Recommended Reading on Women in the Third Reich

Discussions on the role played by and situation of women in the Third Reich not covered in the other sections. Hosted by Vikki.
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Winston Smith
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Post by Winston Smith » 30 Sep 2006 20:10

World War II German Women's Auxiliary Services By Gordon Williamson, guide to the various militry posts held by women in the German armed forced during the 3rd reich.

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ancasta
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Post by ancasta » 17 Nov 2006 19:40

If you like academic books then I recommend this:
Image

It explores the Nazi's image of women, the stereotype and the reality, and the blatant negative ambiguity of it all which still influences some Axis researches today. While officials were stopping ordinary Germans from shopping at Jewish shops, high ranking Nazi wives were buying their high fashion only from Jewish clothiers. She even quotes Magda Goebbels lamenting the demise of Jewish fashion design after the purges of the late 1930's. While women were told to stop wearing makeup and the party declared high fashion dress as decadently un-German, women's magazines were running articles on how to dress and style themselves after American actresses.

Other chapters include the expansion of female uniform design, with very interesting references to the BDM, RADwJ and armed forces Helferin and how their uniforms came about.

Her background work in the history of nationalistic pride is also worth reading and gives a nice insight into German thought in the first part of the 20th century. All together a nice all-round book which explores the German psyche, its attitude to itself at blatant odds with the official line of 'Kinder, Kirche, Kuchen'.

uhu
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Post by uhu » 28 Nov 2006 15:12

Tabea's Story was also of interest, she had quite a career on the hospital trains, Eastern Front and Europe.

Here's the review from Amazon

Book Description
TABEA'S STORY is the memoir of a World War II German army nurse. She traveled to the front lines of Russia many times on a hospital train and tells her eye witness account of the war. Tabea is a God-fearing woman whose convictions lead her to confront the Nazis. She loses the love of her life to the war. Romance, humor, a sprinkling of history and a surprise ending add zest to the book.

Peregrinus
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Post by Peregrinus » 02 Jan 2007 13:39

I find all the books that have been mentioned enlightening on Nazi chic/chicks. Magda Goebbels must not have known or heard about the House of Chanel in Paris.I never thought much of her style in anythinng she said or did. Coco Chanel kept a small atelier going during the SS occupationn of Paris. I knew her personally and had long conversations with her into the wee small hours. In her old age, she was an insomniac, because she had always been a night owl, partying and working till all hours when she was young and desirable. Her financiers were the Wertheimer Jewish family. They had a long and richly rewarding relationship with her until her death. The House of Chanel is still financed by the brilliantly astute Wertheimers. No, I don;t thiink she, anymore than Simone de Beauvoir were Nazis because they both kept quiet. True, Coco being Coco, she was always enamored of drop dead gorgeous men who happenned to also be rich and/or influential. I think that is preferable to having sex with a repulsive looking man such as Jean Paul Sartre,who deluded Simone bed and was repeatedly unfaithful. Some aristocratic fashion setters in France said Coco had an affair to remember with one of the highest ranking SS.Not all of them were monsters.I won't mention the name of this man. He was at least ten yeats younger than she. When he became ill with an incurable illness, she paid for all his medical bills .I was head of Gucci Public Relations and was in my early twenties when we met in Paris. It was unforgettable knowing and listening to her. I learned a great deal about life, love and fashion. The House is still vibrant, still creating under the genius Karl Lagerfeld and the Wertheimers are still enchanted with its success.
Highest regards,
Contessa Isabel von Fechtmann
nee Isabel Suarez Vacani

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Helmuth
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Post by Helmuth » 20 Jan 2007 07:37

A book I just read recently, though it starts April 20, 1945 to June 22, 1945. A woman in Berlin, eight weeks in the conquered city, by Anonymous. I knew it was tough, but this book really put it into perspective and didn't sugar coat it.

