by publisher.

Offers an account of the role of ordinary German women on the Nazi eastern front powerfully revises history. This title builds a picture of a morally lost generation of young women, born into a defeated, tumultuous post-WWI Germany, and then swept up in the nationalistic fervor of the Nazi movement. Wendy Lower's stunning account of the role of ordinary German women on the Nazi eastern front powerfully revises history. The long-held picture of German women holding down the homefront during the war, as loyal wives and cheerleaders for the Fuhrer, pales in comparison to Lower's incisive case for the massive complicity, and worse, of the 500,000 young German women directly on the genocidal war zone of the expanding Reich. Lower builds a fascinating and convincing picture of a morally lost generation of young women, born into a defeated, tumultuous post-WWI Germany, and then swept up in the nationalistic fervor of the Nazi movement. These young women - nurses, teachers, secretaries, wives, and lovers - saw the emerging Nazi empire as a kind of wild east of career and matrimonial opportunity - and yet surely could not have imagined what they would witness and do there. Lower, drawing on twenty years of archival and field work on the Holocaust, access to post - Soviet documents, and interviews with German witnesses, presents overwhelming evidence that these women were more than 'desk murderers' or comforters of murderous German men: that they went on 'shopping sprees' and romantic outings to the Jewish ghettos of Poland, Ukraine, and Belarus; that they were present at killing-field picnics, not only providing refreshment but also taking their turn at the shooting of Jews; that their brutality was as chilling as any in history. Hitler's Furies is indelible proof that we have not known what we need to know about the role of women on the Nazi killing fields of the eastern front - or about how it could have been hidden for seventy years.

"Hitler's Furies will be experienced and remembered as a turning point in both women's studies and Holocaust studies" Timothy Snyder, author of Bloodlands "Lower shifts away from the narrow focus on the few thousand female concentration camp guards who have been at the center of previous studies of female culpability in Nazi crimes and identifies the cluster of professions-nurses, social workers, teachers, office workers-that in addition to family connections brought nearly one-half million women to the German East and into close proximity with pervasive Nazi atrocities. Through the lives of carefully researched individuals, she captures a spectrum of career trajectories and behavior. This is a book that artfully combines the study of gender with the illumination of individual experience." Christopher R. Browning, author of Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland "A grim, original study of the nurses, teachers, secretaries and wives who made up a good half of Hitler's murderers... A virtuosic feat of scholarship" Kirkus "Hitler's Furies is a long overdue and superb addition to the history of the Holocaust. The role of women perpetrators during the Final Solution has been too much glossed over. Wendy Lower's book provides an important and stunning corrective. It is a significant addition to our understanding of the role of ordinary Germans in the Reich's genocide." Deborah Lipstadt, author of The Eichmann Trial "Hitler's Furies is the first book to follow the biographical trajectories of individual women whose youthful exuberance, loyalty to the Fuhrer, ambition, and racism took them to the deadliest sites in German-occupied Europe. Drawing on immensely rich source material, Wendy Lower integrates women perpetrators and accomplices into the social history of the Third Reich, and illuminates them indelibly as a part of post-war East and West German memory that has been, until this book, unmined" Claudia Koonz, author of Mothers in the Fatherland.

Wendy Lower is the John K. Roth Chair of History at Claremont McKenna College and former research associate of the Ludwig-Maximillians-Universitat in Munich. A historical consultant for the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, she has conducted archival research and field work on the Holocaust for twenty years. She lives with her family in Los Angeles, CA, and Munich, Germany.

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Excerpt provided by Syndetics

### Excerpted from Hitler's Furies: German Women in the Nazi Killing Fields by Wendy Lower All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

Library Journal Review

Lower (history, Claremont McKenna Coll.) undertook extensive archival research in European, U.S., and Israeli archives to address the "puzzling omission" of German women in Holocaust history. In introducing readers to SS wives, Red Cross nurses, clerical workers, etc., who volunteered to head east to newly Nazi-occupied territories, she illustrates the significant role of women in perpetrating the Holocaust. Some may have found what they witnessed abhorrent but felt little power to stop it (one nurse kept detailed notes but encountered little later interest in prosecuting the crimes), while others ignored the horrors. Some, like one Liselotte Meier, participated with zeal, following her SS love interest to the east to engage both in office work and in murdering Jews. Johanna Altvater Zelle delighted in killing Jewish children, then blended back into the fabric of society in postwar Germany as a social worker responsible for children. These women made use of the maternal stereotype to gain the trust of children who became victims. VERDICT Lower shows that the Nazi killing fields were not merely the isolated concentration camps but the occupied territories as well and that women played a large role, one that was neither punished nor subsequently studied. Perhaps that will now change.-PM (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

