Resistance Reconsidered: The Women of the Political Department at Auschwitz Birkenau
Part I |
Part II |
Part III |
Part IV |
Author's Biography |
- This paper is in part the product of a collaborative workshop in which I participated at the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 1999. Entitled "Jewish Resistance at the Concentration Camps," our panel consisted of myself and scholars from the Auschwitz-Birkenau, Madjanek and Theresienstadt Museums.
- Dounia Wasserstrom, testimony from the Auschwitz Trial, April 23, 1964, in Hermann Langbein, Der Auschwitz-Prozess, Eine Dokumentation, 2 volumes (Frankfurt am Main: Verlag Neue Kritik, 1995), 421. Unfortunately Wasserstrom's testimony was not recorded and her statements at the trial itself are therefore only available through secondary sources.
- Lore Shelley, Secretaries of Death: Accounts by Former Prisoners who Worked in the Gestapo of Auschwitz (New York: Shengold Publishers, Inc., 1986), VII-IX.
- Dr. Ella Lingens in Bernd Naumann, Auschwitz: A Report on the Proceedings against Robert Karl Ludwig Mulka and Others Before the Court in Frankfurt, tr. Jean Steinberg (New York: Frederick A. Praeger, Publishers, 1966), 93.
- Terence Des Pres, The Survivor: An Anatomy of Life in the Death Camps (New York: Oxford University Press, 1976).
- Raul Hilberg, The Destruction of the European Jews, Revised and Definitive Edition, 3 volumes (New York: Holmes & Meier, 1985), 3: 1030-31.
- Yehuda Bauer, The Jewish Emergence from Powerlessness (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1979), 27. Bauer also rejects definitions which are too broad, including spiritual resistance.
- Lawrence Langer, "Redefining heroic Behaviour: The Impromptu Self and the Holocaust Experience," Lessons and Legacies: The Meaning of the Holocaust in a Changing World ed. Peter Hayes (Illinois: Northwestern University Press, 1991), 227-42. In this article, Langer shares the testimony of a survivor who "speaks of 'survival per se' as the 'ultimate resistance,' of the 'will of survival' as the 'ultimate feat,'" 235.
- Primo Levi, The Drowned and the Saved, tr. Raymond Rosenthal (New York: Summit Books, 1986), 50-57.
- Ibid., 53.
- Henryk Swiebocki, Auschwitz: Glosy z Othchlani ( Oswiecim: Panstwowe Muzeum Oswiecim-Brzezinka), 5-10.
- Langer, 232.
- Des Pres, 10.
- Henri Michel defines resistance as the maintenance of self-respect, thus a form of spiritual resistance similar to that described by Des Pres. Henri Michel, The Shadow War: European Resistance, 1939-1945, tr. Richard Barry (New York: Harper & Row, 1972).
- Maryla Rosenthal, Official Interrogation by the L.K.A. Baden-Württemberg for the "Sonderkommission der Zentrale Stelle der Landesjustizverwaltungen", March 2, 1959, in Pre-trial files of the First Frankfurt Auschwitz Trial, The Public Prosecutor's Office at the District Court of Frankfurt am Main, 4Js 444/59 (hereafter 4 Js 444/59), 4: 506-507.
- Ibid., 510.
- Ibid., 512.
- Ibid., 513.
- Ibid., 512.
- Letter from Siegfried Rosenthal to the StA Stuttgart, March 2, 1959, ibid., 516-517.
- Ibid., 20: 3183-3186.
- Interrogation from the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, March 31, 1959, in ibid., 5: 762.
- Langbein, April 4, 1959, in ibid., 812.
- Frankfurter Rundschau, April 24, 1964. Ironically, her story was indeed press fodder and became something of a legend through the gory and vivid depictions of countless press articles.
- Raja Kagan in Strafsache gegen Mulka und andere, 4Ks 2/63. First Frankfurt Auschwitz Trial, Dec. 20 1963 - August 8, 1965, Jury trial at the District Court, Frankfurt am Main (hereafter APO), July 31, 1964, tape #31A.
- It is not surprising that after the difficult task of appearing at the trial in 1964, Kagan disappeared from the public eye and wished to be left in peace by anyone seeking information on her experiences at Auschwitz. Shelley, 265.
- Raja Kagan in 4 Js 444/59, 19: 3147.
- Raja Kagan, "Frauen in der Kanzlei der Hölle," 144, in ibid., 8: 1256-57.
- Raja Kagan, Official Prosecution Interrogation, December 8, 1959, in ibid., 19: 3155.
- Ibid., 3156.
- Hans Hofmeyer in APO, March 6, 1964, tape #4A.
- Kagan, "Frauen," 208 in 4 Js 444/59, 8: 1262.
- Kagan, "Frauen," 168-70, in ibid., 1257-1258.
- Kagan, "Frauen," 208 in ibid., 1262.
- Pre-trial Interrogation of Jenny Schaner in ibid., 19: 3139.
- Jenny Schaner in Shelley, 253-255.
- Schaner in 4 Js 444/59, 19: 3136.
- Ibid., 3137.
- Swiebocki, 8.
- Primo Levi, If this is a Man, tr. Stuart Woolf (London: Abacus, 1987), 47.
© Copyright Judy Cohen, 2002.
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