Review: Hitler’s Furies

Hitler’s Furies: German Women in the Nazi Killing Fields – Wendy Lower

9780547863382; LINKcatHitler's Furies

Descriptions of Nazi atrocities are often rife with male figures.  While women, like Ilse Koch or various employees of the Ravensbrück concentration camp, occasionally show up in mainstream historical narratives, they are rarely featured with the same level of scrutiny as Nazi men.  Wendy Lower’s Hitler’s Furies provides a compelling argument that we ignore women witnesses, accomplices, and perpetrators of genocide at our own peril.  Focusing not on well-known names or sadistic camp guards but on teachers, nurses, secretaries, and wives, Lower demonstrates that the Nazi regime required women to function: as educators of German children, typists of death orders, and assistants to euthanasia.  The book features the photographs and stories of thirteen specific women, under whose watch one of the greatest crimes of the 20th century was committed and details the difficulty in bringing them to justice after the war’s end.  Hitler’s Furies is not a book for the faint of heart, but history buffs interested in the Holocaust will find a groundbreaking new narrative to enjoy.

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