tv Book TV CSPAN November 3, 2013 9:55pm-11:31pm EST
what am i going to do about this plan i had four next year or school or talking to my significant other about this or do i tell people or come out and openly talk about what i went through or do i keep it private because the stigma cracks that something you've wrestled with and i love this book how cancer becomes us because you are very honest about what it's like and as an accomplished researcher coming you do in extensive body of literature research on the industry a around it. you decided to talk openly and honestly. >> host: >> guest: it was a dilemma because of the tremendous amount of shame that i felt and being diagnosed and the kind of incomprehension i had. when i started writing about it
was a way to try to make sense about it. i wished at the time there were more out there that could help me understand what was happening. and as i started writing more and more and realizing there was then cut material out there i decided to write this book and so it became a kind of creation of first my experiences and then my intent to make sense of my experiences more than just my ordinary everyday experience is nothing particularly unique i think it's very ordinariness is what lies with the kind of beginnings of what became an analysis of the broad culture and a way that leaves of an experience of cancer through its hegemony and the way that it is
so similar for cancer patients and those radiation and chemotherapy are so unique in the personal experience to have chemotherapy cut in your arm once every few weeks or six times or however many times people have a or lying in the radiation machine is such a lonely experience and yet so many of us have to go through it. it's a normal american experience yet we think of it as something unique few of us have to go through and it's separate from our culture and it's not yet that is what i wanted to bring out in this book. >> host: i think of some of my cancer patient that described their life was better after being given the diagnosis because now they are living life with a different attitude. they are doing things they've always wanted to do and the
check in a year later and say i've done all these fun things i've been wanting to do my whole life. how much you think we have created a role as an expectation when you get this you go below the radar or you are going to have a life that isn't quinby active and fall. how much is that becoming the natural course of the human life? >> guest: i talk about them as being a cancer card saying in some ways people lose friendships and suffered tremendous losses. people lose the ability to do the kind of things that you are saying in many cases and in other cases people really have the sudden realization like i
have to do it now. there is something about the culture that often wants us to wait. we are supposed to wait and then retire and we deserve it as a affect many people have. so it is that kind of opportunity to realize we all have short lives regardless of how long they are. but i think it's important to see that people have many different responses and that's exactly what i want to do in this book is to proliferate the understandings of what that means on this diagnosis and the possibility through many identities and not just that survivor kind of identity or when you are under their radar and quiet about it.
>> host: in your book "malignant" it is clear to me that you are not a cynic about the field of cancer care. you're not 100% optimistic and going over the things that need attention. but i see is that you have a balanced perspective on it yet tell us about the positive things that are happening like the good folks, the well intended progress that we have seen in cancer care ..
catches excepting a part of life that is death that is a giant leap forward to think about health. >> host: most hospitals have visiting policy hours around how many people are allowed to visit your what time nobody can visit any more and at johns hopkins we came to the realization that the family is an important partner and we want them in the room as a part of the team. sleeping in the room with the patient, a visiting even as late hours of course, it needs to be civil we cannot have an army with the limited nursing staff but when i grow -- talked about this to a group of surgeons from africa they laughed and said you just know lerner we have been doing for centuries. as a cancer patient, what do
you need what goes a long way? if you are viewing this program and you know, somebody going through what you went through what could they appreciate? >> guest: people appreciate the acknowledgement you are going through this. that sucks. sometimes people appreciate having something done not just what do you need. >> host: that is too open ended. >> guest: just bring over some juice or dinner or a picture that you drew or leave it at the door. just the acknowledgment even if the person doesn't need it it reminds them that they have not been forgotten. and there is a community around their even if the
your ability to hear and if i should slow down a little bit. i am happy to be here. have actually we have done research together in the field in the ukraine a very special project that took many years to produce. not as long as this one but a completely different perspective from the eyes of one jewish me and, a polish jew wish to found himself in the middle of the mass murder. i just wanted to mention that. i wanted to mention that. the story of women is not what i went looking for. i went to the archives of the former soviet union in
