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Editorial Reviews. From Booklist. Lower, a consultant for the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., sheds some much-needed light on an aspect of. Hitler's Furies: German Women in the Nazi Killing FieldsWendy LowerBoston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, pagesIn , Congress officially declared. The role of women in the Holocaust is the fascinating and unsettling topic that Wendy Lower investigates in her most recent book. The book.


Hitlers Furies Pdf

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read book online in pdf epub ki. Read Online or Download Hitler's Furies: German Women in the Nazi Killing Fields by Wendy Lower Book For Free. Hitler's Furies: German Women in the Nazi Killing Fields by Wendy Lower (review ) claimed not to remember what they had done. They said that they were pdf. Hitler's furies: German women in the Nazi killing fields / Wendy Lower. pages cm. ISBN (hardback) ISBN (paperback).

It seemed that no one had scoured the wartime and postwar records and memoirs with these questions in mind: Did ordinary German women participate in the Nazi mass shooting of Jews? Did German women in places such as Ukraine, Belarus, and Poland participate in the Holocaust in ways that they did not admit to after the war? In the postwar investigations in Germany, Israel, and Austria, Jewish survivors identified German women as persecutors, not only as gleeful onlookers but also as violent tormentors.

But by and large these women could not be named by the survivors, or after the war the women married and took on different names and could not be found. Though there were source limits to my inquiry, over time it became clear that the list of teachers and other female Nazi Party activists that I had found in in Ukraine was the tip of the iceberg.

One of these women was Erna Petri. I discovered her name in the summer of in the archives of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. The museum had successfully negotiated the acquisition of microfilmed copies from the files of the former East German secret police Stasi. Among the records were the interrogations and courtroom proceedings in a case against Erna and her husband, Horst Petri, who were both convicted of shooting Jews on their private estate in Nazi-occupied Poland.

In credible detail Erna Petri described the half-naked Jewish boys who whimpered as she drew her pistol. When pressed by the interrogator as to how she, a mother, could murder these children, Petri referred to the anti-Semitism of the regime and her own desire to prove herself to the men. Her misdeeds were not those of a social renegade.

Excerpt: Hitler's Furies

To me, she looked like the embodiment of the Nazi regime. Recorded cases of female killers were to a degree representative of a much bigger phenomenon that had been suppressed, overlooked, and under-researched. Given the ideological indoctrination of the young cohort of men and women who came of age in the Third Reich, their mass mobilization in the eastern campaign, and the culture of genocidal violence embedded in Nazi conquest and colonization, I deduced—as a historian, not a prosecutor—that there were plenty of women who killed Jews and other enemies of the Reich, more than had been documented during the war or prosecuted afterward.

Though the documented cases of direct killing are not numerous, they must be taken very seriously and not dismissed as anomalies. They believed that their violent deeds were justified acts of revenge meted out to enemies of the Reich; such deeds were, in their minds, expressions of loyalty.

To Erna Petri, even helpless Jewish boys fleeing from a boxcar bound for the gas chamber were not innocent; they were the ones who almost got away. It was not by chance that eastern Europe was where Nazis and their collaborators carried out mass murder. Historically, the terrain was home to the largest populations of Jews, many of whom had become, in Nazi thinking, dangerously bolshevized. Western European Jews were deported to remote areas of Poland, Belarus, Lithuania, and Latvia to be shot and gassed in broad daylight.

The history of the Holocaust is wrapped up in the Nazi imperial conquest of eastern Europe, which mobilized all Germans. The most powerful agencies, starting with the SS and police, were the main executors; these agencies were controlled by men but also staffed by women. Women who were assigned to military support positions to free up men for the front had the authority to issue orders to subordinates.

These women filled positions in the Nazi hierarchy from the very bottom to the very top. After touring the Ukrainian countryside, where she caroused with the regional German chiefs and visited the ethnic German Volksdeutsche colonies, she pondered the future of the new German Lebensraum living space in a wartime letter:. Our people immigrating here do not have an easy task, but there are many possibilities to achieve great things. The longer one spends in this immense region and recognizes the enormous opportunity for development, the more the question presents itself as to who will be carrying through these great projects in the future.

