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Hitler's Furies: German Women in the Nazi Killing Fields

3.41  ·  Rating Details ·  2,774 Ratings  ·  481 Reviews
History has it that the role of women in Nazi Germany was to be the perfect Hausfrau, produce the next Aryan generation and be a loyal cheerleader for the Führer. Then they became the Trümmerfrauen, or Rubble Women, as they cleared and tidied their ruined country to get it back on its feet. They were Germany's heroines. The few women tried and convicted after the war were ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published October 8th 2013 by Chatto & Windus (first published 2013)
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Bill  Kerwin
Apr 12, 2016 Bill Kerwin rated it liked it
Shelves: history

Mention “Nazi women' and “Holocaust,” and minds will fixate—at least, my mind will fixate—on the image of Ilsa, She-Wolf of the SS: a buxom blonde camp guard sporting decolletage, high boots and improbable jodhpurs.

Wendy Lower wishes to replace that fantasy with a reality less titillating but more frightening: “Hitler's Furies” were teachers, nurses, and secretaries who dutifully carried out the day-to-day business of genocide—often with reluctance, occasionally with enthusiasm—conscious that t
Gil Rosenberg
Nov 06, 2013 Gil Rosenberg rated it did not like it
Based on the NYT's blog interview with Wendy it is clear that she, her agent and publisher sacrificed the integrity of a serious subject in rder to publish a commercial book that does not prove its marketing claims. After decades of research Wendy had a theory she sought to prove -that countless thousands of young German women participated in the the killing fields in the East.

The problem is that she only has little bits and fragments of information on twelve women in the book and one full forc
Hitler’s Furies by Wendy Lower is described as a revelatory new history of the role of German women in the Holocaust, not only as plunderers and direct witnesses, but as actual killers on the eastern front during World War II. The book claims to powerfully revise history and proves that we have ignored the reality of women as brutal killers during the Holocaust. While Lower does provide statements and references that depict women as active participants in the Holocaust rather than supportive wiv ...more

This book has taken me a tremendously long amount of time to finish; not because it is badly written or long-winded, but because it overwhelms the reader’s emotions to such a point that you need to put it down and walk away. This book is definitely not for the faint of heart, and can only be digested in small, not so easily swallowed mouthfuls.

In writing this book the Author pulls on her
Oct 27, 2013 Jess rated it it was ok
I have many issues with this book. Where is the research??

She focuses on a few (maybe a dozen) women and draws these overarching and unsubstantiated ideas.

For example, she'll say something like, "Terrible things happened in X city in Poland. How can we believe women weren't there? They were there and must have done terrible things." What?? This logic makes no sense.

She'll also say, "She claims that she had no part in any terrible things but she lied." Where is the proof she lied?? Maybe she di
Diane S ☔
Dec 10, 2013 Diane S ☔ rated it it was ok
2.5 I loved the beginning of this book, found it very informative, appalling but informative. The author asserts that over half a million women were either involved or consciously looked way, during the Holocaust. I must be extremely naive because I had no idea the figures were that high. Than I think, how would I have reacted during this situation, when not going along could get one killed. One thing I know for sure is that I would not have picnicked on the site of a mass burial.

The beginning
Mike (the Paladin)
This is an interesting book that (again) takes us back to the horrors of the 1930s and 1940s taking a look at "what happened". One of the most absorbing topics to come out of WW2 is the question of how entire populations could have bought into the genocide and terror of the period. The faulty science, history and religion/folklore preached by the Third Reich was accepted and indeed adopted by the majority of the population of Germany and the so called German states.

Here we look at the women who
Sep 28, 2013 Ionia rated it really liked it
There have been many books, case studies and articles about the Holocaust and many of them have had a special focus but this is the first time I recall seeing an in-depth look at the roles of German women in the Nazi regime. This was a rather ambitious project, with a specific focus and I thought it was compelling.