the summer of 1992 with a completely different question. that was rather typical going into an archive then find a file that is strange you're curious why is this year? you put it to on your desk and then think this will develop into something but i'm not sure. summer of 1982 the soviet union had collapsed in for me i saw that as an opportunity as a budding scholar to go into this territory to see what was there. i was looking at material in the archives the the things the of military had scooped up like the nuremberg trial documents and a lot of that material was the high command order things in
germany proper drake -- from the other not see agencies headquartered in germany itself so what about those regional offices were the germans had setup the operation in the ukraine and belarus where the crimes occurred. what about the field? it took of the collapse of the soviet union to have access but really understand and manage and the scope of the violence occurring in the open air settings and those killing centers like auschwitz. >> and now familiar with the work of blood volumes it is close to half of the victims
perished outside of these gassing at centers in the open-air mass shootings coming get a liquidation, a deportation, in these communities. my first trip summer of 1992 i made my way to the regional archives 100 miles from kiev of in the reason why i went there is because i if they cared about there was in excellent study of the whole essence police the upper wrote -- apparatus he had his headquarters there about 56 miles south so i thought here is interesting place in the heart of a settlement that historically was important for russia and
jewish history confined bet jewish population to this area with the heartland of jewish history with the empire a large debt have concentration of jews 38 or 50%. you have hitler and himmler stationed there a high concentration maybe there is german documentation from these regional archives to understand what happens locally of whether or not hitler and himmler had a direct influence. in the early '90s the decision making process can we find a smoking gun? that is what i was thinking i was naive the nafta think maybe i would find because sometimes the important material does not turn up in
the headquarters but because somebody copies of file at a lower-level it is a bad of regional archives. i thought i would find high-level directives how it started with hitler and himmler's direct but when i got to the archives i was astounded because there was a significant collection of material things i do nobody has looked at. files literally footprints on the documents cover the edges were burned bright kid imagine when the red are be caved in every occupied they were picking this up off the streets because there was more fair and shoving them id files the archivist was incredibly gracious because of this moment in time the ukraine is just establishing itself as a country and has
not instituted archival procedures things that were classified for given to me and really meaty and sandwiches. [laughter] -- giving me tea and sandwiches. i thought that was interesting she does not know what is it here but there was no copy machines arrive was just transcribing as fast as i could and among the files was an innocuous personnel list that shows a young for a line unmarried women basically between the ages of 18 and 25 sent to the region as kindergarten teachers, welfare workers and sent charged with two
rings of colonial missionary work to germanize the region this would be the utopia the living space, the empire for germans only that hitler had referred to parts of ukraine saying this would be our riviera. building the audubon and in their mind that nine germans would be eliminated starting with the jews and also completely transform the way of escape down to every flower and the bush. they had a botanist and technocrat specialist to turn this into the utopia that his wife hillary and himmler located in this particular region because they had a hand to create the experimental colonies for the women were brought in to participate with the
colonization process and i figured out later on i thought initially why are they here this is the war zone where the war of destruction is taking place, the titanic struggle, partisan warfare, a military campaign, i thought ordinary german women were at home taking care of the home front and having babies for this year so more soldiers could conquer more territory. here is in example just to show you now i start to realize that this phenomenon of women and killing east i
could find documentation from other parts of eastern europe and regional records young women you could see for relying -- froline as the executive secretary in starting to figure out through this documentation that this document that i found that is the tip of the iceberg going back after the first trip i looked at what existed if i had discovered something general holocaust history books and not feature many books -- nazi
germany books may be somebody else has come across this to document and talk about. locating at the standard when i could not find the of women in the indices of course, i could find some i tried to find them on the map but i was not finding them but i would was finding photographs to expand my research effort into all different types of resources especially right teeing about women who are either merging at all the different capacities. if the wife or girlfriend goes to the eastern territories there will not be a big paper trail but you find these women circulating
