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Current Projects

Her Story, My Story? Writing About Women and the Holocaust

Violated! Women in Holocaust and Genocide digital version released

Early Survivor Testimonies at Lund University

Women, Theater, and the Holocaust: Resource Handbook

Triangles: Witnesses of the Holocaust

Honoring Haviva Reick

New Home for Remember the Women Institute's Book Collection

H: An Exhibition by Gil Yefman

Remember the Women Institute's work featured in The Hidden Child

Letter to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon

Seeking Testimonies About Sexual Violence During the Holocaust

Remember the Women Institute wins Tikkun Olam award

Sexual Violence Against Jewish Women During the Holocaust

"Mielec, Poland: The Shtetl that Became a Nazi Concentration Camp," Yad Vashem Research Project

Brazilian Edition of The Jewish Women of Ravensbrück Concentration Camp

Hebrew Edition of The Jewish Women of Ravensbrück Concentration Camp

New Edition: Fiorello's Sister: Gemma La Guardia Gluck's Story

The Jewish Women of Ravensbruck Concentration Camp

Ongoing Research Project: Antisemitism and Sexism: Jewish Women Who Immigrated to Brazil


The Spring 2013 issue of The Hidden Child features an article entitled "Hidden Children and Other Victims of Sexual Abuse during the Holocaust" (PDF) The article, written by Dr. Rochelle Saidel, discusses the importance of including this aspect of the Holocaust in Holocaust history, and outlines the projects of Remember the Women Institute that are endeavoring to do so. In the same issue, a related article by Carla Lessing is entitled "Aging Child Holocaust Survivors of Sexual Abuse" (PDF).

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In connection with International Holocaust Remembrance Day, January 27, Remember the Women Institute initiated sending a letter to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, regarding sexual violence. The letter was signed by the participants at the November 2012 symposium on the subject, sponsored by the USC Shoah Foundation and Remember the Women Institute. The open letter, sent via Martin Nesirky, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General, stated:

Your Excellency:

Your participation in activities remembering the Shoah during this time has been appreciated.

In this connection, we urge you to recognize that sexual atrocities were committed during the Holocaust. Although rape and sexual violence during the Holocaust have been overlooked and trivialized for so long, they are now increasingly being documented as integral to the Holocaust.

Particularly, given the groundbreaking inclusion of gender crimes in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, and the growing international legal understanding of the role of rape in genocide, we are certain that your acknowledgment of this neglected history, now solidly documented, would be widely welcomed.

A short message from an international group of experts at a recent symposium states:

"Evidence, information, and scholarship are emerging that sexual violence, long largely ignored, was an integral part of the Holocaust in many forms. Absence of acknowledgment of this reality has harmed not only survivors, but also the understanding of and efforts to prevent genocide, and efforts to stop sexual violence in genocide, war, and every day. We hope that increasing awareness of this subject, obscured by shame and denial, will bring recognition to the victims -- many of whom did not survive -- to rectify this omission from history, and support the work of those who oppose these atrocities."

This statement, issued November 8, 2012, in Los Angeles, was signed by:

Patrice Bensimon, France
Dr. Paula David, Canada
Dr. Monika Flaschka, USA
Dr. Eva Fogelman, USA
Dr. Myrna Goldenberg, USA
Dr. Sonja Hedgepeth, USA
Karen Jungblut, USA
Dr. Dan Leshem, USA
Dr. Catharine MacKinnon, USA
Daisy Miller, USA
Jessica Neuwirth, USA
Dr. Amy Parish, USA
Dr. Andrea Peto, Hungary
Dr. John Roth, USA
Dr. Rochelle Saidel, USA and Israel
Karen Shulman, USA
Dr. Stephen Smith, USA
Dr. Elisa von Joeden-Forgey, USA
Dr. Zoe Waxman, United Kingdom

These signatories appreciate your consideration of this request.

In response, the following note was issued by the spokesperson's office.

I am writing on behalf of Mr. Martin Nesirky, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General of the United Nations. Mr. Nesirky has forwarded your e-mail below to colleagues in the Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme, who will give it due consideration.

