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The Jewish Women of Ravensbruck book coverThe Jewish Women of Ravensbruck Concentration Camp
by Dr. Rochelle G. Saidel
University of Wisconsin Press, April 2004, ISBN 0-299-19860-X, $29.95, 336 pp. with 63 images. Order Form



Friday November 12, 2004 - Books and Culture Section

Ruth Almog reviews Inge by Inge Joseph Bleier and David E. Gumpert (William B. Eerdman's Publishing Company, Michigan, 291 pages, $24) and The Jewish Women of Ravensbruck Concentration Camp by Rochelle G. Saidel (The University of Wisconsin Press, 278 pages, $29.95).
"What do Inge Joseph's autobiographical story and Rochelle G. Saidel's study on the Ravensbruck concentration camp for women have in common? Time and gender. Saidel's book, which is the candidate for an important prize in the United States, brings to light for the first time the stories of the Jewish women who were imprisoned in Ravensbruck. ..." —Ruth Almog. Read the full review.

Women’s Review of Books
Special Issue on Women, War, and Peace – September 2004
"Memory and survival" by Rochelle G. Ruthchild reviews After Such Knowledge: Memory, History, and the Legacy of the Holocaust by Eva Hoffman (New York: Public Affairs, 2004, 301 pp., $25.00 hardcover) and The Jewish Women of Ravensbrück Concentration Camp by Rochelle G. Saidel. Read the full review.

The Judaic Studies Shelf
A review from MBR (Midwest Book Review)

The Jewish Women Of Ravensbruck Concentration Camp by Rochelle G. Saidel (Founder and Director of the Remember the Women Institute in New York and Senior Scientific Research at the Center for the Study of Women and Gender, University of Sao Paulo) is an impressive and seminal contribution to the growing library of Holocaust Studies with its focus upon the fate of Jewish women imprisoned in the infamous Nazi concentration camp of Ravensbruck which was located about 50 miles north of Berlin. Originally designed for 5,000 women, it held six times this number and was the site for the Nazi's methodical program of extermination through slave labor, torture, starvation, shooting, lethal injection, medical experimentation, and gassing. Between 1939 and 1945, some 132, 000 women from twenty- three countries were imprisoned and in addition to the Jews, also included political prisoners, Jehovah's Witnesses, gypsies, prostitutes, lesbians, criminals, and prisoners of war. Only 15,000 women survived by the end of the war (3,000 of them in the camp itself when it was overrun by the Soviet Army on April 30, 1945 -- the rest had been taken to Sweden by the Red Cross, while the remaining women survived a last ditch "death march" by the Nazi's fleeing the advancing Russian troops). Drawing upon interviews and unpublished testimonies from more than sixty survivors in the United States, Israel, Europe, Brazil, and Canada -- as well as documents, oral histories, and historic photography, The Jewish Women Of Ravensbruck Concentration Camp is a memorable and informative compilation of collective and individual portraits of these women and the suffering they endured. Very Highly Recommended.

"Nazi Cruelty To Women," review by Tim Boxer of 15 Minutes Magazine

"ROCHELLE SAIDEL, senior scientific researcher at the Center for the Study of Women and Gender at the University of Sao Paulo, has quite an absorbing book about The Jewish Women of Ravensbrück Concentration Camp (Terrace Books/University of Wisconsin Press, 336 pages, $20.37) available at

Fifty miles north of Berlin, Ravensbrück was the only major concentration camp for women where everyday life consisted of murder by slave labor, torture, starvation, lethal injection, medical experimentation, shooting and gassing.

Saidel draws on personal interviews with survivors as well as documents and photos to produce a vivid but horrific study of what women endured at the hands of the Nazi beast." Tim Boxer

"Telling Her Story," review by Eetta Prince-Gibson of The Jerusalem Post, April 16, 2004.
"Gendered aspects of the Holocaust have been a subject of research only since the 1980s. Until then, with the notable exception of Anne Frank's diary and the work of historian Lucy Dawidowicz, men - including venerable figures such as Eli Weisel, Andre Schwatzbard, Primo Levi, and Yehuda Bauer - have been the predominant voices in Holocaust literature. ... " Read the full review


“Thanks to Rochelle Saidel's sensitive interviews and meticulous research, together with the many previously unpublished photographs and haunting drawings by the inmates, this book will increase public recognition of Ravensbrück's victims and survivors….With this, The Jewish Women of Ravensbrück Concentration Camp takes its honorable place in the growing genre of gender study of the Holocaust.”
Eetta Prince-Gibson, The Jerusalem Post

“This book is the outcome of over twenty years of indefatigable research in archives and libraries, and of interviews in several countries with survivors of Ravensbrück. Saidel presents their deeply moving stories against a carefully constructed context of the camp's history....This book is clearly a labor of deep commitment and love.”
Ruth Schwertfeger, author of Women of Theresienstadt and The Wee Wild One

“This is a welcome addition to the Holocaust literature….The histories of these Jewish survivors are very moving….Readers interested in visual historical materials will appreciate the wide range of photographs and illustrations depicting life in this camp. I expect this book to attract a wide audience.”
Nechama Tec, author of Resilience and Courage: Women, Men, and the Holocaust

“The author has graphically reconstructed the workings of everyday life in this camp….Saidel has created a work that is essential to understanding these women’s determination to survive. Her writing is objective and controlled in recounting one of the darkest episodes in history. Without this book, these victims’ voices might be forgotten.”
George Cohen, ForeWord


The Remember the Women Institute welcomes reviews of books pertaining to women and history for our on-line library. Please contact Dr. Rochelle G. Saidel with your inquiries.

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