Ravensbruck: Everyday Life in a Women's Concentration Camp / Edition 1

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Attempting to reconstruct the workings of everyday life in the concentration camp at Ravensbrückthe only camp in the Nazi system designed for womenMorrison (history, Shippensburg U.) examines the prisoners' social relationships with each other and their overlords; prisoner activities, from bartering to storytelling, from political maneuvering to coping with body lice, and, of course, the kinds of forced labor performed (Ravensbrück was a labor camp, not an extermination camp); and the occurrences of sickness, death, and killing at the camp. The volume is illustrated with drawings by inmates, and photos by the SS. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A comprehensive history of the only concentration camp entirely for women, this book tells the story of Ravensbr ck from the moment when the first 867 women were transported to the camp in 1939 until the moment when most of the remaining inhabitants were forcibly marched away from it in 1945. Morrison, a professor of history at Shippensburg University, spent two years meticulously conducting research at (and helping to organize) the archives at the former concentration camp. Since the Nazis destroyed most of the camp's records, he relies heavily on memoirs and interviews to provide a comprehensive picture of the administrative hierarchy and the prisoners' daily lives. Ravensbr ck, he explains, was a labor camp rather than an extermination camp--still, tens of thousands of women died there due to the harsh conditions and the brutal treatment. He notes that although the inmates were divided into groups (designated by differently colored triangles) depending on their status as political prisoners, criminals, prostitutes, Gypsies, Jehovah's Witnesses or Jews, they worked together to better their chances of survival, by sharing food, assisting ill women and "adopting" the younger prisoners. Most important, Morrison takes issue with Daniel Jonah Goldhagen's Hitler's Willing Executioners, arguing that most of the German townspeople near the camp did not know much about it and that many of those who did treated the inmates with kindness. In contrast to survivor accounts such as Genevi ve de Gaulle Anthonioz's The Dawn of Hope: A Memoir of Ravensbr ck, Morrison's study has a detached, scholarly feeling that contrasts with the drama of what he relates. Photos and drawings by former Ravensbr ck inmates. (May) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
From The Critics
Ravensbruck was the only Nazi concentration camp that was built and operated exclusively for women prisoners. It was a labor camp located within Germany, not far from Berlin. Originally designed for indoctrination and industrial production (and mainly administered by the inmates), by war's end it had degenerated into just another overcrowded death camp with an agenda of mass extermination and the gas chamber (More than 140,000 Ravensbruck inmates did not survive the war). Jack Morrison's Ravensbruck: Everyday Life In A Women's Concentration Camp is an informative case study of how women of different nationalities and social backgrounds coped for years with a chronic lack of food and basic sanitation, illnesses, prejudices, and death. It was through asserting courage, love, and carving out their own cultural life under the harshest of conditions that the survivors overcame fear, hunger and hate. Ravensbruck is an impressive, much appreciated, highly recommended addition to Holocaust studies reading lists and library reference collections.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781558762183
  • Publisher: Wiener, Markus Publishers, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 6/1/1999
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 367
  • Sales rank: 965,196

Table of Contents

Introduction: National Socialism and Women 1
1 The Women's Camp and the SS 9
The Early Concentration Camps and Women 10
The Creation of Ravensbruck Concentration Camp 14
The SS Administration 19
The Female Overseers 23
2 Arriving 29
First Impressions 31
The Trauma of Processing 32
3 Green and Black Triangles: Criminals, Asocials & Gypsies 37
Categories 38
Criminals 40
Asocials 43
The Youth Camp 46
Gypsies 48
4 Lavender Triangles: Jehovah's Witnesses 54
Intransigence and Persecution 55
The "Volunteer" Prisoners 58
5 Yellow Triangles: Jews 61
German Anti-Semitism 62
Nazi Anti-Jewish Programs, 1933-39 64
Jewish Women at Ravensbruck 69
6 Red Triangles: Politicals 75
Communists 76
Members of Foreign Resistance Groups 81
Soviet Army Women and "Special Prisoners" 82
7 Nationalities 85
Nationality Conflicts 86
The Poles 91
The French 94
8 The Prisoner Administration 99
Block and Room Seniors 100
Other Prisoner Officials 105
The Haves and Have-Nots 106
9 The Camp Routine 109
Roll Calls and Food 110
Weekends 116
Clothing and Possessions 119
10 Friendships 124
Camp Families 125
Intimacy and Homoerotic Relationships 129
11 Little Pleasures 134
Mail 135
Parcels 140
Getting the News 141
Bartering 142
Money 144
12 The Fine Things in Life: Cultural and Educational Activities 146
Poetry 147
Paintings and Drawings 157
Handicrafts, Singing, and Storytelling 163
Educational Programs 166
13 Keeping Clean (and Other Personal Matters) 169
Lice and Delousings 170
Menstruation 173
Dysentery 174
Rape 177
14 Two Factories 179
The SS Textile Factory 181
The Siemens Factory 186
15 Work Crews 189
Administrative and Kitchen Work 191
Gardens and Farm Work 193
Internal Work Crews 195
The "Availables" 201
Prisoner Prostitutes 201
16 The Subcamps 205
Overview of a Mini-Empire 207
Life and Work in the Subcamps 210
Neubrandenburg 211
Dresden and Leipzig 213
Neustadt-Glewe and Malchow 215
German Civilians and Ravensbruck Prisoners 218
17 Crime and Punishment 223
"Minor" Punishments 224
The "Idiots' Room" 226
The Punishment Block 228
The Bunker 231
Sabotage and Escapes 233
Executions 236
18 Sickness and Health 239
Sick Call and the Infirmary 240
Extermination through Work 243
Medical Experiments 245
Typhus and Tuberculosis 249
19 The Men's Camp 252
20 Children 261
Children in the Camp 262
The 1944 Christmas Parties 267
Births in the Camp 270
The Children's Transports 273
21 The Final Winter 275
Overcrowding 276
The Tent 278
Corpses and Cremations 282
Uckermark: A Killing Place 286
The Gas Chamber 289
The Chaos of Dissolution 291
22 April 1945 295
Red Cross Transports 296
Death Marches 300
Liberation by the Red Army 305
Conclusion 307
Notes 311
Glossary and Abbreviations 342
Bibliography 345
Index 359
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