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RA #1

Although many believe the mistreatment of Jews in the Holocaust fell equally between men and women, rape and prostitution were more prominent for females during the genocide of the Holocaust, causing greater pain and suffering as a Jewish woman. “Rape involves subjugation and humiliation of a vulnerable victim. In all cases, women were doubly defiled – as females, and as members of a perceived lower class of human beings.” [1] Years later the Nazis had a law banning sexual relations between Jews and Germans, but that did not protect all Jewish women from the poor treatment they received. [2] The injustice of women during the Holocaust caused more agony in the lives of Jewish women than Jewish men, creating an image that were less than nothing.

RA #2

Eda Lichtman is sharing her testimony as she was a Holocaust survivor. She shared her testimony in 1965 at the Ghetto Fighter’s House in Germany in 1965. As she states at the very beginning of her testimony, this is “dedicated to the organizers of the revolt at Sobibór and to all those who took part in it and to the memory of the hundreds of thousands of victims of Sobibór.” [3] This source serves a purpose of Eda Lichtman getting her story out in the world. She wants to bring a voice to the voiceless, and to those who went through experiences similar to hers. The source was written in 1965, and translated in 2005. It was read as soon as it was published in 1965 by those who could read German, and in 2005 by those who could read English. The author went through a horrific time in her life during the Holocaust, and as she is writing to other Holocaust survivors, those who did not survive but deserve for their voice to have been heard, and those who are interested in this historical event, her background, race, gender and socioeconomic class play a big part to those she is writing to. This source implies the reader knows about the Holocaust and the mistreatment of Jews, and Eda Lichtman shares part of her story in camps and as a runaway Jew.

[1] Sonja Hedgepeth, Rochelle Saidel, Shattering Shame and Silence,” Jerusalem Post, January 2011, http://search.proquest.com/newsstand/docview/848530620/FD8329EFAFBC4C6DPQ/6?accountid=14902 (accessed March 20, 2017).

[2] Jerusalem Post, January 2011.

[3] From Mielec to Sobibór (2005) (testimony of Eda Lichtman). Web. http://www.theverylongview.com/WATH/ (accessed March 20, 2017).

Geographic Focus: Germany and Eastern Europe.

Search Terms: Holocaust*, Genocide*, Rape*, Women’s Mistreatment*.

Questions:

  1. Why did Eda Lichtman’s testimony take so long to get translated into English? She shared her story in 1979 so why did it take until 2005 to get heard by others?
  2. With Eda Lichtman sharing her testimony 20 years later, did she have fear she would get in trouble in anyway with the information she shared?

RA #4

Rape, human trafficking and the mistreatment of women have been prominent issues for over many decades. The inferiority women face today, and have been facing for many years, causes harm on their self-worth and pride. One of the worst genocides in all of history, the Holocaust, was one of the many events that wrongly justified the poor treatment of these Jewish women. The events depicted throughout the Holocaust carried on through time to today as seen by the gross percentages of human trafficking and the growth of this unlawful act. This problem persists today and is a contemporary issue European countries still struggle to abolish.

The Holocaust took millions of lives with few survivors left today. Although many believe the mistreatment of Jews in the Holocaust fell equally between men and women, rape and prostitution were more prominent for females during the genocide of the Holocaust, causing greater pain and suffering as a Jewish woman. “Rape involves subjugation and humiliation of a vulnerable victim.” In all cases, women were doubly defiled – as females, and as members of a perceived lower class of human beings.” [1] Years later the Nazis had a law banning sexual relations between Jews and Germans, but that did not protect all Jewish women from the poor treatment they received. [2] The injustice of women during the Holocaust caused more agony in the lives of Jewish women than Jewish men, creating an image that were less than nothing.

Pearl Gottesmann, a Holocaust survivor, reflected on her darkest days in Auschwitz towards the end of the war. Her testimony sheds light upon a time when rape was apparent in these camps, as she witnessed second hand. Gottesmann “associated being raped with prettiness” and felt as though the Jewish women with pretty hair showed more attractiveness to the soldiers (76). [1] The women’s identity was challenged as soon as they entered those camps. “Upon entry into the camp, their heads were shaved, they were given formless clothing, and starvation frequently caused cessation of menstruation and loss of body weight, including in the breasts and the hips, two regions stereotypically associated with femininity and attractiveness (80). Due to the stripping of women’s identities, this reflects on the poor mistreatment they faced throughout the Holocaust. As soon as a soldier noticed a pretty woman that had physical characteristics to their liking, they believed they had the right to violate their bodies for the soldier’s pleasure only.

Many Holocaust survivors want to get their story out to the world and educate others of the Holocaust and the horrible things it caused. Eda Lichtman, another Holocaust survivor, shared her testimony in 1965 at the Ghetto Fighter’s House in Germany in 1965. As she states at the very beginning of her testimony, this is “dedicated to the organizers of the revolt at Sobibór and to all those who took part in it and to the memory of the hundreds of thousands of victims of Sobibór.” [3] As Lichtman shared her story, there were parts of her past that she kept to herself. She was not extremely specific in the happenings of her time in the camps during the Holocaust. As if a Jewish being trapped in a camp full of hunger and suffering already caused enough pain, a Jewish woman in the camp was treated ever worse. Eda Lichtman had a job of bringing “flowers to the clubhouse to decorate the tables.” [3] The soldiers expected female Jews to act like servants as well as their sex objects.

As horrible and upsetting the mistreatment of women in the Holocaust, in most cases rape, the issues is still prominent today. The bigger issue has to deal with human trafficking and the illegal acts that go along with it. Like many countries in Europe, Croatia, Serbia and Bosnia, have been fighting human trafficking and looking for plans to stop the horrible act. “The head of the Office for Human Rights and national coordinator for the prevention of human trafficking, Luka Madjeric, says that 17 victims of human trafficking were identified in Croatia in 2004 and that they were from South-East Europe.” [4] The number of women and children sold that have passed through Serbia is estimated to be about 10,000-100,000. Many organizations have been created with the purpose of stopping human trafficking that has been on the rise globally. “Victims come from Moldova, Ukraine, Romania, Bulgaria, Russia, Belarus and Albania, they are resold not only in neighboring countries but also in The Netherlands, Italy, Germany and Cyprus.” [1] With many cases reported, human trafficking is one of Europe’s greatest issues that is being fought to find an end to. [4]

Conclusion

[1] Sonja Hedgepeth, Rochelle Saidel, Shattering Shame and Silence,” Jerusalem Post, January 2011, http://search.proquest.com/newsstand/docview/848530620/FD8329EFAFBC4C6DPQ/6?accountid=14902 (accessed March 20, 2017).

[2] Jerusalem Post, January 2011.

[3] From Mielec to Sobibór (2005) (testimony of Eda Lichtman). Web. http://www.theverylongview.com/WATH/ (accessed March 20, 2017).

[4] “Human Trafficking Growing in Croatia, Serbia, Bosina”, BBC Monitoring Europe. November 14, 2004. search.proquest.com/newsstand/docview/459519966/18CC0C19A6524185PQ/1?accountid=14902 (accessed January 15th)

[5] Alexis A. Aronowitz, Human Trafficking, Human Misery: The Global trade in Human Beings. (Westport, Connecticut: Praeger Publishers, 1956-), Book.

[6] Di Nicola, Andrea, et al. Prostitution and Human Trafficking: Focus on Clients. New York: Springer, 2009.

[7] Louise I. Shelley. Human Trafficking: Global Perspective. United Kingdom, Cambridge University Press, 2010.