In 1975, members of a woman’s peace organisation, Women for Peace, in Heilbronn, [West] Germany began to collect personal histories from women who had lived through the Nazi regime and the war in the hope that such stories would discourage German participation in the cold war. (A missile base was under construction in the area.) The group collected some thirty memoirs though it was, by its own account, ‘unable to find participants who had been active in a Nazi organisation — BDM: Bund Deutscher Mädchen (League of German Girls), NS-Frauenschaft Partei (Nazi Women’s Union), or NSDAP-National Sozialistische Arbeiter Partei (the Nazi Party).’ Nor did they find any Jewish women or survivors of sexual abuse. The following selection, ‘In the Stocks,’ was written by Cristal Banghard-Jöst, born in 1949, and expresses some of the questions to which the post-war generation of German women sought answers.
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