Jewish Journal

Women and the Holocaust

by Brad A. Greenberg

July 18, 2010 | 4:56 pm

There was a story about a different kind of Holocaust revisionism in today’s New York Times. Turns out the tales of brutal female Nazis weren’t as unusual as we’ve understood them to be:

The Nazi killing machine was undoubtedly a male-dominated affair. But according to new research, the participation of German women in the genocide, as perpetrators, accomplices or passive witnesses, was far greater than previously thought.

The researcher, Wendy Lower, an American historian now living in Munich, has drawn attention to the number of seemingly ordinary German women who willingly went out to the Nazi-occupied eastern territories as part of the war effort, to areas where genocide was openly occurring.

“Thousands would be a conservative estimate,” Ms. Lower said in an interview in Jerusalem last week.

While most did not bloody their own hands, the acts of those who did seemed all the more perverse because they operated outside the concentration camp system, on their own initiative.

Much more here. To be sure, Lower said that only 1 percent to 2 percent of those perpetrating genocide were women. But they were often close by, and influencing below the service.

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