Best regards,

Madoka Koide
Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General
United Nations Headquarters
Room: SA-1B15
Phone: +1 917 367 9584
E-mail: [email protected]

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Following the publication of Sexual Violence against Jewish Women during the Holocaust, Remember the Women Institute has been carrying out a project to identify Holocaust survivors and witnesses of sexual violence, bring together those willing to take part, and provide a forum for those who want to speak out so that their voices can be heard. Anyone with relevant information should please contact us at [email protected].

As was discussed by a distinguished group of experts at a November 2012 symposium on sexual violence during the Holocaust, it is urgent that we find witnesses to document this neglected part of Holocaust history now. The symposium was an important step forward, and we are getting ready to move to Phase Two, which is recording testimonies of those who are coming forward.

Phase One of this project has been and continues to be the identification of Holocaust survivors of sexual violence who are willing to bear witness. To this day, sexual violence during the Holocaust is a secret cloaked in shame. The publication of Sexual Violence against Jewish Women during the Holocaust (Brandeis University Press/University Press of New England, Hadassah-Brandeis Institute's Series on Jewish Women), edited by Sonja M. Hedgepeth and Rochelle G. Saidel, has broken the silence after sixty-five years. This groundbreaking anthology, with contributions from historians, social scientists, literary and film critics, and psychologists opens a window into a world that has been virtually unknown. Some victims' experiences are referenced in the book, but most survivors have neither spoken out nor come together to share their experiences. While many of the victims were murdered by the Nazis to ensure their silence, some are still living and able to testify.

The project is being coordinated by Jessica Neuwirth, an attorney who founded the international women's rights organization Equality Now and is a UN expert on sexual violence in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. She is being assisted by Karen Shulman, an education consultant with experience working on the Holocaust and in Rwanda, with a Master's degree focusing on the Holocaust and genocide. The project is under the auspices of Remember the Women Institute, directed by Dr. Rochelle G. Saidel. Phase One of the project has been carried out with generous grants from the American Jewish Committee Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights and The Ruth Turner Fund.

It is not too late for the world to hear firsthand what happened to victims of sexual violence during the Holocaust, but time is running out. Rape and sexual violence in connection with other genocides have been well documented, including those in the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Sudan. In these cases women have come forward and found solidarity in each other and those who support them. The sexual enslavement during World War II of "comfort women" by the Japanese military was exposed only fifty years after the war, and the testimony of Kim Hak Soon, then age 67, inspired more than 200 other Korean women to speak out.

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The founders of the Haiti Jewish Refugee Legacy Project, Harriet and Bill Mohr, have presented a Tikkun Olam Award to Dr. Rochelle G. Saidel for her work in the Remember the Women Institute, to highlight her efforts to raise awareness for their many readers around the world. The Mohrs started the Haiti Jewish Refugee Legacy Project on March 31, 2010, and have already had over 36,600 blog views. Read more about the endeavors of the Haiti Jewish Refugee Legacy Project and recipients of the Tikkun Olum Award. The organization is based in Menlo Park, CA.

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We are pleased to announce the November 2010 publication of
dited by Dr. Sonja M. Hedgepeth and Dr. Rochelle G. Saidel

Sexual Violence"The Holocaust horrors suffered by males and females alike have been rightly memorialized in histories and museums, but the sexual violence suffered by females has rarely been recorded. Perhaps we would have been better able to prevent the rapes in the former Yugoslavia and the Congo if we had not had to wait more than sixty years to hear the truths that are anthologized in Sexual Violence against Jewish Women during the Holocaust by Sonja Hedgepeth and Rochelle Saidel. We owe them and the authors they assembled a debt of gratitude for a well-documented warning that sexual violence is a keystone of genocide."
—Gloria Steinem, Feminist writer and organizer,
co-founder of the Women's Media Center

The Women's Media Center is featuring Sexual Violence Against Jewish Women During the Holocaust in their networking and social media.

“Challenging conventional interpretations by highlighting evidence that has been ignored, downplayed, or even silenced, Sexual Violence against Jewish Women during the Holocaust, a book as courageous as it is sensitive, significantly expands scholarship about the Holocaust’s extremity and intensifies imperatives to resist every kind of sexual abuse.”
—John K. Roth, Edward J. Sexton Professor Emeritus of Philosophy and Founding Director, Center for the Study of the Holocaust, Genocide, and Human Rights, Claremont McKenna College.

