Mothers, daughters, housewives, physicians, teachers, athleteswomen of all ages and backgrounds were confronted with the horrors of the Holocaust.
The Nazis subjected women, both Jewish and non-Jewish, to unique and brutal persecution. Individual camps and certain areas within concentration camps were designated specifically for women. Often, women, especially those with small children, were the first to be “selected” for gassing at killing centers.
In both camps and ghettos, women were particularly vulnerable to beatings and rape. Pregnant Jewish women often tried to conceal their pregnancies or were forced to submit to abortions.
Some women were leaders or members of ghetto resistance organizations. Others were active in camp armed resistance. Women responded to Nazi oppression in various ways. This Special Focus page highlights the feelings and actions of women during the Nazi era.
Simone Weil kept this blank identification card bearing her picture in case her cover as “Simone Werlin” were blown and she needed to establish a new false identity. Both resistance workers and sympathetic government employees provided her the necessary stamps and signatures. Such forged documents assisted Weil in her work rescuing Jewish children as a member of the relief and rescue organization Oeuvre de Secours aux Enfants (Children’s Aid Society; OSE).
See Artifacts »
Jewish Parachutists from Palestine
Women in the Third Reich
Lesbians and the Third Reich
Corrie ten Boom
Web sites focused on the experiences of women during the Holocaust
(USHMM Library’s Web Links)