Sisters in Sorrow: Voices of Care in the Holocaust / Edition 1

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Sisters in Sorrow: Voices of Care in the Holocaust gives voice to women who took care of the sick in the camps of Nazi Germany, which had, contrary to any voice of reason, been constructed for the sole purpose of human extermination. For some individuals, however, like the women whose stories are recounted in this book, there remained glimmers of hope. Those who were capable and willing were sometimes able to help others live, thereby retaining a measure of value in their own lives as well as contributing to their fellow prisoners. To this collection of memoirs Roger A. Ritvo and Diane M. Plotkin have added important historical background, giving context to the stories.
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Editorial Reviews

New England Journal of Medicine
Through the stories that these women tell, we witness heroism in the simplest acts of kindness and healing. Healing itself becomes an act of resistance to horror and human degradation. This is part of the story of resistance, for these women are victims who do not become victimizers or mired in grief and despair. In the simplicity of their medical narratives, an exalting testimony is given.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This muddled examination of women's experiences in the Holocaust bases itself upon the psychologist Carol Gilligan's view that "women not only define themselves in a context of human relationship but also judge themselves in terms of their ability to care"but it fails to make a convincing case that women experienced the Holocaust differently than men. After a fascinating first chapter titled "Medical Paradox" that touches on some of the issues that doctors and nurses in the camps and ghettos faced, the book tells its story through the voices of the women themselves. Readers who make their way through a narrative that was questionably cobbled togethereach chapter is a first-person account that the authors wove together out of multiple interviews with a subjectwill learn more about the harrowing texture of everyday life during the attempted Nazi genocide of the Jews. In at least one camp, for example, doctors simply performed an abortion on every woman who came in pregnant. The ingenuity of some of the female physicians and nurses recorded here is impressive, but the book all too often veers away from the experiences of female "caregivers" to detail camp and ghetto experiences that are similar to what has been written about before. This book hints at an interesting subject that deserves more thorough treatment. 14 b&w photos. (June)
Library Journal
In the Nazi labor and death camps, Jewish women health workers were used to provide rudimentary medical care. The contradictions of their labors were all too apparent: people they might save from death still faced death. Yet camp inmates knew that if they couldn't work they would be put to death immediately, and the health workers did what they could to tend wounds, ward off epidemics, and, surreptitiously if grimly, abort fetuses so that the mothers might live. The health workers often functioned without the basic implements of medical care, deceiving their Nazi overseers whenever possible to get supplies. Compiled by Ritvo (Auburn Univ.) and Plotkin (Brookhaven Coll.), this important book lends an immediacy to this story by offering individual testimonies from these courageous people. It helps fill the gap in books on women in the Holocaust and is accessible to lay readers. Recommended for larger Holocaust study collections.Paul M. Kaplan, Lake Villa Dist., Lib., IL
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780890969700
  • Publisher: Texas A&M University Press
  • Publication date: 1/1/1998
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 314
  • Product dimensions: 6.17 (w) x 9.27 (h) x 0.98 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Ch. 1 Introduction 3
Ch. 2 Women Trapped within a Medical Paradox 9
Ch. 3 I Was a Nurse in Theresienstadt 23
Ch. 4 If Anyone Here Mentions Humane Treatment 50
Ch. 5 The Only Medicine Was Charcoal 62
Ch. 6 I Don't Know What This All Means 97
Ch. 7 Dear Trudy, Dear Rudy 107
Ch. 8 Hell and Rebirth - My Experiences during the Time of Persecution 129
Ch. 9 They Were Murdered in the Infirmary 158
Ch. 10 People Didn't Go Willingly 174
Ch. 11 Don't Be Afraid, Child 187
Ch. 12 God Saved Me for a Purpose 197
Ch. 13 My Sorrow Is Continuously Before Me 237
Ch. 14 Rebel through Recollection 245
Ch. 15 Conclusion: Beyond the Paradox 249
App. A Women Prisoners at KL Mauthausen 253
App. B Mushroom Sausage Experiments 256
Notes 259
Bibliography 287
Index 295
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