“This book touches upon a deeply troubling and too long ignored topic. The Nazis used a wide variety of means to humiliate, degrade, and torture Jews. Rape and sexual abuse were among them. Sadly, it was not only the Nazis and their allies who abused Jewish women. Jews, non-Jewish prisoners, and even liberators did as well. The editors and contributors to this volume deserve great credit for addressing this painful topic.”
—Deborah E. Lipstadt,  Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish and Holocaust Studies, Emory University

In February 2012, the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous chose Sexual Violence against Women during the Holocaust as book of the month.

 Authors Hedgepeth and Saidel
Dr. Sonja M. Hedgepeth and Dr. Rochelle G. Saidel. Photo: Jeff F. Segall

Featured in the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute's Series on Jewish Women,
written with the support of Remember the Women Institute,
with sixteen chapters by a prestigious interdisciplinary and international group of scholars.

Table of Contents
by Sonja M. Hedgepeth and Rochelle G. Saidel
Part I: Aspects of Sexual Abuse
Chapter 1: Death and the Maidens: “Prostitution,” Rape, and Sexual Slavery during World War II
by Nomi Levenkron
Chapter 2: Sexualized Violence Against Women During Nazi “Racial” Persecution
by Brigitte Halbmayr
Chapter 3: Sexual Exploitation of Women in Nazi Concentration Camp Brothels
by Robert Sommer
Chapter 4: Schillinger and the Dancer: Representing Agency and Sexual Violence in Holocaust Testimonies
by Kirsty Chatwood
Part II: Rape of Jewish Women
Chapter 5: “Only Pretty Women were Raped:” The Effect of Sexual Violence on Gender Identities in the Concentration Camps
by Monika J. Flaschka
Chapter 6: The Tragic Fate of Ukrainian Jewish Women under Nazi occupation, 1941-1944
by Anatoly Podolsky
Chapter 7: The Rape of Jewish Women During the Holocaust
by Helene J. Sinnreich
Chapter 8: Rape and Sexual Abuse in Hiding
by Zoë Waxman
Part III: Assaults on Motherhood
Chapter 9: Reproduction Under the Swastika: The Other Side of the Glorification of Motherhood
by Helga Amesberger
Chapter 10: Forced Sterilization and Abortion as Sexual Abuse
by Ellen Ben-Sefer
Part IV: Sexual Violence in Literature and Cinema
Chapter 11: Sexual Abuse in Holocaust Literature: Memoir and Fiction
by S. Lillian Kremer
Chapter 12: Stoning the Messenger: Yehiel Dinur’s House of Dolls and Piepel
by Miryam Sivan
Chapter 13: Nava Semel's And the Rat Laughed: A Tale of Sexual Violation
by Sonja Hedgepeth and Rochelle G. Saidel
Chapter 14: “Public Property:” Sexual Abuse of Women and Girls in Cinematic Memory
by Yvonne Kozlovsky-Golan
Part V: The Violated Self
Chapter 15: Sexual Abuse of Jewish Women during and after the Holocaust: A Psychological Perspective
by Eva Fogelman
Chapter 16: The Shame Is Always There
by Esther Dror and Ruth Linn
Notes on Contributors

ISBN 9781584659051 (paperback), 320 pages, $35.00
For orders and more information see


