Date of Award

Spring 1992

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Martin Ryle


The Third Reich's intentional murdering of twelve million people during World War II was certainly one of the most tragic and devastating events of the twentieth century. No one on the European continent was unaffected by Hitler's plan for a "genetically perfect" Aryan race. The wealth of literature on the Holocaust, expansive as it is, consists mostly of monographs on individual labor and death camps and personal testimonies (many written in Polish, German, Czech, and French) of male survivors. Women's experiences have largely been neglected; their stories are either mentioned as parts of chapters of larger works or are parts of works not yet translated into the English language. I have chosen to study the concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau because it was the largest and involved women in every aspects of its diabolical horror. Since it was both a work camp and a death camp, the primary source material available is as diverse as it is extensive. It is therefore my intention to present a thesis that examines the types of experiences women had in the concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau.

My paper will first consist of an introductory history of Auschwitz. I will then proceed to categorize women's experiences as forced laborers, as prisoner functionaries, and as the subjects of medical experimentation. Finally, I will include a section elaboration on the immediate and horrible deaths the majority of women experienced upon arrival. These areas of study should interrelate aptly to provide a preliminary partial investigation of women in the Holocaust.

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