First of all, let me say that this is a tough book to read without feeling sick to your stomach. That has nothing to do with the abilities of the author of course; I didn't expect thi
Γιώτα Παπαδημακοπούλου
Δεν συνηθίζω να διαβάζω τέτοιου είδους βιβλία και όσοι είστε τακτικοί αναγνώστες μου θα το γνωρίζετε πολύ καλά. Όμως, για κάποιο λόγο, "Οι Μαινάδες του Χίτλερ" είναι ένα από τα βιβλία εκείνα που η περίληψή μου μου κίνησε τόσο έντονα την περιέργεια και γέννησε μέσα μου μια πολύ ισχυρή επιθυμία να τις διαβάσω, που δεν προσπάθησα καν να αντισταθώ. Και πράγματι, δεν το μετάνιωσα ούτε για στιγμή, όχι απλά γιατί έλαβα γνώσεις που δεν είχα, ούτε επειδή είδα μια διαφορετική οπτική σκοπιά από αυτήν που σ ...more
Ξεκίνησα να το διαβάζω γιατί η αλήθεια είναι πως δεν υπάρχουν πολλά βιβλία για το ρόλο των γυναικών της Γερμανίας στο ναζισμό. Δεν μπορώ να πω ότι είναι ενα καλό ιστορικό βιβλιο, αφου το θεώρησα λίγο ελειπες και επιφανειακό στην ανάλυση των πηγών και των ερευνών του. Επίσης, η συγγραφέας αρκετές φορες εκφράζει την άποψη της (κάτι που δε μου άρεσε άσχετα αν συμφωνούσα η όχι μαζί της) και καταλήγει σε υποκειμενικά συμπερασματα. Γενικότερα, είχε ενδιαφέρουσες πληροφορίες για εγκλήματα που διαπράχθη ...more
Zohar -
Oct 09, 2013 Zohar - rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
Hitler's Furies: German Women in the Nazi Killing Fields by Wendy Lower is a non-fiction book depicting the horrific and stunning roles women played in the Third Reich. Ms. Lower is an American historian who wrote several books about the Holocaust, she presented this new information in Yad Vashem , the Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority in Jerusalem.

“"[T]he consensus in Holocaust and genocide studies is that the systems that make mass murder possible would not function without
Aug 23, 2013 Dachokie rated it liked it
Shelves: world-war-ii
Enlightening, but Incomplete …

This book was reviewed as part of Amazon's Vine program which included a free advance copy of the book.

Considering almost every facet of the Nazi era has been examined to some degree, there is a disappointing void in divulging female accountability when it comes to Nazi atrocities. With HITLER’S FURIES, Wendy Lower sheds the “hausfrau” persona so commonly associated with German women of the time and reveals the disturbing fact that many of these women actively contr
Jan 05, 2015 Caroline rated it really liked it
Shelves: world-war-2
This book raises an interesting issue with regards women and history. Too often women have been written out of history altogether, or otherwise relegated to the category of 'women's history' as though the doings and deeds of women were somehow completely unrelated to the mainstream of 'regular' history. HIStory, indeed. But as Wendy Lower points out, in the case of women in Nazi Germany in particular, this patriarchal attitude has led to the whitewashing of women's roles in history and has allow ...more
Maine Colonial
Sep 29, 2013 Maine Colonial rated it really liked it
Shelves: world-war-ii, history
Even though I've read hundreds of novels and history books about the Holocaust, Wendy Lower's study was a revelation. In a way, it shouldn't have been. Having read a lot about the Einsatzgruppen (mobile killing squads who murdered Jews, Gypsies, Slavs and others in the east, to make room for Germany's intended rural paradise), euthanasia programs, Gestapo offices, occupation bureaucracies and other elements of the Nazi operations, I knew that there were many nurses, secretaries and wives who wer ...more
This book goes a long way toward elucidating the role a number of German women played as "agents of death" in the Nazi Holocaust.

