Ravensbrück Concentration Camp and Rescue in Sweden

  • Rochelle G. Saidel
Chapter

Abstract

This paper documents the experiences of some of the Jewish women who suffered in Ravensbrück women’s concentration camp, the only major concentration camp that the Nazis established for women. Part of a larger study of Jewish women at the camp that includes survivor testimonies, unpublished memoirs and archival material, the focus here is on Jewish survivors who were brought to Sweden from the camp and its satellites by the Red Cross toward the end of World War II.

Keywords

Europe Steam Tuberculosis Assure Straw 

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Notes

  1. 3.
    Kati Marlon, A Death in Jerusalem (New York: Pantheon Books, 1994), pp.75–76.Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    Simone Erpel, ‘Rettungsaktion in letzter Minute’ in Jacobeit, Sigrid, ed., Ich grüsse Euch ah freier Mensch (Oranienburg: Stiftung Brandenburgische Gedenkstätten, 1995), p.24.Google Scholar
  3. 6.
    Folke Bernadotte, The Curtain Falls (New York: Knopf, 1945), p.69.Google Scholar
  4. 13.
    Her figures correspond with those of Steven Kobelik, whose early work she may have been citing. According to Kobelik, ‘By the end, Bernadotte’s mission had rescued nearly 21,000 inmates, citizens of more than twenty different countries. An estimate of the number of Jews saved was about 6,500.’ Kobelik, The Stones Cry Out: Swedish Response to the Persecution of the Jews 1933–1945 (New York: Holocaust Library, 1988), chapter 4, cited in Marlon, p.80.Google Scholar
  5. 15.
    Goldstein said she remembers only that the man in charge was named Biebow. She is evidently referring to Lodz ghetto administrator Hans Biebow, chief of the Gettoverwaltung, who was executed as a war criminal in 1947, and cannot be compared with Schindler. He established a central inventory station at Pabianice, eight miles southeast of Lodz, which sorted all of the belongings from the Warthegau ghettos and the Chelmno extermination camp. Some of these goods especially furs, were sent to Ravensbrück for repair and distribution to the Waffen-SS. See Raul Hilberg, The Destruction of the European Jews (New York: Holmes & Meier, 1985), pp.948, 952.Google Scholar
  6. 22.
    Sosnowiec had a population of 130,000, including 20,805 Jews, at the time of the 1931 census. See Martin Gilbert, Atlas of the Holocaust (New York: William Morrow and Co., 1993), p.32. The Sosnowiec Judenrat was established immediately after the German conquest on 6 September 1939.Google Scholar
  7. See Leni Yehil, The Holocaust: The Fate of European Jewry (New York: Oxford University Press, 1990), pp.156, 207–209.Google Scholar
  8. 24.
    See, e.g., Yuri Suhl, They Fought Back (New York: Schocken Books, 1975), pp.219–225.Google Scholar
  9. 29.
    Regarding special problems of single women. see, e.g., Dalia Ofer, ‘The Status and Plight of Women in the Lodz Ghetto’, in Women in the Holocaust, Dalia Ofer and Lenore J. Weitzman, eds. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998), pp. 123–142. A number of testimonies by interviewees for the larger Ravensbrück study of which this paper is a part also spoke of the difficulties of surviving without male protection in the ghetto.Google Scholar
  10. 30.
    For other stories of Jewish women who had to assume new roles and save their husbands, see, e.g., Marion Kaplan, Between Dignity and Despair: Jewish Life in Nazi Germany (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998), pp.50–73. A number of interviewees for the larger Ravensbrück study of which this paper is a part also spoke of rescuing their husbands from jail or concentration camp when it was still possible.Google Scholar
  11. 31.
    See, e.g., Myrna Goldenberg, ‘Memoirs of Auschwitz: The Burden of Gender’, in Women in the Holocaust, Dalia Ofer and Lenore J. Weitzman, eds. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998), pp.327–339;Google Scholar
  12. Brana Gurewitsch, Mothers, Sisters, Resisters: Oral Histories of Women Who Survived the Holocaust (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press), 1998, pp.95–218;Google Scholar
  13. Judith Baumel, Double Jeopardy: Gender and the Holocaust (London: Vallentine Mitchell), 1998, pp.67–99; Sybil Milton, ‘Women and the Holocaust: The Case of German and German-Jewish Women’, in Different Voices: Women and the Holocaust, Carol Rittner and John Roth, eds. (New York: Paragon), pp.229–30. A number of testimonies by interviewees for the larger Ravensbrück study of which this paper is a part also spoke of bonding with real or adopted sisters in the camp.Google Scholar

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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2001

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  • Rochelle G. Saidel

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