Monday, January 27, 2014

I want to know the story of women in the Holocaust. **Trigger Warning

On Holocaust Memorial Day, we revisit Andrea Dworkin's essay, "The Unremembered: Searching for Women at the Holocaust Memorial Museum".

 "Why isn't a raped woman the symbol of the Holocaust - and why isn't rape part of all the exhibits and all the memorials?"

"In my private heart, forever, rape began at Auschwitz; and a species of pornography--sexualized anti-Semitic propaganda--was instrumental in creating the hate."

"Genocide is different from war. In a genocide, women and children are primary targets, not accidental victims or occasional combatants. This museum, governed in its narrative choices by a courteous, inclusive politics of sensitivity to ethnic and political persecution, leaves out the story of the Nazis' hatred of women. The role of misogyny in the organized sadism of these men must be articulated: because women's lives were destroyed by careful plan; and because that sadism continues to contaminate and compromise what it means to be human. The Nazi invasion of the human body--the literal and metaphoric castration of subjugated men, the specter of the sexualized, tortured. emaciated "Jewess," mass plundered, mass murdered--is still the touchstone for an apparently depoliticized social sadism, a fetishized rapism that normalizes sexual humiliation and mass dehumanization. Sex tourism is one contemporary example--Thai women and children kept in brothels for the use of male consumers from developed countries." - Andrea Dworkin

Read the full essay, originally published in Ms. Magazine, here.

Painting: "Women of Ravensbruck." Drawing by Ravensbrück prisoner Helen Ernst. Ravensbrucker Zeichnungen. © (MRG/SBG). (Original in Historisches Museum Schwerin, Germany.)

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