One comes to the conclusion that the foreign people [ Fremdvolk ] are not suitable for various reasons, and ultimately because in the course of the generations an admixture of blood between the controlling strata, the German element and the foreign people would occur. That would be a cardinal breach of our understanding of the need to preserve our Nordic racial inheritance and our future would then take a similar course to that of, for example, the Roman Empire.

Schroeder was in an extremely unusual place among a select few, of course; yet her words attest to the fact that secretaries in the field recognized their imperial role and that their understanding of the Nazi mission was articulated in the sort of racialist, colonialist terminology that is usually attributed to the male conquerors and governors.

As self-proclaimed superior rulers, German women in the Nazi East wielded unprecedented power over those designated subhuman ; they were given a license to abuse and even kill those who were perceived, as one secretary near Minsk said after the war, as the scum of society.

These women had proximity to power in the massive state-run machinery of destruction. They also had proximity to the crime scenes; there was no great distance between the settings of small towns, where women went about their daily routines, and the horrors of ghettos, camps, and mass executions. There was no divide between the home front and the battlefront. Women could decide on the spot to join the orgy of violence. They melded into hundreds of thousands—at least half a million—women who went east.

The sheer numbers alone establish the significance of German women in the Nazi system of genocidal warfare and imperial rule. The German Red Cross trained six hundred forty thousand women during the Nazi era, and some four hundred thousand were placed in wartime service; the majority of these were sent to the rear areas or near the battle zones in the eastern territories.

The German army trained over five hundred thousand young women in support positions—as radio operators, file-card keepers, flight recorders, and wiretappers—and two hundred thousand of these served in the East. Secretaries organized, tracked, and distributed the massive supplies necessary to keep the war machine running. In one region of annexed Poland that was a laboratory for Germanization, Nazi leaders deployed thousands of teachers.

Hundreds more—including the young teachers mentioned in the files I found in Zhytomyr—were sent to other colonial enclaves of the Reich. As agents of Nazi empire-building, these women were assigned the constructive work of the German civilizing process.

Yet the destructive and constructive practices of Nazi conquest and occupation were inseparable. Appalled by the violence of the war and the Holocaust, most female witnesses found ways to distance themselves from it and to minimize their roles as agents of a criminal regime.

These offices were responsible for the dispensation of indigenous populations, including Jews, many of whom had been placed in ghettos and forced-labor assignments managed by these German male and female bureaucrats. Often they were mothers, girlfriends, and wives who joined their sons and mates in Poland, Ukraine, Belarus, the Baltics, and Russia. Some of the worst killers were in this group. Within this mobilized mass, certain women stand out.

Multitasking secretaries were both desk murderers and sadists: Wives and lovers of SS men not only consoled their mates when they returned from their dirty work but, in some cases, also bloodied their own hands.

In Nazi thinking, rounding up and shooting Jews for several hours was hard labor, so female consolation extended beyond creating a moral sanctuary at home: Three major types of women are distinguished according to the degree of their en- gagement in the Nazi genocide: In other words, as a witness, she not only witnessed; she remained silent, kept working, and fueled the genocidal machinery. Notwithstanding the confusion her behavior caused among the comrades of her husband, she helped establish an illusion of normality amidst the abnormality.

Finally, Lower examines the female perpetrators, those women who went beyond supporting male colleagues, relatives, or bosses logistically or emo- tionally.

However, no precise number for women in this category has been established yet. Studying the interaction of the members of one unit, Browning could rely on social psychological models explaining group conformity and obedience to authority in order to give meaning to that juxtaposition.

Further inquiries into the choices German and non- German women made under Nazi terror need to explore the communica- tion and interaction between these women and their various male colleagues superiors, lovers, adversaries, competitors , possibly other German or non- German women, and the multitude of diverse victims who were united only through the terror of their male and female occupiers.

Bibliography Brown, Daniel P. The Beautiful Beast. Ventura, ca: Golden West Historical Publications. Brown, Daniel P. The Camp Women: Atglen, pa: Schiffer Military History. Browning, Christopher. Ordinary Men. New York: One former kindergarten teacher in Ukraine mentioned "that Jewish thing during the war.

