Wednesday, February 04, 2009

More on 'The Reader'.

Must admit that I've always swallowed the Nazi propaganda that their evil deeds were all carried out by men. (Except for Helga on Hello Hello of course). This widespread belief has been debunked by a book published this week in Germany, Female Perpetrators; Women under National Socialism. The only reason an article about this book in today's Telegraph caught my eye was that I went to see 'The Reader' last night. The author, Kathrin Kompisch informs us that the women were every bit as bad as the men.

We're used to watching films about the Nazis in which women are portrayed as the fairer sex, all gentle wives and mothers, with Hitler awarding them gold crosses for staying at home to look after the children. The author says "the participation of women in the crimes of the Nazis has been blended out of the collective conscious of the Germans for a long time". And she adds that the truth is very different. Women assisted doctors who murdered and sterilised disabled people. They were guards in concentration camps. Karin Magnussen worked alongside Mengele at Auschwitz, experimenting on eyeballs removed from living people. They may not have been allowed to rise to positions of national leadership, but they were encouraged to enforce terror at grassroots level. More than 3000 women served in concentration camps. I read lots of stuff about women being in some way different in their approach to politics, (and war is only an extension). Never been convinced that this is true. I think of myself as a genuine feminist, believing that women are as capable as men in all fields - and there is no reason why this should exclude evil.

4 comments:

Matt said...

I'm glad you pointed out that last bit Glyn, for a second there I rolled my eyes. Women are no different in their approach to politics, in theory at least, conditioning maybe encourages a difference, but that rules out generalisations about an 'approach to politics'.

Anyway, thanks for your blog, I've been enjoying reading it.

Valleys Mam said...

we may be capable Glyn .but we sure aint allowed to have a level playing field.
Its still very much a mans world.
many men and women didn't have a choice about where they served under Hitler and his henchmen.And of course there would have been evil women Just look at Myra Hindley , Rose West etc

Glyn Davies said...

VM - I do think you are right. And its difficult to legislate to change attitude. The post only occured to me because of the coincidence of watching the film one day, and reading the article in the Telegrapg the next.

Jeff Jones said...

All the evidence suggests that more women voters voted for the Nazis than men. Just look at the news reel pictures of Hitler's adoring female fans. There is also clear evidence that women voters in the 20th century were more likely in most European countries to vote for right than left wing political parties.