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Gender, Recruitment and Medicine at Ravensbrück Concentration Camp, 1939-1942

Docking, Kate (2021) Gender, Recruitment and Medicine at Ravensbrück Concentration Camp, 1939-1942. German History, . ISSN 0266-3554. (doi:10.1093/gerhis/ghab021) (KAR id:83801)

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This article sheds light on how gender intersected with the recruitment of three female doctors to Ravensbrück, a concentration camp in the Third Reich designated to intern only women prisoners. The favourable pay on offer, prospect of permanent positions, and pre-existing affiliation with Nazi organisations led the female doctors to take jobs at the camp. While these women were hired to work at Ravensbrück due to the contemporary belief that women physicians were better suited to treating female patients than male doctors, this gendered medical ideal became increasingly usurped in the hospital. Herta Oberheuser, one of the doctors, performed cruel experiments on female prisoners with venereal diseases and conducted humiliating gynaecological examinations on women arriving at the camp. Ultimately, we cannot fully understand the descent into medical malpractice in the Revier – including the types of medical atrocities enacted, who was subjected to them, and who perpetrated them – without evoking a detailed gendered analysis that incorporates the female doctors. By demonstrating how contemporary gendered medical ideals were actively violated, this article also makes a step towards questioning how significant gender was in a women’s concentration camp.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1093/gerhis/ghab021
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DD Germany
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of History
Depositing User: Kate Docking
Date Deposited: 01 Dec 2020 13:06 UTC
Last Modified: 14 Jan 2022 16:27 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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