Added: June 28, 2014 – Last updated: November 7, 2015


Speaker: Pascale R. Bos

Title: Sexual Violence in the Concentration Camps

Subtitle: What Popular Stories Reveal

Conference: Workshop of the International Research Group »Sexual Violence in Armed Conflict«: Constellations and Dynamics of Sexual Violence (June 13-15, 2013)

Place: Hamburg, Germany

Date: June 13, 2013 (cancelled)

Language: English

Keywords: Modern History: 20th Century | European History: German History


Link: -


Speaker: Pascale Bos, Department of Germanic Studies, University of Texas at Austin


»The subject of sexual violence has long been ignored in official historiography of the War of Annihilation and the Holocaust. Already during WWII, however, stories about rape and sexual enslavement of Jewish women by Nazi men began to circulate in newsprint, liturgy, and literature within the Jewish communities of North America and the Yishuv (pre-state Israel). After the war, they could be heard in Europe as well.
The lecture explores such narratives, when and where they first emerged, and how they compare to the historical record. These stories are shown to have played an important role in making sense of the Holocaust in the Jewish communities in which they circulated. Their particular social-political contexts matter as they affected reception and dissemination, and led to particular narratives becoming dominant while others remained unspeakable. Indeed, many of the stories had a profound symbolic impact as well as an actual silencing effect on Holocaust survivors in these communities. They were taken to be historically accurate, and hindered the exploration of actual experiences of sexual violence for decades.« (Source: Hamburger Institut für Sozialforschung)

Wikipedia: History of Europe: History of Germany / Nazi Germany | Genocide: Genocides in history / The Holocaust: Jewish women in the Holocaust, Nazi concentration camps