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Frauen: German Women Recall the Third Reich Paperback – February 1, 1995


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 536 pages
  • Publisher: Rutgers University Press (February 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0813522005
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813522005
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #320,875 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A vivid picture of Germany under the Nazis emerges from this collection of unsettling interviews conducted by freelance TV writer Owings with 29 women of diverse backgrounds, both Aryan and Jewish. Among the women whose lives in Germany's war-torn homefront are chronicled are the widow of a resistance leader and the wife of an SS guard, who refers to her husband's work in the Ravensbrook and Buchenwald "manufacturing plants." Not only did Hitler attract the young but, according to one supporter, "he understood how to fascinate women." Some of these women claim that they privately protested mistreatment of Jews and prisoners and risked their lives to assist them. Only one non-Jewish woman, however, admits to "hearing" that Jews were gassed.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

Owings, a freelance television writer who is neither a German nor a Jew, has compiled and edited a groundbreaking set of oral histories. She interviews women from many spectrums of the Third Reich: Germans, Jews, individuals of "mixed" parentage, a countess, a camp guard, women who hid Jews, Nazi supporters, Communists, and other women who witnessed and participated in everyday and extraordinary events. Owings has tried, as much as possible, to quote her interviewees directly yet still manages to create an even and engaging text. This volume is an excellent companion to Claudia Koonz's Mothers in the Fatherland: Women, Family Life, and Nazi Ideology , 1919-1945 ( LJ 11/1/86). Highly recommended.
- Jenny Presnell, Miami Univ. Libs., Oxford, Ohio
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Customer Reviews

Each story was so vividly unique, so different.
Ann Cobb
If we fail to understand how ordinary, decent people can be drawn into accepting the unthinkable, we make ourselves vulnerable to the same trap.
yankeeclipper
Readers who liked this book may also like Philip Hallie's LEST INNOCENT BLOOD BE SHED.
Glenn M. Harden

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

66 of 68 people found the following review helpful By rita wasserman on May 18, 2000
Format: Paperback
i am german, 45 years of age, living in the u.s. since 1991. i grew up with the so-called guilt and shame of the post-war generation who was trying to understand. this book is so incredible. you do not need to study history. all answers, if there is ever any good ones, are in this book. it reflects the times the way i read about it and learned about it from personal encounters. it is a very brave, very well researched, brutally honest book. it helped me a lot to understand better. i know some germans' answers including my parents' who are now in their seventies. i cannot imagine americans being able to understand the stories of the women that were interviewed. this book should have the highest ratings. live is too good and sophisticated in the u.s. especially now half a century after the war. people here have no imagination of how the mindset would have been in a narrow minded society at that time. i feel like i owe alison owings for her phantastic idea and research which brought about a better understanding for me. i am telling all my german friends but cannot find this book translated into german. i am sure germans would be anxious to read this book.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Glenn M. Harden on December 21, 2000
Format: Paperback
Yes, Alison Owings writes more like a journalist than a historian. No matter. This is an excellent book and well worth reading. While Owings is much more "present" in the book than your typical historian, she writes with a raw honesty that compensates for any lack of subtlety on her part. Fundamentally, her work is an exploration of complex ethical decisions and her own reactions to them. Their story becomes part of Owings's story, and that's what history is all about. Some reviewers criticized her for not writing the book they wanted her to write. This is an unfair criticism, but does show that the topic is not exhausted. Another reviewer criticized her approach to oral history, with which, as a historian, I found no fault. I highly recommend this book for lay readers with an interest in the social history of the Third Riech. Readers who liked this book may also like Philip Hallie's LEST INNOCENT BLOOD BE SHED.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 21, 2004
Format: Paperback
I agree with just about all the comments of all the other reviewers of this book, both positive and critical. The author interviewed a wide array of German women that lived through the Third Reich and were able to tell about it during the time she interviewed them (mostly the mid-to-late '80s). I am as upset about the treatment of Jews in the Holocaust as anyone, yet I agree with the reviewer who pointed out that the author focused all the passion of her interviews just about exclusively to this topic. I would have very much liked to have seen more about other aspects of lives and decisions made during the Third Reich, such as the people giving up their civil rights so quickly after the Nazis were in power and then so soon after that there was no such thing as free speech and I don't know what it was like in Germany before the Nazis, but there was definitely zero freedom of the press during the Third Reich. One thing I learned that I did not know before was that people would be arrested for even the barest comment that Germany might not win the war (not to mention any criticism of Jewish stores being boycotted). Shoot, a person could be arrested apparently just for showing any outward sign of compassion to Jews or prisoners and informers were everywhere. Anyhow, it is fascinating reading and I would recommend it to anyone interested in learning more about this era of history. I had not realized some things before I read this book, such as the role of women in Nazi Germany. Women were definitely repressed far beyond what I had realized before. The most frustrating thing for me in reading this book was the poor translations (or poor editing of translations). There were sentences that no matter how many times I read them, they simply did not make any sense to me at all.Read more ›
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 29, 1997
Format: Paperback
This book was one of the best books I have ever read.To read about women like myself going through all the trials and tribulations of war really opened up my eyes.
The author really did her research,and I felt like I knew these women that she interviewed.I honestly hated to finish the book-I was genuinely concerned about these people
and what they went through during WWII.Maybe this book or a book like it should be required reading for all students so they would get a real picture of what war is like:not just the men
in uniforms and patriotism for your country,but the real victims of war:women and children.I highly recommend this book.
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20 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 4, 1999
Format: Paperback
It's wonderful that someone decided to do an oral history of German women during the Nazi era. It's less fortunate that Alison Owings undertook this work. She has managed to find some fascinating interview subjects, but does not use them to best advantage. This may be partly for language reasons; despite the book jacket claim that she is fluent in colloquial German, there are several occasions where she has obviously mistranslated her subjects' statements, though at least many of these are of minor importance. Also, she betrays a less than thorough grounding in the history and culture of the place and time she is examining, which sometimes results in insensitive or inane parenthetical comments on her part. She often seems surprised, and not a little put out, that a woman she interviews should attach greater importance to, for example, the death in action of her husband than to the Holocaust, and wants to see this as some kind of moral failing on the part of the woman. Owings is to be commended on the originality of her idea for the book, which despite all does manage to elicit some interesting and surprising responses from her interviewees. A first-hand report by a female concentration camp guard, for example, is something I've never seen anywhere else. Nonetheless, Ms. Owings should stick to her metier, TV journalism, and leave history writing to the better informed.
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