She remembered that a Nazi official in a "gold-brownish uniform" had reassured them that they should not be afraid when they heard gunfire—it was "just that a few Jews were being shot.

Did they turn away, or did they want to see or do more? I read studies by pioneering historians such as Gudrun Schwarz and Elizabeth Harvey that confirmed my suspicions about the participation of German women in the Nazi East but left open questions of wider and deeper culpability. Schwarz had uncovered violent SS wives. She mentioned one in Hrubieszow, Poland, who took the pistol from her husband's hand and shot Jews during a massacre in the local cemetery.

But Schwarz provided no name for this killer.

Harvey had established that women teachers were active in Poland and that, on occasion, they visited ghettos and stole Jewish property. The scope of women's participation in the massacres in the eastern territories remained unclear, however.

It seemed that no one had scoured the wartime and postwar records and memoirs with one central question in mind: Did ordinary German women participate in the Nazi mass shooting of Jews? Did German women in places such as Ukraine, Belarus, and Poland participate in the Holocaust in ways that they did not admit to after the war?

Hitler's Furies

In the postwar investigations in Germany, Israel, and Austria, Jewish survivors identified German women as persecutors, not only as gleeful onlookers but also as violent tormentors. But by and large these women could not be named by the survivors, or after the war the women married and took on different names and could not be found.

Though there were source limits to my inquiry, over time it became clear that the list of teachers and other female Nazi Party activists that I had found in in Ukraine was the tip of the iceberg. Hundreds of thousands of German women went to the Nazi East—that is, to Poland and the western territories of what was for many years the USSR, including today's Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia—and were indeed integral parts of Hitler's machinery of destruction.

One of these women was Erna Petri. I discovered her name in the summer of in the archives of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. The museum had successfully negotiated the acquisition of microfilmed copies from the files of the former East German secret police Stasi. Among the records were the interrogations and courtroom proceedings in a case against Erna and her husband, Horst Petri, who were both convicted of shooting Jews on their private estate in Nazi-occupied Poland.

In credible detail Erna Petri described the half-naked Jewish boys who whimpered as she drew her pistol. When pressed by the interrogator as to how she, a mother, could murder these children, Petri referred to the anti-Semitism of the regime and her own desire to prove herself to the men. Her misdeeds were not those of a social renegade. To me, she looked like the embodiment of the Nazi regime. Recorded cases of female killers were to a degree representative of a much bigger phenomenon that had been suppressed, overlooked, and under-researched.

Given the ideological indoctrination of the young cohort of men and women who came of age in the Third Reich, their mass mobilization in the eastern campaign, and the culture of genocidal violence embedded in Nazi conquest and colonization, I deduced—as a historian, not a prosecutor—that there were plenty of women who killed Jews and other "enemies" of the Reich, more than had been documented during the war or prosecuted afterward.

Though the documented cases of direct killing are not numerous, they must be taken very seriously and not dismissed as anomalies.

Hitler's Furies were not marginal sociopaths. They believed that their violent deeds were justified acts of revenge meted out to enemies of the Reich; such deeds were, in their minds, expressions of loyalty.

To Erna Petri, even helpless Jewish boys fleeing from a boxcar bound for the gas chamber were not innocent; they were the ones who almost got away.

It was not by chance that eastern Europe was where Nazis and their collaborators carried out mass murder. Historically, the terrain was home to the largest populations of Jews, many of whom had become, in Nazi thinking, dangerously "bolshevized. The history of the Holocaust is wrapped up in the Nazi imperial conquest of eastern Europe, which mobilized all Germans.

In Nazi-speak, being part of the Volksgemeinschaft, or People's Community, meant participating in all the campaigns of the Reich, including the Holocaust. The most powerful agencies, starting with the SS and police, were the main executors; these agencies were controlled by men but also staffed by women. In the government hierarchies, female professionals and spouses attached themselves to men of power and in turn wielded considerable power themselves, including over the lives of the regime's most vulnerable subjects.