in photographs classic image a group shot, then the commandants they of the personnel and so woman seated next to the man within it says with the caption day un notable men and another one below then another one. i wanted to find out who these women were a and what were they doing? i also noticed a lot of research had been devoted to come up with different perpetrator types with the characterization's of course, of the statistic
killer, with the anti-semite, the ordinary man said technocrat, the foot soldier so these types had the merged expanding our understanding of perpetration with these nuances c&s similar development would not have been how be understood the women's role. so that is something we thought about is there a female version of the ordinary man? where they put it into a killing units? all the things i had read about start to question if women fit into those categories. then to go back to the standard documentation back to the archives to what we
have been using investigative material even nuremberg a.m. started to notice women were called to testify a lot. there are very instrumental to testify against their male bosses or even spouses they have a lot of information improvised historical valuable information to prosecutors that historians have written in history from but not question why do they know so much? how did she tell me every detail of the procedures taken in the proper way that documents were handled how orders were conveyed to the killing unit, moved in the office, what happens with the distribution of property , who had access to
the space of classified material , a defying killers or even describing the scenes at actual killing sides started to realize women's testimony had been under appreciated taken for granted we had asked how come they know so much? they must have spent their so then what did they do? we have to go back to the traditional sources ask questions eventually i was able to determine by this collective effort to that there were approximately a rough estimate and research could change this site could account for about half a million german women whose
circulated in the eastern territories in different capacities. the german red cross trained 640,000 women and 400,000 of them were in wartime service than 300,000 of them were in the eastern territories the german army trained another half a million in support positions as radio operators wiretappers, himmler's the rights for as says he changed in he had been cited both to maintain secrecy these are special auxiliaries gestapo headquarters the and the presence. 2500 teachers were sent in poland in the effort to to set up kindergarten to teach
them about the nazi ideology. over 240,000 women and they were encouraged to stay with their men because they were also a breeding organization leading to race -- racial organizations. so that they could be together to propagate and promote the of race and have more children. hearing is an image demonstrative of this phenomenon you could see the of magnitude all of them in uniform from the cover of
their pressure trying to recruit women to be resettlement advisers so when refugees are brought into the colonies they were brought in an end to teach the language german songs songs, said german cooking to maintain a proper household. while i put this picture together when i came to realize was whole generation of german women because if you think about it who are the individuals going on fin day nursing staff? secretarial staff? those that were fertile to reproduce and also single
working it offices ended the nursing profession as a teacher most women were born between 1920 and 1924. so now i'm natalie had we been on the eastern territory but a generational phenomenon emerging so i called them the first world war i baby boomers this fits into the general history of not the germany that the leadership itself was young young, they're young within the german population hitler and himmler in their '40's with the enormous amounts of power and women of marriage age in their 20s also wielding considerable power
and the implications of the life and death ability to make decisions. in the summer of 2005 that the holocaust memorial museum colectivo effort pc and this together things were just starting to take shape it at this point was not really sure how close the women got to the actual killing. with secretaries in particular but i didn't have a lot of cases of killers when i would deter these up as a research would focus this is the case i came
across it in the archives and i distinctly remember going through the microfilm to be so astonished by the documents even 60 years after was absolutely chilling this is one of the more prominent cases in my book the the name of her in my book is erna petrie she was arrested by the east germans and interrogated -- and tear gated and her husband the two of them stood trial together in 1960 to. i thought this is unbelievable standing trial together of the husband gets the guillotine and she gets a life sentence they
committed their crimes on a farm in the ukraine so already i thought i had to look at the case then i see a confession this is her arrest certificate which he is apprehended and fair to the right is the beginning of a confession in the right-hand corner if you can make that out you can see she is interrogated a full day was one lunch break of course, this is a nice clean copy somebody got the information out of her then made this digest for the record and she admits to killing six jewish boys on their farm shooting them in the back of the neck.