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ancasta
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Post by ancasta » 20 Jan 2007 15:44

I've read that Helmuth. An excellent but harrowing account by one female resident before, during and after the fall of Berlin. I highly recommend it too. Not for the feint hearted though - here is a link to a review of the book with details: http://books.guardian.co.uk/reviews/history/0,6121,1519031,00.html

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Geli
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Post by Geli » 18 Feb 2007 21:56

Here's the Amazon link:

http://www.amazon.com/Woman-Berlin-Eigh ... F8&s=books

I also noticed this new one about Winifred Wagner. I skimmed through it at the library, but have not read it cover-to-cover.

http://search.barnesandnoble.com/bookse ... 3081&itm=1

HistoriaMagistra
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Post by HistoriaMagistra » 08 Mar 2007 23:57

I'd like to advice for Massimiliano Livi: Gertrud Scholtz-Klink, Die Reichsfrauenführerin. It's a quite good book about her

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ancasta
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Post by ancasta » 31 Mar 2007 23:05

Samuel Mitcham:
Marie Vassiltchikov, The Berlin Diaries, 1940-1945. Published in 1985 and 1987. One of the best books I've ever read. By a working woman and Russian aristocrat who dated a Luftwaffe fighter ace and knew several of the 20 July conspirators.


I have just finished reading The Berlin Diaries, 1940-1945 by Marie 'Missie' Vassiltchikov. I shall expand on what Samuel wrote earlier to encourage people to look it up.

These are the absorbing wartime diaries of Marie "Missie" Vassiltchikov, a White Russian who worked in a German foreign office in Berlin from 1940-45. Idealistic, vivacious and observant, Missie was a diarist of the first order, and her book is both a detailed portrait of 1940's Berlin and a gripping account of political conspiracy. She wrote her diary in English and is very detailed throughout with occasional humour. Her accounts of the bombing raids are so descriptive you can almost imagine being there yourself, brushing off the dust. Missie was also unwittingly in the centre of the most famous plot which led to the failed assassination of Hitler at the Wolf's Lair. Towards the end of the war she became a nursing Helferin before finally fleeing the advancing Russian army, where the diary ends.

Humorous sidelines include the mysterious disappearance of official toilet paper in Goebbels offices, the Luftwaffe flak man who was caught reading English books rather than looking out for them in the skies, a selection of Berlin jokes overheard after Hess flew to Scotland and how the Berliners reacted towards the American and British wives of the European and German officers and diplomats who were openly chatting in English in overcrowded trains (you'd be surprised). It contains several other little snippets and gems which would be of interest to reenactors who would like to talk about life on the home-front. You may also find yourself suprised at what was not rationed, and how often people couldnt be bothered to get out of bed when the bombers came.

This book may also be of interest to Russian historians as she discusses the work of her mother who did her best to help Russian POW's, and her subsequent denunciation by a Count to the Gestapo. Mention of the Russian mass murder of Polish officers is also of interest as its still a political hot potato today.

To sum up I found it a fascinating insight to the daily life of Berliners after the war started, and how they dealt with the subsequent bombings and horrors it brought with it. A recommended read.

The Amazon link to it is http://www.amazon.co.uk/Berlin-Diaries-1940-45-Missie-Vassiltchikov/dp/0712665803

Annie Maccabee
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Post by Annie Maccabee » 17 May 2007 23:52

Thankl you for the information on these books, I hadn't heard of a couple of them. I'll be librarying very soon.......my thanks. Annie Maccabee

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Vikki
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Post by Vikki » 18 May 2007 05:19

Note: A second post by Annie Maccabee was removed per my advice here:
viewtopic.php?t=120472

~Vikki

ypsilon
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Post by ypsilon » 26 May 2007 17:12

Flinker wrote:And, of course, the very best autobiography by a woman ever written: "Memiors," by Leni Riefenstahl. She was certainly not an ordinary Third Reich woman, but through her story, one can see the possibilities open to women during that time, which I believe were not so in the US. It makes a fine contrast.

