Women’s Experiences During the Holocaust HTML version

Women’s Experiences During the Holocaust –
New Books in Print
Dalia Ofer and Lenore Weitzman, eds., Women in the Holocaust, New Haven:
Yale University Press, 1998, VII + 402 pp.; Judith Tydor Baumel, Double
Jeopardy: Gender and the Holocaust, London: Vallentine Mitchell, 1998, XIX,
292 pp.
Reviewed by
Rochelle G. Saidel
In 1999, for the first time in twenty-nine years of conferences, the Annual
Scholars’ Conference on the Holocaust and the Churches presented a plenary
on women and the Holocaust. As co-chairs of this plenary, Dr. Myrna
Goldenberg and I decided to feature recent scholarly books on the subject
and to entitle the session “Women’s Holocaust History: Books in Print.” The
occasion was historic beyond the fact that the subject was deemed important
enough for a plenary, because, by early 1999, a core of “books in print” had
made possible a session with such a title.
While some women’s diaries and first-hand accounts have been available in
English since the late 1940s and 1950s,1 in 1998 there was an unprecedented
crop of more analytical publications; and even more began to appear in 1999.
Two out of the three finalists for the 1998 National Jewish Book Awards in the
Holocaust category were about women and gender: Between Dignity and
Despair by Marion A. Kaplan2; and Women in the Holocaust, edited by Dalia
Ofer and Lenore J. Weitzman. The Ofer-Weitzman book and another by
For example, Mary Berg, Warsaw Ghetto: A Diary (New York: L.B. Fischer,1945); Kitty Hart,
I Am Alive (London: Abelard-Schumann, 1946); Olga Lengyel, Five Chimneys: The Story of
Auschwitz (Chicago: Ziff-Davis, 1947); Gisella Perl, I Was A Doctor At Auschwitz (New York:
International Universities Press, 1948); Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl (first published
in English in 1952) which was most recently published as The Diary of a Young Girl: The
Definitive Edition (New York: Doubleday, 1995), and Gerda Weissman Klein, All But My Life
(New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1957), republished in 1992.
Marion A. Kaplan, Between Dignity and Despair: Jewish Life in Nazi Germany (New York:
Oxford University Press, 1998).
Shoah Resource Center, The International School for Holocaust Studies