erna petrie was one of the entire generation of young german women who saw their future from the eastern territories and arrived there through all different halves and trajectories but they shared certain end outlets soar ambitions she admitted the reason why she killed those children was because she was so indoctrinated and was taught to hate the jews and also said she wanted to prove herself to the men. many women when they went to east confronted new situations the with their with a certain idealism and
ambition and hopes and dreams many did not go voluntarily but they did share a national list outlook why they had to defend their rights even lenders who had the most moral sensibilities and the most conflicted about the violence when i still interview her in 2010 it was clear she did not question she had to be there to defend her homeland even after she heard about some of the worst perpetrators she followed her orders went even deeper farther east into the war zone and she did not question because of her sense of duty prevailed over a sense of morality and men were no different from
women in this regard so you can see the scale in the numbers of women solfeggio graphically with the eastern territory the stretch through poland the baltics up to the north, the the ukraine and where the women are stationed of course, where most of the violence in the mass killing ocher. today with the time remaining a want to focus on some case studies erna petrie is one of the worst but my intention to write the book is not to shock, it is very disturbing when you
get to do that cases of the killers in particular with the everyday experience is of women but i really want readers to gain a better sense to understand why the women went there to begin with and live a responded in different ways and the next level was accomplices in machinery said with these outstanding cases of the perpetrators. the nurse that i referred to in ben is a very complex character and i think in
many ways a very likable figure in the book here is someone is thrown into a situation and to find ways to cope with that. she was better educated most had grabher school education with the hitler youth for girls with secretarial trading work to help out on farms or restaurants or working class but of the other hand in ned got her law degree in the 30's which was pretty unusual. and she decided which she was called upon to do her patriotic duty that she played joy in the red cross that during the first world
war had the organization that attracted upper-class women associates said i will go to the red cross. low and behold she did not have medical trading but was pulled out because they immediately noticed she was cultured and said we will set up the leadership the special soldiers' homes in the we are area of the occupied territory. this is from her personal album. soldiers go to a friend then returning can have stopovers with german cookies in to interact with nice german women to relax and recreates so there were 1200 german women like her sent to the east to manage the soldier
holmes in she was said to to a town that had a population of about 9,000 jews. shortly before she went on her journey east liz moment was transformative. they had not ben out of their towns or villages so just to go to a new place then see that they were in these killing fields with the warfare a and genocide. a journalist in berlin said this is the summer of 1941 why are you going to the east. don't you know, they are killing the jews there? it had already circulated back at least through
circles of journalist and she thought really? i cannot believe that. i have to go and follow my orders. then she is on the trade and it stops and she is with her friend and they sit there and two new german been cut into her compartment and they start to talk to them to say tell a horrible story how one said i just killed a jewish woman and described how a conflict emerged at the shooting site because she had a disabled sister favor not sure she was trying to save the sister but they killed both jewish women but the men start to tell her that story. then she gets off the train
of the location in the first night they are having dinner as part of orientation the officers explained a shot at the jews recently then she goes for 82 were and they point out of me and here is a river that have 450 jewish men women and children were shot a few months ago and she starts to learn more because she told me oftentimes in conversations with conversations got personal real fast they had not been around german women and they wanted to do talk
about this as they become the recipient of these stories a and she becomes so upset that she writes back to her mother november she save the letters is share them with me what poppa says is true. people would no moral inhibition exude a strange odor i cannot pick up these people and many of them really do smell like blood what the eagerness slaughterhouse the world is. one more example of a secretary with an interesting case we don't have a lot of information
the very hard area to research but in this case the secretary elita was brought to my attention to have during the war he was a boy but now a grown man the gentleman on the right was the regional governor where there was a six defect dip population not too far many who fled often found refuge because there was a lot of workshops that were established in we could see those workshop activity in the entire really moved out
in the spring of 1942 when there is the sizable population so they were witnesses and went into the workshop and witnesses to the mass crimes and murders. and then arrested by the soviets bid was presumably killed after a quick trial. he had a secretary whose name was lisa. they became lovers. here we have the picture. i don't know the other gentleman but they are pictures from personal albums from the postwar investigation and this was among those collected.