It is further interesting to note that Soviet women were in there contributing to their country's efforts during peace and war in just about every field, too. The female snipers with scoped Mosin Nagent rifles were particularly deadly.


It is important to note, however, the problems that so many researchers and historians have had with Leni Riefenstahl's memoirs and their representation as truth. "Leni: The Life and Work of Leni Riefenstahl" by Steven Bach (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2007) is a good example of a book that basically destroys the accuracy of Leni's memoirs. This is not to say that a memoir is meant to be taken as historical fact, but there were some pretty important events and things that had much to do with the way in which Riefenstahls presented herself after denazification. For instance, she always denied being in an early Nazi movie (I can't remember which one) but she was clearly pictured in it, stuff like that.
Her memoirs are still a good read though!

ypsilon
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Post by ypsilon » 26 May 2007 17:12

Flinker wrote:And, of course, the very best autobiography by a woman ever written: "Memiors," by Leni Riefenstahl. She was certainly not an ordinary Third Reich woman, but through her story, one can see the possibilities open to women during that time, which I believe were not so in the US. It makes a fine contrast.

It is further interesting to note that Soviet women were in there contributing to their country's efforts during peace and war in just about every field, too. The female snipers with scoped Mosin Nagent rifles were particularly deadly.


It is important to note, however, the problems that so many researchers and historians have had with Leni Riefenstahl's memoirs and their representation as truth. "Leni: The Life and Work of Leni Riefenstahl" by Steven Bach (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2007) is a good example of a book that basically destroys the accuracy of Leni's memoirs. This is not to say that a memoir is meant to be taken as historical fact, but there were some pretty important events and things that had much to do with the way in which Riefenstahls presented herself after denazification. For instance, she always denied being in an early Nazi movie (I can't remember which one) but she was clearly pictured in it, stuff like that.
Her memoirs are still a good read though!

monikqe
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Post by monikqe » 15 Aug 2007 15:39

Hello :-)

Unfortuantely we don't have in Poland so many books about women in Third Reich.

What I really recommend (all available in polish)
1. Henrietta von Schirach, Der Preis der Herrlichkeit
A very good book. Henrietta writes about her childhood, life at Baldur von Schirach side and her difficult reality after the fall of the Third Reich. She was prisoner in two camps ( the first in Tölz, the second in Göggingen) after the end of second war.

2. Traudl Junge, Melissa Müller, Bis zur letzen Stunde. Hitlers Sekretärin erzählt ihr Leben
"Der Untergang" was based on this book.

3. Christa Schroeder, Er war mein Chef. Aus dem Nachlaβ der Sekretärin von Adolf Hitler
It is also a very well-written book. After reading you will know a lot about private life of Adolf Hitler.

4. Dennis PiszkiewiczHanna Reitsch,From Nazi Test Pilot to Hitler's Bunker. The Fantastic Flights of Hanna Reitsch The author presents the career of the best test pilot in Third Reich. Hanna Reitsch was absolutely amazing person. In spite of adversities she achieved a great success as a pilot.

5. Hanna Reitsch, Flying Is My Life
An autobiography of an aviarix and glider pilot of Hitler's Luftwaffe,Hanna Reitsch.
6. Melitta Maschmann, Fazit
"Fazit" - a well-written book written by a member of Hitler-Jugend. Melita MAschmann was engaged into Germanization of Poland. She was then a very young girl who really believed in Third Reich.

7. Dorothee Schmitz-Köster, Deutsche Mutter, bist du bereit Alltag im Lebensborn

A very good book about Lebensborn.

Best regards

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Vikki
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Post by Vikki » 19 Aug 2007 22:18

I recommend Women in the Resistance by Margaret L. Rossiter. Although it's about the French Resistance, it deals with the roles played in it by women of many nationalities: French, British, Belgian, American, German, Polish, and White Russian. It covers a surprising range of women's roles in the Resistance, from clerks and messengers to saboteurs and leaders of resistance organizations. The writing is thick with details of the women's daily experiences, and reads like a good novel.

Best,
~Vikki

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