The state of analysis into the practical experience of females in concentration camps throughout the Holocaust is fraught with controversy. Because the most prolific and renowned voices of Holocaust survivors have tended to be males, such as Victor Frankl and Elie Weisel, scholars have wondered if the voice of the female survivor has been ignored. Nevertheless, some, such as renowned feminists like Hanna Arendt, have questioned this claim as possibly detracting from the general atrocities committed by the Nazis, and negating the reality that it was not males or females who had been targeted for death, but Jews. In spite of this controversy, it can be argued that considerable variations did exist amongst the experiences of male and female victims in the Nazi concentration camps.
Victor Frankl, and a lot of other male survivors reported that following the demoralization of the camps, males became individualistic, concerned only for their personal private survival. A lot of female survivors, such as Lucille E. claim that the practical experience of females was very unique. Girls in the camps tended to perform with each other, attempting to keep some semblance of the nurturing function they had held in their prior lives. Girls in the notorious female concentration camp Ravensbruck cared for 1 yet another and had a social network that incorporated holding classes in language, geography, and music. Some theater was staged, and drawing scenes of camp life was a prevalent activity as properly. In the initially handful of years of the camp, the females even published a secret newsletter.
Womens practical experience in concentration camps was also unique from that of the males due to the fact of straightforward physical variations. A lot of females who arrived at the camp had been pregnant, and pregnant Jews had been instantly gassed. Poles, Slavs, Russian, and German pregnancies had been ended by forced abortion if probable. Girls who gave birth in the camps ordinarily watched their newborns die instantly, and these that survived had been killed by the camp medical doctors or nurses.
Amenorrhea, or loss of menses, was a prevalent element of life in the camps due to the fact of the lack of meals and difficult labor. This, along with the loss of hair (a potent symbol of sexuality to Jewish females at the time) combined to make most survivors report a wrenching loss of femininity and individuality. Survivors reported that the shaven heads particularly led to an assimilation of the female identity into a single mass of naked, ugly bodies. In spite of their personal perceived lack of sexuality, females had been also victimized sexually in a way unique from males. Even though male survivors also report rape and molestation becoming prevalent, for females, sexuality was a significantly extra defining characteristic. Physical beauty could have a direct impact on survival for females in the German concentration camps, regardless of the reality that most had been emaciated and clothed in rags. Himmler, Adolf Hitlers head of the Nazi SS, even set up a brothel program, taking about twenty females from Ravensbruck for every single of the camps that housed males. These females had been applied as sexual rewards for the most worthwhile and cooperative non-Jewish male prisoners.
Interestingly, the survival price of females who had been not instantly executed was larger than that of males, although the factors for this are debated. Some theories point to the larger percentage of physique fat to muscle as a principal contributing element to their capacity to survive starvation. Ravensbruck itself was at some point liberated whilst the camp was nonetheless mainly a labor intensive facility and not an annihilation camp. But a lot of of the females survivors themselves point to a unique explanation: sheer tenacity and the capacity to nurture every single other in the face of demoralizing humiliation. Even though scholars and feminists debate irrespective of whether or not this was really correct, it is clear that females formed bonds inside the concentration camps that they believed helped them to deal with the emotional and physical torture they suffered.
Nazi concentration camp pictures are out there for for a initially hand appear at the human practical experience of the Holocaust.