that is an interesting picture because she stevens in the woods with her shotgun that is part of the story. according to survivors was one of the most better informed in this station. she was seated on various occasions carousing or representative creating with the german officials with her lover in town. they had and still love, constructing a swimming pool, jewish laborers you could fill their every whim, furs, all clients in fact, the, the sewer commission and/or demanded from the jewish laborers jewelry for his
family, but they've made in an electric train set to present at christmas. i was hoping it with some of these objects were still had because most of the population was killed and i thought this is something we have left from the population that was gifted as electricians they did not have the train set but he did have a ring that is now on display at the u.s. holocaust memorial museum because right now they have the important exhibit right now. now she was seen going out on the weekends they had sundays off and it was
described that liselette would go on their sleds also in the snow into the forest and to go on hunt for rabbits. they did not find kravitz but they did come across jewish laborers who were shoveling along the road ahead the german official with the women told deliver stooge just run across the field in the us know which is obviously difficult to read quickly and then they shot them light they were shooting rabbits. actually several died right dead and some of them made it to the forest and survived and actually came back here and testified
against the individuals include dave liselette that at that particular moment they probably never would have imagined that any of these jewish laborers would have survived and decades later they would confront them and be faced with their testimony. liselette did not take simple dictation from the commissar she was told to right supporters a and also testimony was given that she authorized the shooting and 16 jews that appeared late for work she was very important in terms of distributing the orders to the shooters and she met with the head of the jewish affairs who cave man from the workshop a.m. to because of her relationship with the
administrative role and able to issue the gold cards that are lifesaving documents other than flight or suicide the only way to escape was to get a labor aside but also secretaries were involved with the selection when they were marched through town they could literally pull individuals out of the light up. another secretary polled able men out of the march deportation march and said she had not finished the a sweater for her so she pulled her out. also these spontaneous acts of rescue but motivated by greed or personal self-interest. rather recently their images
are polled someone took it entire series of pictures from the march 1942 being marched to the center of town to be stripped of all valuables then taken to another location and shot and the woman on the upper right it reminded me of what i had read in the testimony of the role of women at these events. also what is disturbing there is the commissar. i don't know who she is. it is not clear. you have a police official then a young jewish boy
killing jewish children in the ghetto in multiple testimony from dozens of survivors from those who said she has her nasty habit of killing a jewish children by sticking her own pistol fashioning herself like a cowgirl to place its in the of malice of the children and shoot the men of wealth. -- issued to them in the mouth. said these were cases that started to re-emerge as a stated but they are e -- an unusual. i don't see these women as freaks of nature or marginal
sociopaths but as a started to read the book and the seeds of momentum of the regime and how they were socialized many were committing the crimes with committing the crimes with their children by their side. looking to the future this was headed with this kind of violence that was socially acceptable within these communities erna petri was not punished for the crimes committed they slipped back into society as a housewife for secretary but were not habitual killers. they just change their behavior with the system collapsed.
so they went back to normal law-abiding citizens that is why many were not viewed from prosecutors as culpable are taken as seriously. then end women are capable because women wrap then center of this culture of consumption not because of their gender but in spite of acting as human beings in extreme circumstances to become convinced of an idea of their own power to realize this idea assuming that women are not capable of extreme violence in the politically engaged in it activism that was behind that is a social cultural bias that has negative connotations. of the one hand this construction is a sign of hope than half the human race will not devour the
other to protect the children will safeguard the future. on the other hand, minimizing the violent behavior of women creates a false shield them blocks us from the more direct confrontation of genocide and all discomforting realities of it. the consensus of holocaust and genocide to study is what makes mass murderer possible without the broad participation pripet all history leaves out half of those who populated that society as if women's history happened somewhere else. is the logical approach and puzzling condition at "hitler's furies" shows the dark decided female activism that what can happen when women are mobilized for war and acquiesced with the genocide. think you very much. [applause]
>> now we will take questions purpose. >> these women who escaped with chairman it is and soldiers, you use that term rather they had access so was it well-known that in the beginning of the war that they would confess as it was well below that the jews would be slaughtered? >> we know that the regular
german army was much more involved than what they admitted to after the war that has been debunked and that has come out. he was in the regular military in yugoslavia but the main story that came out after this controversial exhibit was circulating in germany but this sixth army is not the one that went to stalling broad it was the murdered army but it turns out the sixth army on its march to the way there was a bloody trail of involvement of mass shootings against jews. if so when the army came with these killing units units, they stationed
>> we know from diaries starting to find in trees sid diaries mention this. the german army moves back and forth even if they have centers monitoring the mail to have people go back and forth so that knowledge is definitely circulating. >> i listened to your book yesterday the i cannot figure out how to pronounce it. after all that happened to use the expression but after
you met some of these people did they get prosecuted for what they did? if they got in trouble. >> what you mean postwar? to remain inconspicuous including some of the worst perpetrators of the few that i have with that document that i showed you that she got a life sentence also the secretary killing the children she was acquitted twice at 79 and 82 despite
all the evidence. there was a couple of reasons. first of all, paid did not interview the prosecutor because i asked the same question. he believed she was guilty but he could not in the court room get a conviction because it was based on survivor testimony that is not taken as seriously as hard evidence documentation. this is tricky with the male perpetrators you can reconstruct units to put a man in one of those units the view cannot put them on the camp guard lest they are not following orders.
