The Jewish Women Of Ravenbrück Concentration Camp By Rochelle Saidel

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By using dogs, the Nazi soldiers reinforced their ideas that Jewish women were sexual deviants and were part of a sub human race. To the victims, this kind of violence was especially degrading as the officers would laugh and taunt them while the dogs were biting them among other things. This is just another example of how women’s experiences of violence were gendered, in that, the sexual violence was specifically enacted against them in this way due to the Nazi rhetoric surrounding Jewish women and how acts of violence against them are meant to demean their femininity. In The Jewish Women of Ravenbrück Concentration Camp the author, Rochelle Saidel discusses how gender plays a large role in the identity of the camp survivors, along with how…show more content…
Forced sterilizations were fairly common in camps such as Ravenbrück, as they were all women, the Nazis could do regular sterilization experiments on their bodies to carry out their ultimate goal of race purification and keep Jewish women from procreating. Even though men endured forced sterilizations as well, one would argue it affected women more deeply because in the societal norms at the time women’s worth in society was dictated by how many children they had. Nazi rhetoric that surrounded issues of pregnancy greatly affected Jewish women because of the propaganda surrounding how they are promiscuous and could have children seemingly faster than…show more content…
In 1942 the German government created a law that “banned all birth…rendering abortions compulsory” which meant that they were targeting the Jewish women demographic. As described in Saidel’s book Sexual Violence Against Jewish Women in the Holocaust, “pregnancy was a death sentence…as women discovered to be pregnant were automatically sent to the gas chambers” which meant that women and sometimes doctors in the camps would perform abortions in order to save the mother as they believed that the lives of the children could not feasibly be saved. In the cases of pregnancy in concentration camps, Saidel appropriately calls the experience “childdeath” instead of childbirth” because many times the mothers would be forced to have abortions or would perform abortions on themselves in order to escape the frequent deaths of pregnant women. If these pregnancies came to term, it would often have irreparable consequences. It would often result in the direct murder of both the mother and the child, as they would kill them together in gas chambers, but also there were reports of “women who gave birth were forced to witness their infants being smothered or drowned” which was yet another psychological and physical torment on women. Women’s experiences of pregnancy and abortion in camps is something that is often excluded from the

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