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Frauen: German Women Recall the Third Reich

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  229 ratings  ·  35 reviews
What were the women of Germany doing during the Third Reich? What were they thinking? And what do they have to say a half century later?

In Frauen we hear their voices––most for the first time. Alison Owings interviewed and here records the words of twenty-nine German women who were there: Working for the Resistance. Joining the Nazi Party. Outsmarting the Gestapo. Dislikin
Paperback, 536 pages
Published February 1st 1995 by Rutgers University Press (first published 1993)
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4.05  · 
Rating details
 ·  229 ratings  ·  35 reviews

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It was a really wonderful idea for bringing out the hidden stories of ordinary German women during the Nazi years and the war. But this should have been done in collaboration with a decent historian and a good proof-reader. This book is totally unreadable because of several reasons, a great pity because these women who were interviewed had genuine voices to add to our knowledge of this period, especially from a psychological and individual viewpoint.

The book barely appears edited. The author men
Disclaimer: Because my review may seem to indicate that I favor one side or another, and I don't want readers to lose my point, I feel obligated to state the obvious up front -- The wholesale slaughter that took place under the Third Reich during World War II is utterly deplorable. Okay, on to my review.

My review changed radically as I read this book. I started with four stars because the subject matter was interesting and the first few "interviews" provided fresh insights into the minds of wome
Kimba Tichenor
Feb 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
In the early 1980s, Alison Owings came up with the idea of collecting the oral testimony of German women who had lived in Hitler's Germany. She readily admits that she was no historian of German history and at the time had only a rudimentary knowledge of National Socialism or the Holocaust; however, she did possess a good command of the German language. After consulting with Professor Gordon A. Craig, an historian of modern German history and reading a list of works he provided, she set out to s ...more
Jan 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, nonfiction
Great read for gaining perspectives from women lived in Nazi Germany. The perspectives are varied and illuminating. It is also interesting how many have such a selective memory and how some still hold anti-Semitic views.
Renee Babcock
First read this book when it was first published. I was writing my dissertation on German opera in Berlin in the Weimar Republic (post WW I to Hiler's election as chancellor in 1930s. I did include a brief chapter on he first years of the Third Reich, but it wasn't my primary focus. Still, I have always had a keen interest in the Third Reich, and have read a fair amount of history on the subject.

This book is about German women who lived I Germany during the Third Reich. Most of the interviews
Jan 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I couldn't put this book down. The premise is simple - Ownings talked to German women who lived during Hitler's Third Reich, and wrote this book based on their stories. The women were from all different locations, backgrounds, and ideological standpoints.

The book completely changed the way I viewed German citizens under the Third Reich. I couldn't stop thinking about these stories even after I finished the book. And Ownings manages to write thoughtfully on the subject without ever getting too p
Mar 13, 2010 rated it liked it
Essentially a collection of oral histories of many different women and their memories of the Third Reich. Although it makes for fascinating reading, this book suffers from two faults : 1) the women are already very elderly at the time of their interviews, so ascertaining how they really felt at the time of the Third Reich is impossible and one has to wonder how much they have redacted their memories in the meantime, and 2) the author/editor inserts herself far too often in the form of snide, par ...more
Martha Tomhave
Apr 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Interviews with women who lived through the Nazi era - supporters, victims, dissidents. Each interview has enough material and thoughtful observations in it to furnish an entire novel. I have reread this book many times - it captures all the lame excuses, courage, tragedy, fear and endurance of human nature. I don't know how the author found these people to be interviewed, but you will never forget them.
May 21, 2008 rated it really liked it
I heard Alison Owings speak at a book-signing event and got this book signed to give to a friend. Of course I had to read it first!

This is a very hard book to read, both because of the subject matter but also because the interviews are very densely packed with information. But it's well worth the read. The interviewed women came from all walks of life, and they had a variety of opinions regarding Hitler and the Nazis.
Jun 02, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Stephen and other history geeks
Had to read it for Nazi Germany class. Really good sociological text (the author based the book on her recordings of interviews with real subject).
Jan 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Can you really love a book about the Holocaust? I loved this book. The stories are wonderfully written and heartbreaking on both the German and Jewish side.
Jul 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
so interesting to read about women from all walks of life
May 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Sarah R
Fascinating account from oral interviews of about 30 German women and their experiences living in Germany during the Third Reich. Among things that stood out are the comments on education, unemployment, individualization, and owning your history because it has helped influence who you are. Also interesting to note is the difference the women expressed between their hatred for Hitler and hatred for the war, something that is not always differentiated elsewhere. Four stars for the personal account ...more
Jun 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
This should be required reading for all US Americans. I can't get over how so many things the women describe about the early days of the Third Reich are terrifyingly similar to what's happening (or has already happened) in the US right now. It's long, so if nothing else, read a few interviews and the conclusion.

I appreciate how lengthy and detailed this book is, even if it seems repetitive, as others have said. These are individual experiences, and the "repetitive" experiences support each other
Nov 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
4 stars only because the author is not a reliable or credible interviewer, interjects her own personal opinions and closes herself off from some women she interviewed.