Before coming to this book, I had thought that the only German women who had willingly taken part in killing Jews and other peoples regarded as "undesirables" by the Nazis were the SS auxiliaries in the concentration camps like Ravensbruck and Bergen Belsen, who acquired a reputation for brutality. But in "Hitler's Furies", the reader learns that there were also Germa
Apr 23, 2017 Netta rated it did not like it
וונדי לוור מציגה בפני הקורא נושא מרתק ומזעזע שכמעט ולא זכה למחקר, אך למרבה התסכול והרוגז, "מטפלת" בו באופן שטחי וחובבני, בספר כאוטי ומבולגן, ברמה מעליבה ממש. לא ברור איזה מחקר ערכה לוור, מלבד קריאת כמה ספרים על הנושא, שכן היא אינה מספקת מידע בדבר אותו "מחקר". הקוראים משוועים לסטטיסטיקות ומספרים, אך גם הן אינן בנמצא. הסיפורים המרתקים והופכי הקרביים שלוור מספקת מתחילים ונקטעים, כאילו לוור התעייפה באמצע ופרשה לנוח, וגם הדוגמאות דלות ואינן מספקות. יאוש מוחלט.
הספר הקרוי בעברית "רוצחות בשירות היטלר"
Nov 06, 2014 Anne rated it it was ok
It's very unfortunate that this book is so badly organized and repetitive, because Lower's research into female German participation in the Holocaust on the Eastern Front is in many ways highly valuable. Reviewers here complain that Lower's research sample of some thirteen German women enablers/accomplices/perpetrators is too small to be statistically significant or even remotely representative, but as Lower points out (at the very end of the book, when such an observation would have been so muc ...more
Dec 31, 2013 Wendy rated it really liked it
"In many ways, this book is about how we fail to reckon with the past, not so much as a historical reconstruction or morality tale, but as evidence of a recurring problem in which we all share responsibility. What are the blind spots and taboos that persist in our retelling of events, in individual accounts, memoirs, and national histories? Why does this history continue to haunt us, several generations and many miles removed [...]?" (p. 200).

In Hitler's Furies, author Wendy Lower follows variou
Sep 03, 2013 Mandy rated it it was amazing
When we look back to the atrocities committed by the Germans against the Jews and others during World War 2, the focus is generally on men. We know that there were women camp guards who were as sadistic and cruel as their male counterparts, but on the whole the role of women has remained hidden. In this ground-breaking and deeply chilling book, Wendy Lower demonstrates that ordinary women as well were often only too complicit in the Holocaust.
Lower’s extensive research reveals that half a milli
Jan 04, 2015 Jenni rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, europe, 2015
I remember when I first read about this book, and got very excited to get my hands on a copy because 1) German history, and 2) women. It's a good take on a subject you rarely see anything written about; it's like women weren't part of history, like they did absolutely nothing during WWII. Especially when it comes to crimes and such. I liked that the author chose to focus on a few women in particular instead of making it a more and possibly vague study. The book shows how these women knew what wa ...more
Nov 11, 2013 Cathy rated it it was ok
Read Gil Rosenberg's review for more detail. I have no doubt that Professor Lower is an expert in this area and this book definitely piqued my interest in reading more about the Eastern Front and the post-war trials. That said, either the book was much longer and was poorly edited (as Rosenberg suggests) or Professor Lower just did a lousy job of cutting and pasting her own research into a 200-page book that would be accessible to the lay reader.

There is a tremendous amount of repetition and lot
Jill Hutchinson
Oct 23, 2016 Jill Hutchinson rated it it was ok
Shelves: wwi-wwii
I'm sorry to say that this book did not resonate with me. The premise was to prove that German women were more involved in the Holocaust than history tells us. I don't feel that the author proved that at all. Certainly there were some women who actively participated in the atrocities of the death camps and several were brought to trial after the war. The author includes them in her narrative but does not provide conclusive information about other women that she mentions or German women in genera ...more
Nov 24, 2013 Charlie rated it really liked it
Countless German women actively participated in the Holocaust but returned to civilian life and melted into the populace- never held accountable for their crimes against humanity. This well researched book attempts to explain why. Many who were brought to trial were acquitted. Even though courts admitted these women had committed the crimes,the social climate, Nazi culture, and pressure of the times were cited as excuses for their behavior. The climate of the post war period explains the relucta ...more
Mar 23, 2016 Tûba rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Super bir kitaptı doğrusu.Gerçek bir sinir harbi ve keskin bir şaşkınlık içinde okudum.Okuyunuz,üzerine düşününüz ve başkalarına da okutunuz.Tarih tekerrürden ibarettir bilincini taşıyan biri olarak diyebileceğim tek şey:Tanrı(öz Türkçe'de böyle yazılır,Arapça'da Allah,İbranice'de Rab) hiçbirimizi vicdanımızdan yoksun bırakmasın.Dünyada tüm olup bitenlere baktığınızda aslında değişen hiçbir şeyin olmadığını ve işimizin gerçekten de Allah'a kaldığını düşünenlerdenim ben.