CHOICE Review

Focusing on the role of German women in the Nazi genocide, Lower (Claremont McKenna College) draws on years of archival research, interviews, and fieldwork across Europe, the US, and Israel to demolish the myth of German women holding down the home front as Germany embarked on its ideological objective of conquering the Slavic peoples of the east and murdering Jews. The author notes that more than a half-million German women witnessed and contributed to the genocidal war in the east as the Wehrmacht and the murderous Einsatzgruppen death squads hunted down and murdered Jewish men, women, and children in their determination to fulfill Hitler's prophecy of annihilating European Jewry. Dividing her chapters to describe the role of female witnesses, accomplices, and perpetrators of the Holocaust, Lower provides case studies of nurses who murdered children through lethal injections; secretaries who compiled lists of Jews targeted for murder; perpetrators who joined their male counterparts in the destruction process by euthanizing the disabled, resettling abducted children, and plundering Jewish property; and wives of SS officers who looted and shot Jews in the ghettos of Ukraine and used whips to brutalize helpless Jews. Must reading on a virtually ignored aspect of the Holocaust. Summing Up: Essential. All levels/libraries. J. Fischel emeritus, Messiah College

Booklist Review

Lower, a consultant for the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., sheds some much-needed light on an aspect of WWII history that has remained in the shadows for decades. The consensus in Holocaust and genocide studies, the author writes, is that the systems that make mass murder possible would not function without the broad participation of society, and yet nearly all histories of the Holocaust leave out half of those who populated that society, as if women's history happens somewhere else. Based on two decades of research and interviews, the book looks at the role of women in Nazi Germany, in particular women who participated in the Nazi extermination of the Jews. Not merely subservient observers, some women the author dubs them Hitler's Furies, a reference to the mythological goddesses of vengeance actively took part in the murders of Jews and in looting and stealing from Jewish homes. Lower writes about horribly violent female concentration-camp guards; of young girls trained in the use of firearms; of brutality that would rival anything perpetrated by their male counterparts. Surprising and deeply unsettling, the book is a welcome addition to the literature on the Holocaust.--Pitt, David Copyright 2010 Booklist

Kirkus Book Review

A grim, original study of the nurses, teachers, secretaries and wives who made up a good half of Hitler's murderers. Doing "women's work" included participating in the entire Nazi edifice, from filling the government's genocide offices to running the concentration camps, Holocaust Memorial Museum historical consultant Lower (History/Claremont McKenna Coll.) proves ably in this fascinating history. With a third of the female German population engaged in the Nazi Party, and increasing as the war went on, the author estimates that at least 500,000 of them were sent east from 1939 onward to help administer the newly occupied territories in Ukraine, Belarus, Poland and the Baltics. They were also enlisted to run Heinrich Himmler's Race and Resettlement Office, work in military support positions, and serve as teachers and nurses in the field hospitals and on train platforms. As key "agents of the Nazi empire-building, tasked with the constructive work in the German civilizing process," why were so few brought to a reckoning after the war? Sifting through testimonies, letters, memoirs and interviews and pursuing the stories of a dozen key players, the author exposes a historical blind spot in this perverse neglect of women's role in history. She finds that, similar to American women being allowed new freedoms during the war years, young German women often seized the chance to flee stifling domestic situations and join up or were actively conscripted and fully indoctrinated into anti-Semitic, genocidal policies. Many were trained in the eastern territories, and some of their select tasks included euthanizing the disabled, "resettling" abducted children and plundering Jewish property. The women's newfound sense of power next to men proved deadly, writes Lower. That their agency in these and other crucial tasks was largely ignored remains a haunting irony of history. A virtuosic feat of scholarship, signaling a need for even more research.]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.