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< All Fellows and Scholars

Ms. Sarah Cushman

Sarah Cushman
2006-2007 Charles H. Revson Foundation Fellow

"The Women of Birkenau"

Professional Background

Ms. Sarah Cushman received a B.A. in history and education from Bowdoin College. During her fellowship at the Museum, she was a Ph.D. candidate in Holocaust history at Clark University. For her Charles H. Revson Foundation Fellowship for Archival Research, Ms. Cushman conducted research on “The Women of Birkenau.”

Ms. Cushman is the author of “Budy: Gender, Power, and Prisoner Relations” in Legacies of the Holocaust: Women and the Holocaust (Jagiellonian University Press, 2005); “Women Perpetrators in Birkenau” for the At the Interface/Probing the Boundaries Series in Perspectives on Evil and Human Wickedness (Dr. Rob Fisher, Series Editor, and Collette Balmain and Luis Drawmer, Volume Editors, 2005); and “Women Perpetrators in Birkenau” in the e-book Sixth Global Conference on Perspective on Evil and Human Wickedness (Learning Solutions, 2005). Ms. Cushman has also participated in various conferences by submitting papers, being a panel chair, guest speaker and giving introductions. She was a Steven Spielberg Fellow in Holocaust History and a Holocaust Educational Foundation Graduate Research Fellow; a recipient of the Crown Family Doctoral Research Scholarship and the Lipper Doctoral Research Scholarship; and is a member of the Phi Alpha Theta History Honors Society.

Fellowship Research

During her fellowship, Ms. Cushman examined the ways in which Nazi perceptions of femininity and the proper role of women influenced the actions of female nurses in the SS infirmary at Auschwitz. The infirmary was located directly outside the fence of the main Auschwitz camp and adjacent to the first crematorium, providing the nurses a direct view of the crematorium courtyard and main camp. The nurses ranged from helpful to dangerous. In her research Ms. Cushman explored this varying scope of resistance to cruelty amongst the nurses to grasp a fuller and more comprehensive view of the female nurses’ roles in the working of Auschwitz and the Holocaust.

Ms. Cushman was in residence at the Mandel Center from December 1, 2006 to May 31, 2007.