            Dr. Helga Amesberger, a social scientist, is a senior researcher at the Institute of Conflict Research in Vienna, with a focus on National Socialist persecution of women and oral history. She is the co-author of Sexualisierte Gewalt in NS-Konzentrationslagern (Sexualized Violence in National Socialist Concentration Camps).
            Dr. Ellen Ben-Sefer is a Senior Lecturer at Schoenborn Academic College of Nursing in Tel Aviv, dividing her research time between nursing research and such Holocaust-related issues as children, women, and transit camps. She has also developed a model program in Australia and Israel for teaching nursing students about relevant Holocaust issues.
            Kirsty Chatwood, an independent researcher who studies questions of gender, sexuality, rape and “resistance” in the context of genocide, has degrees from University of Alberta and University of Lethbridge in Canada. She is currently conducting research that includes studying the connections between sexual vulnerability and sex for survival in concentration camps.
            Esther Dror is a PhD candidate in the Faculty of Education at University of Haifa, Israel. Her writings include “Unraveling the Curtain of Silence: Leading to Redefinition of the Survival of Women during the Holocaust,” presented at Women and the Holocaust, the Fourth International Conference in Israel in 2007.
           Dr. Monika J. Flashka received a PhD in Modern European History from Kent State University. Her dissertation, “Race, Rape and Gender in Nazi-Occupied Territories,” analyzes the intersection of gender and racial ideology in court-martial cases of rape, attempted rape, and child abuse committed by German soldiers and non-German men in the occupied territories.
            Dr. Eva Fogelman, a psychologist in private practice in New York City, is Co-Director of Psychotherapy, Generations of the Holocaust and Related Traumas and Child Development Research, Training Institute for Mental Health. The author of Conscience and Courage: Rescuers of Jews During the Holocaust, she wrote and co-produced Breaking the Silence.  
            Dr. Brigitte Halbmayr, a social scientist and senior researcher at the Institute of Conflict Research, Vienna, focuses on racism, National Socialism, the Holocaust, and gender. She co-authored Das Privileg der Unsichtbarkeit. Rassismus unter dem Blickwinkel von Weißsein und Dominanzkultur (The Privilege of Invisibility. Racism--Being White in Dominant Culture).
            Dr. Sonja M. Hedgepeth is a full professor in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures at Middle Tennessee State University. In addition to German, she has taught extensively about the Holocaust, women's issues, and world literature. She has published a book on Else Lasker-Schüler, as well as co-edited a book on this famous German-Jewish writer.
            Dr. Yvonne Kozlovsky-Golan teaches history and cinema at University of Haifa's Department of Cinema and Television, as well as Sapir College of the Negev and Kibbutzim College in Israel. She researches the cinema's influence on viewers' knowledge of history. She is the author of “Until you are Dead”: The Death Penalty in the USA: History, Law, and Cinema.       
            Dr. S. Lillian Kremer, University Distinguished Professor, Emerita, Kansas State University is the author of Witness Through the Imagination: The Holocaust in Jewish American Literature and Women's Holocaust Writing: Memory and Imagination, the editor of Holocaust Literature: An Encyclopedia of Writers and Their Work, and the author ofmany critical essays.
            Nomi Levenkron, an Israeli attorney, headed the anti-trafficking department at the Hotline for Migrant Workers in Israel. She is currently Professional Director of “Matters” - The Law and Society Clinical Center, College of Management, Academic Studies, and Director of the Human Rights Clinic. She also teaches courses about prostitution and trafficking at Tel Aviv University.
            Prof. Ruth Linn, a former Dean of the Faculty of Education at University of Haifa, Israel, studies moral psychology and focuses on issues associated with resistance to authority. Among her four books is one about the suppressed story of Auschwitz escapees. She has been a visiting scholar at Harvard University, University of Maryland, and University of British Columbia.
            Dr. Anatoly Podolsky, a historian, is the Director of the Ukrainian Center for Holocaust Studies in Kiev, Ukraine, and a senior researcher at the Institute of Political and Ethnic Studies of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. He is the author of “A Reluctant look back: Jewry and the Holocaust in Ukraine,” as well as many published articles.      
            Dr. Rochelle G. Saidel, a political scientist, is Director of Remember the Women Institute in New York City and a senior researcher at the Center for the Study of Women and Gender, University of São Paulo, Brazil. She is the author of The Jewish Women of Ravensbrück Concentration Camp and editor of Fiorello's Sister: Gemma La Guardia Gluck's Story.                        
          Dr. Helene Sinnreich is the Director of the Center for Judaic and Holocaust Studies and Associate Professor of History at Youngstown State University. She is editor-in-chief of the Journal of Jewish Identities and Executive Director of the Ohio Council for Holocaust Education. Her research focuses on victim experience during the Holocaust.
            Dr. Miriam Sivan, originally from New York City, teaches at University of Haifa and at the Emek Yizrael College. Her book, Belonging Too Well: Portraits of Identity in Cynthia Ozick’s Fiction, was published in 2009. Her novella, City of Refuge, was adapted for the stage at a theater conference in London in 2007. She has recently completed a novel, Make  it Concrete.
            Dr. Robert Sommer received his PhD from the Institute of Cultural Studies at Humboldt University in Berlin in 2009. In 2006-2009, he organized an international conference, “Forced Prostitution and War in the 20th and the Beginning of the 21st Century,” at the Ravensbrück Memorial, and also served as scientific project supervisor there for an exhibit on camp brothels.
            Dr. Zoë Waxman is a Research Fellow in History at Royal Holloway, University of London. She is the author of Writing the Holocaust: Identity, Testimony, Representation (Oxford University Press, 2006) and articles on the Holocaust and women's Holocaust experiences.