Women who were assigned to military support positions to free up men for the front had the authority to issue orders to subordinates. These women filled positions in the Nazi hierarchy from the very bottom to the very top.

After touring the Ukrainian countryside, where she caroused with the regional German chiefs and visited the ethnic German Volksdeutsche colonies, she pondered the future of the new German Lebensraum "living space" in a wartime letter: Our people immigrating here do not have an easy task, but there are many possibilities to achieve great things.

The longer one spends in this immense region and recognizes the enormous opportunity for development, the more the question presents itself as to who will be carrying through these great projects in the future. One comes to the conclusion that the foreign people [Fremdvolk] are not suitable for various reasons, and ultimately because in the course of the generations an admixture of blood between the controlling strata, the German element and the foreign people would occur.

That would be a cardinal breach of our understanding of the need to preserve our Nordic racial inheritance and our future would then take a similar course to that of, for example, the Roman Empire. Schroeder was in an extremely unusual place among a select few, of course; yet her words attest to the fact that secretaries in the field recognized their imperial role and that their understanding of the Nazi mission was articulated in the sort of racialist, colonialist terminology that is usually attributed to the male conquerors and governors.

As self-proclaimed superior rulers, German women in the Nazi East wielded unprecedented power over those designated "subhuman"; they were given a license to abuse and even kill those who were perceived, as one secretary near Minsk said after the war, as the scum of society. These women had proximity to power in the massive state-run machinery of destruction. They also had proximity to the crime scenes; there was no great distance between the settings of small towns, where women went about their daily routines, and the horrors of ghettos, camps, and mass executions.

There was no divide between the home front and the battlefront. Women could decide on the spot to join the orgy of violence.

Hitler's Furies were zealous administrators, robbers, tormentors, and murderers in the bloodlands. They melded into hundreds of thousands—at least half a million—women who went east. The sheer numbers alone establish the significance of German women in the Nazi system of genocidal warfare and imperial rule. The German Red Cross trained six hundred forty thousand women during the Nazi era, and some four hundred thousand were placed in wartime service; the majority of these were sent to the rear areas or near the battle zones in the eastern territories.

They worked in field hospitals of the army and Waffen-SS, on train platforms serving refreshments to soldiers and refugees, in hundreds of soldiers' homes socializing with German troops in Ukraine, Belarus, Poland, and the Baltics. The German army trained over five hundred thousand young women in support positions—as radio operators, file-card keepers, flight recorders, and wiretappers—and two hundred thousand of these served in the East.

Secretaries organized, tracked, and distributed the massive supplies necessary to keep the war machine running.

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Myriad organizations sponsored by the Nazi Party such as the National Socialist Welfare Association and Himmler's Race and Resettlement Office deployed German women and girls as social workers, racial examiners, resettlement advisors, educators, and teaching aides.

In one region of annexed Poland that was a laboratory for "Germanization," Nazi leaders deployed thousands of teachers. Hundreds more—including the young teachers mentioned in the files I found in Zhytomyr—were sent to other colonial enclaves of the Reich. As agents of Nazi empire-building, these women were assigned the constructive work of the German "civilizing" process.When pressed by the interrogator as to how she, a mother, could murder these children, Petri referred to the anti-Semitism of the regime and her own desire to prove herself to the men.

Hundreds more—including the young teachers mentioned in the files I found in Zhytomyr—were sent to other colonial enclaves of the Reich.

In the final chapter, Lower relates the fates of her subjects after the war, detailing the efforts made — or more often not made — to bring them to justice. I had seen many Nazi documents before, while comfortably ensconced in the microfilm reading room of the U. Women and Nazis: Female fascists—in Nazi Party headquarters in Kiev, in military and SS and police offices in Minsk, and in gated villas in Lublin—were not simply doing "women's work.

A mother, she took them home, fed and cared for them, then led them out into the forest and shot each one in the back of the head. After the war many women testified in court or explained in oral histories that they were just organizing things in the office or attending to the social aspects of daily life by managing the care or duties of other Germans stationed in the East.

I discovered her name in the summer of in the archives of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.