Kiara FlowersMr.Berner20th Century 26 February 2018Women in the HolocaustFrom 1933 to 1945, Adolf Hitler's profound hatred towards Jewish people and desire for racial purity united German Nazis to pursue one goal: the extermination the Jewish race. Referred to as the Holocaust, the Nazis systematically murdered and prosecuted 6 million Jewishpeople, an estimated 2 million of them being women. Nazi ideology did not discriminate against gender or age but rather promoted the mass murder of all Jews, putting women and their babies at risk (“Women During the Holocaust”). Moreover, the Nazis imposed their control over these Jewish women, targeting their gender identity and placing them under constant sexual vulnerability. Compared to men, Jewish women were put under a more harsh emotional and physical distress within concentration camps. They faced the possibility of sexual torture and numerous forms of gender-unique humiliation such as beatings during menstruation and pregnancy, public nudity, and body shaving (The Holocaust Through the Eyes of Women). Through the eyes of the Nazis, the existence of Jewish women had to perish to be the end all of the Jewish race. Furthermore, the Nazis feared that Jewish women--being potential mothers--would only ensure the continued creation of the race and thus prioritized their destruction (Joan O'Brien THE SALT LAKE TRIBUNE). While Jewish women possessed some advantageous skills that enhanced their ability to survive, the Nazis gender-unique brutality and dehumanization caused them a psychological suffering they couldn't have prepared for, making survival within concentration camps more difficult.
Before the Holocaust, Jewish women took on stay-at-home roles in they were solely responsible for maintaining their houses and caring for their families. They followed the traditional pattern of providing their children emotional support, keeping up with their personal hygiene and were generally excluded from the male dominated work environment. Upon taking up these domestic roles early on, Jewish women had caretaking and housekeeping assets that strengthened their ability to survive with concentration camps. For example, the women “kept their bodies and hair clean and mended their clothing..to avoid personal deterioration” (Dalia Ofer and Lenore J. Weitzman). Also, women drew on their homemaking resources by sharing food recipes with one another to prevent hunger and creating relationships inside the camps that gave them a unified sense of comfort. Although these skills helped Jewish women preserve their