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Mielec, Poland: The Shtetl that Became a Nazi Concentration Camp
by Rochelle G. Saidel

New from Gefen Publishing Company, 2012
$24.95, hard cover, ISBN 10: 9652295299, 240 pages

Mielec, PolandThis unprecedented book about Mielec, Poland is available for pre-orders from Gefen Publishing, as well as and other book dealers. The book's 45 visuals include rare documentation of correspondence during the Holocaust. Author Dr. Rochelle G. Saidel's research was carried out as a Research Fellow at the Yad Vashem International Institute for Holocaust Research, as well as under the auspices of Remember the Women Institute.

Mielec, Poland, is just one of many small dots on the map of the Holocaust, but its remarkable and unique history calls for closer scrutiny. Using an experimental process that was not repeated, the Nazis destroyed the Mielec Jewish community on March 9, 1942. After murdering those deemed too old or disabled to be useful, the German occupiers selected able-bodied survivors (mostly men) for slave labor and then deported the rest (4,000 mostly women, some with children) to another sector of the Generalgouvernement, the Lublin district. This process was recorded not only by the Nazis, but also by some members of the local Jewish and non-Jewish population. The visual and written documentation in this book allows us to learn about the Jewish community that had flourished in Mielec until the Holocaust, as well as the unusual way in which it was wiped out by the Nazis. In addition, testimonies and war criminal trial records describe an almost unknown brutal slave labor camp that operated on the outskirts of Mielec from before March 1942 until July 1944.

Mielec is located in the Rzeszów province in southern Poland, quite close to Tarnów (and was in the Kraków district of the Generalgouvernement). Both the Jewish community and the concentration camp of Mielec have almost vanished from history, and evidence at the site is sparse. Nevertheless, what happened there can be recounted using old and new testimonies, rare photographs and documents, survivor interviews, and archival material. With the exception of a small number of people fortunate enough to survive by running and hiding, the entire population was murdered, sent to slave labor camps, or later deported to death camps from the Lublin district.

Mielec Jewish Cemetery gatesMielec was the first town in the Generalgouvernement from which the entire Jewish population was deported in the context of the Final Solution. The Nazis' well-documented decision to deport the Jews of Mielec was made very early, in January 1942. Furthermore, after deportation to the Lublin district following an Aktion on March 9, 1942, the Mielec Jews were not murdered immediately. They were allowed to live for months under terrible circumstances in some of the small towns in that district, near Sobibór and Belzec. Ultimately these two death camps would be the final destination for Mielec’s Jews.

Another unusual aspect of the Mielec story is the labor camp that was located there. The site of the Polish National Aircraft Company (PZL), part of a Centralny Okreg Przemyslowy (Central Industrial District), was taken over by the Nazis for the manufacture of Heinkel airplanes. Later this work camp became a concentration camp, complete with tattoos and sadistic commandants. Despite these facts, histories of the Holocaust rarely mention Mielec. Today, this site is a Euro-Park industrial complex.

The rare visuals about Mielec during the Holocaust are from survivor Moshe Borger (who was given a photograph album and correspondence by a Polish neighbor after World War II), from archives (the deportation), from research trips to Mielec, and from other survivors. Very early and much more recent survivor testimonies, as well as Nazi documentation, help to tell the story. The author interviewed survivors and also found Nazi war criminal trial records. Material from the unpublished manuscript of a Mielec concentration camp survivor and from the diary and unpublished manuscript of a Mielec shtetl survivor are included, as is testimony from a Mielec resident who was one of ten women to survive the Sobibór revolt. Research was carried out in Yad Vashem, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Jewish Historical Research Institute in Warsaw, and on site in Mielec.

