Experience and Expression: Women, the Nazis, and the Holocaust

Wayne State University Press
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The many powerful accounts of the Holocaust have given rise to women’s voices, and yet few researchers have analyzed these perspectives to learn what the horrifying events meant for women in particular and how they related to them. In Experience and Expression, the authors take on this challenge, providing the first book-length gendered analysis of women and the Holocaust, a topic that is emerging as a new field of inquiry in its own right. Accessible to readers on many levels, the essays portray the experiences of women of various religious and ethnic backgrounds, and draw from the fields of English, religion, nursing, history, law, comparative literature, philosophy, French, and German. The collection explores an array of fascinating topics: rescue and resistance, the treatment of Roma and Sinti women, the fate of female forced laborers, Holocaust politics, nurses at so-called euthanasia centers, women’s experiences of food and hunger in the camps, the uses and abuses of Anne Frank, and the representations of the Holocaust in art, film, and literature in the postwar era. The introduction provides a thorough overview of the current status of research in the field, and each essay seeks to push the theoretical boundaries that shape our understanding of women’s experience and agency during the Holocaust and of the ways in which they have expressed their memories.
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About the author

Elizabeth Baer is the Raymond and Florence Sponberg Chair of Ethics and a professor of English at Gustavus Adolphus College. Myrna Goldenberg is a professor of English and the director of the NEH-funded Paul Peck Humanities Institute at Montgomery College.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Wayne State University Press
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Published on
Feb 1, 2003
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Pages
368
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ISBN
9780814338865
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Holocaust
History / Jewish
Social Science / Jewish Studies
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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The first genocide of the twentieth century, though not well known, was committed by Germans between 1904–1907 in the country we know today as Namibia, where they exterminated thousands of Herero and Nama people and subjected the surviving indigenous men, women, and children to forced labor. The perception of Africans as subhuman—lacking any kind of civilization, history, or meaningful religion—and the resulting justification for the violence against them is what author Elizabeth R. Baer refers to as the “genocidal gaze,” an attitude that was later perpetuated by the Nazis. In The Genocidal Gaze: From German Southwest Africa to the Third Reich, Baer uses the trope of the gaze to trace linkages between the genocide of the Herero and Nama and that of the victims of the Holocaust. Significantly, Baer also considers the African gaze of resistance returned by the indigenous people and their leaders upon the German imperialists. Baer explores the threads of shared ideology in the Herero and Nama genocide and the Holocaust—concepts such as racial hierarchies, lebensraum (living space), rassenschande (racial shame), and endlösung (final solution) that were deployed by German authorities in 1904 and again in the 1930s and 1940s to justify genocide. She also notes the use of shared methodology—concentration camps, death camps, intentional starvation, rape, indiscriminate killing of women and children—in both instances. While previous scholars have made these links between the Herero and Nama genocide and that of the Holocaust, Baer’s book is the first to examine literary texts that demonstrate this connection. Texts under consideration include the archive of Nama revolutionary Hendrik Witbooi; a colonial novel by German Gustav Frenssen (1906), in which the genocidal gaze conveyed an acceptance of racial annihilation; and three post-Holocaust texts—by German Uwe Timm, Ghanaian Ama Ata Aidoo, and installation artist William Kentridge of South Africa—that critique the genocidal gaze. Baer posits that writing and reading about the gaze is an act of mediation, a power dynamic that calls those who commit genocide to account for their crimes and discloses their malignant convictions. Careful reading of texts and attention to the narrative deployment of the genocidal gaze—or the resistance to it—establishes discursive similarities in books written both during colonialism and in the post-Holocaust era. The Genocidal Gaze is an original and challenging discussion of such contemporary issues as colonial practices, the Nazi concentration camp state, European and African race relations, definitions of genocide, and postcolonial theory. Moreover, Baer demonstrates the power of literary and artistic works to condone, or even promote, genocide or to soundly condemn it. Her transnational analysis provides the groundwork for future studies of links between imperialism and genocide, links among genocides, and the devastating impact of the genocidal gaze.
The diary as Anne Frank wrote it.

At last, in a new translation, this definitive edition contains entries about Anne’s burgeoning sexuality and confrontations with her mother that were cut from previous editions. Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl is among the most enduring documents of the twentieth century. Since its publication in 1947, it has been a beloved and deeply admired monument to the indestructible nature of the human spirit, read by millions of people and translated into more than fifty-five languages. Doubleday, which published the first English translation of the diary in 1952, now offers a new translation that captures Anne’s youthful spirit and restores the original material omitted by Anne’s father, Otto—approximately thirty percent of the diary. The elder Frank excised details about Anne’s emerging sexuality, and about the often-stormy relations between Anne and her mother.

Anne Frank and her family, fleeing the horrors of Nazi occupation forces, hid in the back of an Amsterdam office building for two years. This is Anne’s record of that time. She was thirteen when the family went into the “Secret Annex,” and in these pages, she grows to be a young woman and proves to be an insightful observer of human nature as well. A timeless story discovered by each new generation, The Diary of a Young Girl stands without peer. For young readers and adults, it continues to bring to life this young woman, who for a time survived the worst horrors the modern world had seen—and who remained triumphantly and heartbreakingly human throughout her ordeal.
The first genocide of the twentieth century, though not well known, was committed by Germans between 1904–1907 in the country we know today as Namibia, where they exterminated thousands of Herero and Nama people and subjected the surviving indigenous men, women, and children to forced labor. The perception of Africans as subhuman—lacking any kind of civilization, history, or meaningful religion—and the resulting justification for the violence against them is what author Elizabeth R. Baer refers to as the “genocidal gaze,” an attitude that was later perpetuated by the Nazis. In The Genocidal Gaze: From German Southwest Africa to the Third Reich, Baer uses the trope of the gaze to trace linkages between the genocide of the Herero and Nama and that of the victims of the Holocaust. Significantly, Baer also considers the African gaze of resistance returned by the indigenous people and their leaders upon the German imperialists. Baer explores the threads of shared ideology in the Herero and Nama genocide and the Holocaust—concepts such as racial hierarchies, lebensraum (living space), rassenschande (racial shame), and endlösung (final solution) that were deployed by German authorities in 1904 and again in the 1930s and 1940s to justify genocide. She also notes the use of shared methodology—concentration camps, death camps, intentional starvation, rape, indiscriminate killing of women and children—in both instances. While previous scholars have made these links between the Herero and Nama genocide and that of the Holocaust, Baer’s book is the first to examine literary texts that demonstrate this connection. Texts under consideration include the archive of Nama revolutionary Hendrik Witbooi; a colonial novel by German Gustav Frenssen (1906), in which the genocidal gaze conveyed an acceptance of racial annihilation; and three post-Holocaust texts—by German Uwe Timm, Ghanaian Ama Ata Aidoo, and installation artist William Kentridge of South Africa—that critique the genocidal gaze. Baer posits that writing and reading about the gaze is an act of mediation, a power dynamic that calls those who commit genocide to account for their crimes and discloses their malignant convictions. Careful reading of texts and attention to the narrative deployment of the genocidal gaze—or the resistance to it—establishes discursive similarities in books written both during colonialism and in the post-Holocaust era. The Genocidal Gaze is an original and challenging discussion of such contemporary issues as colonial practices, the Nazi concentration camp state, European and African race relations, definitions of genocide, and postcolonial theory. Moreover, Baer demonstrates the power of literary and artistic works to condone, or even promote, genocide or to soundly condemn it. Her transnational analysis provides the groundwork for future studies of links between imperialism and genocide, links among genocides, and the devastating impact of the genocidal gaze.
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