Overall, a MUST read for any Historian buff, educator, student or aficionado, especially pertaining to WWII, Germany, women and European international relations and discourse.

Had to read it for an assignment, couldn't put it down.
Mar 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had to read this book for a class that I'm taking right now on Nazism, Hitler, and the Holocaust. It was such an interesting book! Each of the women had a different perspective and vastly different experiences. Some of the women still retain the bigoted opinions that they had during the Third Reich, others were horrified by how naive they were, while other women saw through Hitler and the Nazis right from the start. While reading it, at times I was blown away by exactly how bad it got - the Ho ...more
A difficult book to read for a number of reasons yet one that should be read by everyone. The author interviewed fifty women and from those interviews she had provided the stories of 28 German women who lived through the Third Reich. Some of these women were active NAZIs, a few active resisters and most passive survivors. In the interview, with Frau Maria von Lingen pointed out that the Volk always run along. "If someone appears and makes a loud hue and cry you can be certain the Volk will come ...more
Jul 10, 2012 rated it liked it
This book is a series of mostly sad stories of WW2 told from the experience of women(Frauen) who lived through it. Each story is personal and poignant and revealing. Some of these women have taken on guilt for atrocities performed by the NAZI regime. Others have a disturbingly detached attitude, as if they were above the war and its effects -- they mean to live untouched by it all.

The author Alison Owings interviewed the Frauen over a period of years compiling and culling them into this book. In
Anne Phelan
Feb 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. It's a series of interviews of women who lived through the Third Reich in Germany. Some of them are well known, like Freya von Moltke, but most are not. They are mothers, sisters, a doctor- from all walks of life, telling their unique stories. There are plenty of books about World War II and Nazi Germany. But few of them focus on women, and certainly not this broad a cross-section. And there are some of these women (shockingly, to me) who defend Hitler and Nazi policies. But O ...more
Aug 18, 2011 rated it liked it
My book has a different cover, and I read it over ten years ago. I kept it primarily for research purposes, but if I remember anything from it I think it is a combination of the justifications people will use to do things that are wrong, and that living during The Third Reich as an apolitical, non-Jewish person was a lot more complicated than people in general seem to realize. (Particularly when we become more aware of what the current political state of the world is and our own responses [or la ...more
Christi Schmidt
It was a difficult book to get through. I think I got lost in the some of the translations but was able to understand what these women were trying to say. We Americans can be quite judgmental but this book provided examples of what their world was like, how it evolved, how it affected them and their families and the path they either chose or were forced to take to get through it and survive. Bless them all for sharing their perspective. They are just as human as the rest of us but lived in horri ...more
Lori Rogers
Apr 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book will teach you something the biggest, best-researched texts on World War II and the guilt of common German citizens cannot. Each chapter is an interview with a different German woman and her experiences during the war and the Holocaust. One woman will tell how no one knew a thing; no one could have done a thing; and, no one can be held responsible. But in the very next chapter, comes a very different truth: a woman willing to admit what they did know and what she tried - sometimes in v ...more
Aug 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book is difficult to read--not because it's hard to understand, but because so much of it deals with a dark subject and the difficult, real-life situations of the women interviewed. I had to take a break of 2-3 days after each chapter. Ultimately, it's rewarding and serves as a reminder that post-war days in Europe were not always glorious.
Aug 03, 2008 rated it it was ok
Do you want to read the transcripts of two dozen interviews with German women who lived through the Nazi period? The "author" has nothing to add. The women are probably unreliable as sources. The book is tedious, capricious, and one-dimensional. In short, it's worse than Hitler. The evil of banality, indeed!
Jul 13, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2010
Most of the collected narratives are interesting, and the author has collected quite a few surprisingly candid recollections from German women who lived through the Third Reich. However, I found the author's intrusion on the interviews (the recreation of the narrative in places) and her paraphrasing a bit distracting.
May 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book is excellent. It answered my question as to why Germans didn't resist the Nazis. The sense of fear that all of the women who were interviewed in the book was palpable. Small infractions were severely punished so it's not surprising that people kept their heads down and made little fuss. It scared me to question, if I was in a similar situation, what would I do.
May 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
this book is so, so interesting and well put together. I had it out from the UI library for literally two years, and I spent a lot of time thinking about it and wondering about the women whose stories make up the book. highly recommended.
Jun 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
I don't know why this book took me so long to read. It was very engaging! I think at times it felt almost like a textbook which could have slowed me down. But I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in this part of history from a different point of view that isn't normally put forth.
Cassie Nespor
Aug 20, 2013 rated it it was ok
I put this book down after about 100 pages. The stories were mildly interesting to read but not very deep. The author fails to ask important follow up questions and lets the subjects "off the hook" after they make unqualified generalized statements.
Jan 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the most interesting books about wwii that I have ever read. Not many people like to talk about the war in Germany. The author was able to interview many German women who gave their thoughts and memories of the pre-war and wartime.A treasure of information.
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