Remember the Women Institute gratefully acknowledges grants from the Five Miller Family Foundation, Moshe Borger, the Lucius N. Littauer Foundation, and Dr. Nancy Ordway, which made publication of this book possible

For more information, or to arrange for Dr. Saidel to present a program in connection with this new book, please contact [email protected] or 1-212-799-0887.

Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Mielec Today and Before World War II Photo Gallery 1: Pre–World War II Miele
Chapter 2: The Mielec Jewish Community under Nazi Rule
Chapter 3: The Mielec Deportation Begins: March 9, 1942 Photo Gallery 2: Mielec from September 1939 to the March 9, 1942, Deportatio
Chapter 4: Mielec Jews in the Lublin District
Chapter 5: The Many Who Were Murdered, the Few Who Escape
Chapter 6: Missing the Roundup, Running, and Hiding
Chapter 7: The Mielec Slave Labor Camp
Chapter 8: The Mielec Concentration Camp Photo Gallery 3: Exile in the Lublin District, Slave Labor in Mielec, and Mielec Today
Chapter 9: Post–World War II Nazi War Criminal Trial
Appendix: Jewish Life in Mielec: Sixteenth through Nineteenth Century

Reviews of Mielec, Poland: The Shtetl That Became a Nazi Concentration Camp

By Marcia Weiss Posner on the website of the Jewish Book Council. This review will also appear in the Fall 2012 print edition of Jewish Book World.

By Joyce Field in Shofar: A Journal of the Midwest Jewish Studies Association and Western Jewish Studies Association (provided on-line as a service by Case Western Reserve University).

By Marcia Weiss Posner in Jewish Book World Fall 5772/2012, published by the Jewish Book Council.

Mielec ClippingAgnieszka Mrozik, who is a native of Mielec, interviewed author Rochelle G. Saidel for the local newspaper, the Rzeszów edition of Gazeta Wyborcza (right). The interview appeared in March, 2012, in connection with the 70th anniversary of the March 9, 1942, deportation of the Jewish community of Mielec. The interview took place during a conference on women and the Holocaust, held in Warsaw in November 2011.Photo: Dr. Rochelle G. Saidel, left, presents a copy of her book, Mielec, Poland: The Shtetl That Became a Nazi Concentration Camp to Agnieszka Mrozik.

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A Visit with Judy Chicago
Saidel, Hedgepeth, and Chicago

Co-editors Sonja Hedgepeth and Rochelle Saidel traveled to Belen, NM to meet with feminist artist Judy Chicago and discuss how images from her Holocaust Project relate to the anthology. She has been addressing the issues of rape and sexual abuse for decades in her art and writing, and through her not-for-profit organization, Through the Flower.

Rochelle Saidel, Sonja Hedgepeth, and Judy Chicago.

Through the Flower organization

Through the Flower
welcome sign, Belen, NM

Because of the difficulty of obtaining information from the victims, and the sensitivity of the subject, sexual abuse of women during the Holocaust has not yet received the academic attention that it deserves. The two main issues that require further research are rape and forced prostitution. Regarding rape, female survivors often mention in interviews that they know that their friend was raped, but they rarely put the discussion in the first person. Furthermore, this is not a situation where researchers can look for documentation, because there generally is none. Rape has to do with the aggressor's use of power via a sexual act to humiliate and abuse the victim. If this can happen to any woman anywhere, it surely happens when women (and sometimes men) in concentration camps are considered less then human by Nazi captors endowed with the power of life and death. Laws against Rassenschande, or racial impurity, did not apply for Nazis raping their Jewish prisoners. Besides, if there were no witnesses willing to testify, Nazi guards could rape with impunity. A victim would not dare to make an accusation or she would be murdered, and a rapist, even if accused, could simply deny his actions. (The situation of Soviet troops raping women as they conquered Nazi-held territory also needs to be explored.)

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New Portuguese Edition of The Jewish Women of Ravensbrück Concentration Camp by University of São Paulo Press

Brazilian EditionNew Portuguese Edition of The Jewish Women of Ravensbrück Concentration Camp Published by University of São Paulo Press
The new Brazilian edition of The Jewish Women of Ravensbrück Concentration Camp by Dr. Rochelle G. Saidel was published by University of SãoPaulo Press in July 2009. The official launch of the book takes place in SãoPaulo, Brazil on November 9, 2009 at 7:00 p.m., in commemoration of Kristallnacht. The event is sponsored by Livraria Cultura, Congregação Israelita Paulista and University of São Paulo Press, and takes place at Livraria Cultura, Villa-Lobos Shopping Center. The event includes a commemoration of Kristallnacht, a presentation by Dr. Saidel, and a book signing.

