Added: September 5, 2015 – Last updated: September 5, 2015


Author: Beverley Chalmers

Title: Jewish women's sexual behaviour and sexualized abuse during the Nazi era

Subtitle: -

Journal: The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality

Volume: 24

Issue: 2

Year: August 2015

Pages: 184-196

ISSN: 1188-4517 – Find a Library: WordCat | eISSN: 2291-7063 – Find a Library: WordCat

Language: English

Keywords: 20th Century | German History


Link: EBSCOhost (Restricted Access)

Link: Project MUSE (Restricted Access)

Link: University of Toronto Press (Restricted Access)


Author: Beverley Chalmers, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Ottawa

Abstract: »Consideration of Jewish women's lives and experiences during the Holocaust became a priority only late in the 20th century. Scholars focused on women's roles as homemakers, wives, breadwinners, supporters and resistors, with little, if any, attention paid to their reproductive or sexual lives. Many considered that the Rassenschande laws shielded Jewish women from the worst horrors of rape and sexual abuse leading to little investigation of this issue. Women were reluctant to speak of such intimate events, and researchers were hesitant to ask about them for fear of causing further hurt. Concern for the sensationalizing of women's experiences also inhibited investigation of this aspect of women's lives. Significant acts of emotional, sexual and physical abuse of women, were, however, perpetrated by the Nazis and others against men and women, Jews and non-Jews, including humiliating nudity, rape and physical abuse. This article focuses on Jewish women's sexual experiences as expressed in diaries, memoirs and testimonies. It explores the variety of interactions that occurred, ranging from loving relationships that emerged despite extremely difficult living conditions, to sexualized humiliation, sexual exchange, rape and sexually related brutality. Recognizing the extent of women's adverse sexual experiences, and their aftermath, acknowledges their lives and honours their experiences.« (Source: Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality)


  Introduction (p. 184)
    Methods of study (p. 184)
  The Backdrop to the Holocaust: Sexuality in Germany (p. 185)
    The Weimar years (p. 185)
    Degenerate and healthy sexuality (p. 185)
    Brothels (p. 186)
    Nazi ideology demonizing the licentious Jew (p. 186)
  Jewish Women's Sexual or Sexually Related Experiences (p. 187)
    Love and marriage in ghettos (p. 187)
    Sexuality and love in partisan groups (p. 187)
    Sexual behaviour in forced labour camps (p. 187)
    Love and sexual behaviour in concentration camps (p. 187)
    Sexual exchange for food or survival (p. 188)
    Gay and lesbian love (p. 189)
  Emotional Abuse Through Sexualized Humiliation (p. 189)
    Shaving of bodily hair (p. 189)
    Forced nakedness (p. 189)
    Clothing (p. 190)
    Bodily functions (p. 190)
  Sexual Abuse: Rape (p. 190)
    Rape in ghettos (p. 191)
    Rape of women in hiding (p. 191)
    Rape by the Einstazgruppen (p. 191)
    Rape in occupied Europe (p. 191)
    Rape in labour camps (p. 191)
    Rape in concentration camps (p. 192)
    Sexual abuse of men (p. 192)
  Physical Abuse: Sexual Brutality (p. 192)
    Sexual brutallity in ghettos (p. 192)
    Sexual brutality in towns and villages (p. 193)
    Sexual brutality perpetrated by soldiers (p. 193)
    Sexual brutality in prisons (p. 193)
    Sexual brutality in concentration and labour camps (p. 193)
    Notable individuals (p. 193)
    Notorious women (p. 193)
    Sexual brutality directed toward homosexuals (p. 193)
    Sexual satisfaction through cruelty (p. 194)
  Gender and Sex Related Crime During the Holocaust (p. 194)
  Conclusion (p. 194)
  References (p. 195)

Wikipedia: Jewish women in the Holocaust