"How did "ordinary women," like their male counterparts, become capable of brutal violence during the Holocaust? Cultural historian Elissa Mailänder examines the daily work of twenty-eight women employed by the SS to oversee prisoners in the concentration and extermination camp Majdanek/Lublin in Poland. Many female SS overseers in Majdanek perpetrated violence and terrorized prisoners not only when ordered to do so but also on their own initiative. The social order of the concentration camp, combined with individual propensities, shaped a microcosm in which violence became endemic to workaday life. The author's analysis of Nazi records, court testimony, memoirs, and film interviews illuminates the guards' social backgrounds, careers, and motives as well as their day-to-day behavior during free time and on the "job," as they supervised prisoners on work detail and in the cell blocks, conducted roll calls, and "selected" girls and women for death in the gas chambers. Scrutinizing interactions and conflicts among female guards, relations with male colleagues and superiors, and internal hierarchies, Female SS Guards and Workaday Violence shows how work routines, pressure to "resolve problems," material gratification, and Nazi propaganda stressing guards' roles in "creating a new order" heightened female overseers' identification with Nazi policies and radicalized their behavior."--Jacket.
Female SS guards and workaday violence : the Majdanek Concentration Camp, 1942-1944 / by Elissa Mailänder translated by Patricia Szobar.
East Lansing, Michigan : Michigan State University Press
Methodological and theoretical considerations -- The Majdanek Concentration and Death Camp : an overview -- Women looking for work : paths to careers in the concentration camps -- Ravensbrück Training Camp : the concentration camp as disciplinary space -- Going East : transfer to the Majdanek Concentration and Extermination Camp, 1942-1944 -- Work conditions at Majdanek -- Annihilation as work : the daily work of killing in the camp -- Escapes and their meaning within the structure of power and violence in the camp -- License to kill? Unauthorized actions by the camp guards -- Violence as social practice -- Cruelty : an anthropological perspective -- Conclusion.