There are a number of connections between this concentration camp and Brazil: Olga Benario Prestes was deported from Brazil to Nazi Germany in 1936, and later sent to Ravensbrück and murdered. In addition, several survivors whose stories are told in the book settled in Brazil after World War II, and a child survivor has links to Brazil through her father. Besides these specific references to Brazil, the book is of interest to readers of Portuguese throughout the world who want to learn about Ravensbrück, the Holocaust, and women's history. This is the first book in Portuguese about Ravensbrück and about women during the Holocaust.


The Jewish Women of Ravensbrück Concentration Camp (Hebrew Edition)

Book cover of The Jewish Women of Ravensbrück Concentration Camp published in Hebrew EditionOctober 31, 2007 marked the official date for the publication of the Hebrew edition of The Jewish Women of Ravensbrück Concentration Camp by Rochelle G. Saidel. The book, elegantly translated into Hebrew by Avri Fischer, is the first in Hebrew on this subject. The Ravensbrück book is published by Beyahad Publishers, the publishing division of Lohamei Hagetaot, The Ghetto Fighters' House and Museum, Israel, and distributed by Yad Vashem, the official Holocaust memorial and museum of Israel, in Jerusalem. Professor Dalia Ofer, Max and Rita Haber Professor of Holocaust and Eastern Europe Studies, Avraham Harman Institute of Contemporary Jewry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, wrote the foreword for the new Hebrew edition.

The book launch, co-sponsored by Remember the Women Institute, was a feature of the conference, Women and the Holocaust: Childhood and Youth under the Third Reich – A Gender Perspective, held October 29 -31, 2007 in Israel. The October 31 morning session inaugurating the book took place at the Ghetto Fighters' House and Museum, north of Haifa.

The publication of the book was made possible by generous grants to Lohamei Hagetaot by Lili Haber, Naomi Asai, the Crakowian Association in Israel and Moshe Borger; and to Remember the Women Institute by the Five Millers Family Foundation, the Lucius N. Littauer Foundation, and the S. H. and Helen R. Scheuer Family Foundation. For more information about the English edition of the book, please see below. For more information about the conference, please see Events.

The Jewish Women of Ravensbruck Concentration Camp (English Edition)
by Dr. Rochelle G. Saidel

The Jewish Women of Ravensbruck Concentration Camp
Imprint: Terrace Books, University of Wisconsin Press,
Paperback edition, 2006, ISBN 0-299-19864-2, with new preface, $21.95.
Hardcover, 2004, ISBN 0-299-19860-X, $29.95, 336 pp. with 63 images. ORDER FORM (requires Adobe Reader).

See information about book launch of paperback edition and reader comments.

The hardback and/or paperback edition is now available throughout Israel via Yad Vashem by phoning (02) 644-3511. Also available in Jerusalem at M. Pomeranz Bookseller, Shmuel HaNagid Street 4. Telephone (02) 623-5559. E-mail: [email protected]

And at Tamir Books, Rehov Emek Refaim, Jerusalem, as well as at selected Steimatzky bookstores.
Available in Brazil through the Livraria Cultura web site and retail store in Conjunto Nacional Av. Paulista, 2073, São Paulo, and in other cities in Brazil. São Paulo telephone (11) 3170-4033, fax (11) 3285-4457, and e-mail: [email protected]

This is the first book in English to recount the experiences of Jewish prisoners in Ravensbrück women’s concentration camp, and to incorporate the camp into Holocaust memorialization. Based on the author’s interest in the camp and its victims, as well as her personal relationships with some of the survivors, the book was envisioned when she first visited the camp memorial (then in East Germany) in 1980. It includes narratives from interviews with some sixty survivors in the United States, Israel, Canada, Europe, and Brazil, as well as unpublished testimonies and documents. Some survivors shared a poem, diary excerpt, or unpublished memoir, which are incorporated into the book. There are also sixty-three graphic images, and an extensive bibliography.

