The author, Judith Buber Agassi, provides a compact disc with their names and other information.
This is what happened in the case of Herta Cohen, a Jew among the 1600, who was in Ravensbrück because she had had sex with a Dusseldorf police officer in violation of racial hygiene laws.
They did so, it seems, in part because Ravensbrück trained female guards for other camps.
A bibliography published in 2000 has almost a thousand entries; the camp became a memorial in the German Democratic Republic in 1959 and since 1993 has become part of a new, larger commemorative site.The hundreds of survivors stories in this account bear witness to the terrifying heterogeneity of Nazi crimes.Benário was the model for Die Tragende (Woman Carrying a statue of an emaciated woman carrying a comrade which stood over the East German memorial site at Ravensbrück.She makes unimaginable suffering seem almost graspable through hundreds of intimate stories.All of the hundreds of stories Helm assembles bear witness rather to the terrifying heterogeneity of Nazi crimes, and to their strangeness.One estimates that Jews constituted about 20 of a total of 132,000 prisoners; the other, after an exhaustive survey, identifies 16,331 Jewish prisoners probably a low number of whom 25 are known to have survived.They did not.) Benario was the only Jewish block leader chosen by the head guard because political prisoners were known for their organisational skills.The Nazi doctors who created wounds in the Polish experimental subjects and infected them with dirt and glass in order to test cures for gas gangrene worked at Auschwitz and used male subjects, too.
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Ravensbrück remains unknown perhaps because it is not knowable within the categories of historical analysis we apply to the Holocaust or to mass murder in general.
International pressure got her released for a time; then came the war, re-imprisonment, this time in Ravensbrück, older married woman looking for sex and finally death.
She has recovered the testimony of scores of women, many from eastern Europe, many of whom had until now been silent; she describes the Nazi medical experiments at the camp from the perspective of its terrified victims; and she recovers the history of the ancillary.
In 1938, she became, on Himmlers recommendation, head guard at Ravensbrück, a precarious position because she and her staff were not full members of the SS, which oversaw the camp.Male prisoners were sent from Sachsenhausen and built the new camp; on the first 867 women arrived, and 130,000 more would follow before Ravensbrück was liberated by the Red Army in April 1945.The truth is more complex.She irritated the commander of Ravensbrück when she made it clear to him that the laundry was only for prisoners clothes; after being transferred to Auschwitz she got on the wrong side of Rudolph Höss, the commandant there, for being too lenient and for insubordination.The first prize represents a maximum of content, narrative, the presence.She rightly says her book is the first exhaustive biography of Ravensbrück beginning at the beginning and ending at the end.In 1940, Stalin handed her over along with other heterodox German communists to Hitler.And much of what happened to women at Ravensbrück happened to women as well as men in other camps.Her 57-year-old husband was seriously injured but managed to overpower the attacker who was then arrested by police officers in Oberhausen.