Ek:Bu tür tarihi gerçekler
Lowerin tutkimukset Kolmannen valtakunnan naisista antoivat minulle paljon uutta tietoa sekä natsi-Saksasta yleensä että naisten osuuksista julmuuksiin. Ennen holokausti tarkoitti minulle miltei pelkästään työ- ja kuolemanleirejä, mutta nyt näkemykseni on laajentunut huomattavasti ja hahmotan paremmin laajaa koneistoa, joka suunnitteli ja toteutti kansanmurhan. Vähän jäi ärsyttämään eräänlainen holhoava asenne, jolla naisiin suhtauduttiin: heidän raakuuttaan kahisteltiin vähän turhan usein ja hi ...more
Mar 31, 2016 Grace rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
In my effort to read more non-fiction novels I reached for this one. I'm very happy I did. Although the topic is horrifying and incredibly graphic at times, it is a part of history and it's something we must learn from. The women in this novel were heartless, unimaginable monsters, yet somehow a vast majority were left unscathed. I've never specifically studied the women during the Third Reich, so this was interesting. I enjoyed this, but the last 50 pages really lagged for me, however I would r ...more
Mar 16, 2014 Richard rated it really liked it
Wendy Lower is a Professor of History at Claremont McKenna College and a consultant for the U.S Holocaust Memorial Museum. She is published in Holocaust books and articles. Her short bio on the book's cover mentions her fieldwork conducted throughout Europe. It was on a field trip to the Ukraine several decades ago that the inspiration occurred to push her to search for information on the role of Nazi women, especially in relation to the extensive genocidal killing that took place in Germany's v ...more
O primeiro capítulo do livro é super interessante, cheio de informações e detalhes sobre a participação efetiva das mulheres durante o regime nazista. Como se organizavam, o papel que tinham na sociedade, como eram vistas/tratadas, o tipo de lavagem cerebral que sofriam, a perseguição às feministas e os cargos que, em geral, elas ocupavam. Colei vários marcadores de páginas nesse começo. Mas depois disso é meio que ladeira abaixo, infelizmente.

A autora não apresentou provas ou explicações sufici
Ghost of the Library
Well this was a disappointment..what a blah book!

Dont get me wrong, information on the Holocaust must always be available, read, spread as far and wide as possible, to better understand what happened and how not so impossible it is to see history repeat itself...i just wish it had been done in a more precise, better structured, less vague manner than in this one.
I have lost count of the number of books, movies, documentaries i read/watched over the years regarding WW2 and Nazi Germany - and i am
Matti Karjalainen
Amerikkalaisen historian professorin ja tutkijan Wendy Lowerin "Hitlerin raivottaret : saksalaisnaisia natsien kuoleman kentilllä" (Atena, 2014) on tietokirja vähemmälle huomiolle jääneestä aiheesta, eli saksalaisten naisten osuudesta juutalaisten joukkotuhoon. Ilse Kochin ja Irma Gresen kaltaiset, melko hyvin dokumentoidut tappajat eivät olleet yksittäistapauksia, vaan monet aivan tavalliset saksalaisnaiset tempautuivat mukaan kansanmurhan pyörteisiin niin sairaanhoitajina, sihteereinä kuin SS- ...more
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WENDY LOWER, Ph.D. is the John K. Roth Chair of History at Claremont McKenna College and research associate of the Ludwig Maximillians Universität in Munich, Germany. A historical consultant for the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, she has conducted archival research and field work on the Holocaust for twenty years.
She lives with her family in Los Angeles, CA, and Munich, Germany.
More about Wendy Lower...

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“The consensus in Holocaust and genocide studies is that the systems that make mass murder possible would not function without the broad participation of society, and yet nearly all histories of the Holocaust leave out half of those who populated that society, as if women’s history happens somewhere else. It is an illogical approach and puzzling omission. The dramatic stories of these women reveal the darkest side of female activism. They show what can happen when women of varied backgrounds and professions are mobilized for war and acquiesce in genocide.” 2 likes
“Goebbels famously remarked that “men organize life: women are their support and implement their decisions.” 1 likes
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