In recent years, historians have revealed the many ways in which German women supported National Socialism-as teachers, frontline auxiliaries, and nurses, as well as in political organizations. In mainstream culture, however, the women of the period are still predominantly depicted as the victims of a violent twentieth century whose atrocities were committed by men. They are frequently imagined as post hoc redeemers of the nation, as the "rubble women" who spiritually and literally rebuilt Germany.
This book investigates why the question of women's complicity in the Third Reich has struggled to capture the historical imagination in the same way. It explores how female authors from across the political and generational spectrum (Ingeborg Bachmann, Christa Wolf, Elisabeth Plessen, Gisela Elsner, Tanja Duckers, Jenny Erpenbeck) conceptualize the role of women in the Third Reich. As well as offering innovative re-readings of celebrated works, this book provides instructive interpretations of lesser-known texts that nonetheless enrich our understanding of German memory culture.
Katherine Stone is Assistant Professor in German Studies at the University of Warwick.