Shik 2009 Abuse

Title Information

Author: Na'ama Shik

Title: Sexual Abuse of Jewish Women in Auschwitz-Birkenau

Subtitle: -

In: Brutality and Desire: War and Sexuality in Europe’s Twentieth Century

Edited by: Dagmar Herzog

Place: Basingstoke

Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan

Year: 2009

Pages: 221-246

Series: Genders and Sexualities in History

ISBN-10: 0230542530 (hbk.) – Find a Library: Wikipedia, WorldCat

ISBN-13: 9780230542532 (hbk.) – Find a Library: Wikipedia, WorldCat | ISBN-13: 9780230285637 (pbk.) – Find a Library: Wikipedia, WorldCat | ISBN-13: 9780230234291 (ebk.) – Find a Library: Wikipedia, WorldCat

Language: English

Keywords: 20th Century | German History

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Additional Information

Abstract: »Sensitively reading the testimonies written by Jewish female survivors of Auschwitz shortly after the war for what they can tell us about the use of sex as a survival strategy as well as about sexual violence in the death factory, Na'ama Shik navigates between the extremes that have previously characterized the discussion of sexual violence in Auschwitz: on the one hand, deliberate silence and denial, on the other, a kind of titillated fascination. Examining both verbal and physical sexual humiliation and violation from guards and other prisoners as well as the phenomenon of 'prostitution' in exchange for food, Shik documents the wide range of sexual abuses that occurred, including rapes, while also asking why the public knowledge of these abuses – in Europe, the United States, and Israel – disappeared from the 1960s on, as shame and guilt over the use of sex for survival was intensified, and as a mostly male-centered narrative of the Holocaust became ascendant. In some ways echoing the findings of Sommer about the fears of demasculinization experienced by male prisoners deprived of sexual outlet, Shik notes the fears of defeminization experienced by female prisoners, even as some found – in a world of horrific non-choices – that although their bodies no longer felt female or human at all, in the eyes of male prisoners with food to exchange they could still function as sexual objects, as 'a wide-open bodily site'.« (Source: Dagmar Herzog. »Introduction: War and Sexuality in Europe's Twentieth Century.« Brutality and Desire: War and Sexuality in Europe’s Twentieth Century. Edited by Dagmar Herzog. Basingstoke 2009: 10)


  Introduction (p. 221)
  Some methodological remarks (p. 224)
  Sexual abuse in Auschwitz (p. 229)
  Verbal abuse and physical humiliation (p. 229)
  Physical abuse (p. 230)
  Attempts at physical abuse by female Kapos (p. 231)
  Rape (p. 232)
  Sex in exchange for a chance at survival (p. 233)
  Conclusions: A body that is all flesh (p. 239)
  Notes (p. 241)

Wikipedia: Auschwitz concentration camp

Added: June 21, 2014 | Last updated: June 21, 2014