This crossover book is of interest to scholars as well as general readers of memoirs, women’s lives and history, and twentieth century and Holocaust-related history. Although it is written in a style that is engaging to general readers, it is thoroughly researched, documented, and footnoted. The book fills a gap, because the camp and the experiences of its female Jewish victims are virtually unknown to most English language readers. Even anthologies that study women during the Holocaust have either omitted the camp or included only superficial information.

Because Ravensbrück was created as a camp for female political prisoners, many of them Communists, and was located in East Germany, the Cold War interfered with information about and interest in it after World War II. Furthermore, because many prisoners were political rather than Jewish, the camp has until now been downplayed in most of the literature, historical accounts, museums, and memorials that recount Jewish Holocaust experiences. However, thousands of Jewish women were murdered by slave labor, torture, starvation, shooting, lethal injection, “medical” experiments, and gassing in this camp, which was located about 50 miles north of Berlin. Among the some 132,000 women who were in the camp, about twenty percent were Jewish. This innovative book aims at bringing to life the stories of the Jewish prisoners in the context of the camp, so that readers can better understand the despair in Ravensbrück and the ways that some of its victims managed to survive and rebuild their lives.

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Fiorello's Sister, 2007 cover

Fiorello's Sister: Gemma La Guardia Gluck's Story, The New Expanded Edition Book Published by Syracuse University Press in March 2007, with Dr. Rochelle G. Saidel as Editor. Now in its second printing!

Paperback $16.95 ISBN 978-0-8156-0861-5

Order though Syracuse University Press
See Press release
See reviewer comments about this new book.
See the New York Times comments

Fiorello's Sister: Gemma La Guardia Gluck's Story, a new expanded edition of My Story, a memoir by Gemma LaGuardia Gluck, was published by Syracuse University Press in Spring 2007. Gemma was the sister of former New York City (1933-1944) Mayor Fiorello La Guardia, and she was held as a political hostage in Ravensbrück concentration camp. Dr. Rochelle G. Saidel has edited Gluck's memoir, adding a prologue and epilogue. She also included an appendix with letters written between Gemma and Fiorello between 1945 and 1947, as well as visuals that trace Gemma's life story. The Remember the Women Institute and the Fiorello H. LaGuardia Foundation provided partial support for the publication.

Gemma La Guardia Gluck's original memoir, My Story, edited by S. L. Shneiderman and published in 1961, has long been out of print. While the focus is on Gemma's experience in Ravensbrück, it is much more than a Holocaust memoir. It begins with the great wave of immigration to the United States from Europe in the 1880s, and follows the family to army posts in Dakota Territory and Arizona. It also traces the family history of the La Guardias, including the background of Gemma and Fiorello’s Jewish mother, Irene Coen La Guardia.

Gemma and her family returned to Italy in the early twentieth century, when she was in her twenties. Fiorello went back to New York to learn a law degree and launch a political career, but Gemma remained in Europe and married a Hungarian Jewish man. Living in Budapest in 1944, she was arrested by the Nazis. In addition to her incarceration in Ravensbrück, Gemma details the often untold story of the extreme hardships of living as a displaced person in post-World War II Berlin. She also describes how her daughter and infant grandson were reunited with her as she was sent out of the concentration camp, and how the three of them struggled for two years to immigrate to the United States.

Gemma's memoir is a story of a wise and strong woman who remained optimistic and resourceful, even when life was much less than fair. For related lectures, see 2007 EVENTS. Read a summary of a lecture related to this book.

The old, 1961 edition of My Story, edited by S. L. Shneiderman (out of print)

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This ongoing project is analyzing the experiences of the Jewish immigrant women who came to São Paulo because of persecution in Europe during the German Third Reich. Using oral history interviews and written memoirs, some 25 women’s stories are included in the study.

The project’s purpose is to develop an understanding that Jewish women had to face certain issues not only because of their religion. The theoretical assumption is that within the universal suffering of all of the victims of the Holocaust and the general problems faced by all new immigrants, men’s and women's experiences were different. The study analyzes the specific issues of gender that made the female experience different from that of the male, examining both positive and negative gender-related aspects. Results of the study are projected to be published in both English and Portuguese, and will be made available to educational and cultural institutions. Interviews were done in conjunction with the Center for the Study of Women and Gender (NEMGE in Portuguese), University of São Paulo.

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