they are doing this on their own, making the choice and the fact they are not prosecuted with that statute of limitations ran out in the '60s except everything but the crime of murder they cannot be pursued i even start to wonder if brought to germany instead of israel he may not have been convicted because they could not place them at the scene because the west germans may have to prove that they are sadistic in their behavior so the paradox here is to say look at what the is women were doing multiple survivors from different countries they have
[inaudible] >> well he had established about 3,500 women served as guards and we had documentation. so, the literature in terms of female perpetrators really focus on the guards. my book is arguing that the participation is much bigger than that. we can't think of the holocaust else confined to the spaces entirely in the closed camp settings although they are very important and central to the story but they are not the entire story. it's a much broader level of participation and in all these different forms we can't think of it as a guard per say. the interpretations of men but all these different functions
working in these different roles and settings outside of the system in their homes. once those walls come down and the setting. they show that camps like that were not so close often societyc there was a lot of penetration in the outside and inside tof interview people who were not delivering they were delivering the bottles and chosin of water making these deliveries. we know from the holocausttes. museum in credible research thas one in 40,000 camps we have to
>> you have got -- this same area -- it is -- this part is a military occupied zone. they cannot produce it. and the rest by the ukraine. a big reception here. so western russia, moscow, leningrad, that is part of the village of occupation. goldman were there too. any soldier's homes set up in that area, this is geographic. >> the other question i had you
get access near the killing centers. some are from the actual mass killing sites. the nurse that i highlighted today at one point described to me how she was charged with going through the clothing that had been taken from the killing site and was being amended and repair and send back to gemini through the welfare association which was the women's professional charitable organizations so they are handling the movement of little jewish clothes, cleaning them, mending them and sending them to german refugees. this is part of it. the secretary in that case because so many jews were deported to -- from germany and killed in a place outside the city, bonds filled to
overflowing with jewish belongings, and they developed a whole language around this which i think there is so much going on behind the scenes that is part of this history. jewish sausage, the women organizing the food that is confiscated coming into the office, like in the office people are putting food out or maybe they didn't have a celebration and taking a beating this food and talking about it, the gold taken from the bodies in the safe, as a secretary, very important incidents, she needed a gold filling, went to the dentist and needed a gold filling and her boss said her bring a certificate and you can have access, take the gold that is in the states.
she was questioned about that after the war and insisted that she did not have that bold, it somehow got lost. she did not deny taking it, she said it got lost at the end of the more when their house was raided during the occupation. the prosecutor didn't tell her to open it up. >> a lot of these killing fields out there -- did you find any stories about efforts in this area? [inaudible]
>> what we think of in terms of women being mediators or nurturing or may be involved in more resistance activities, maybe even encouraging their husband not to be so violent, playing these kind of roles and their worry these cases. there's one case in particular that is in the book, and she was involved in hiding a jewish girl, and she was a i think the wife of a force there and -- forster, she was killed. the judge in the verdict in that, the not the court at the end of the war said she should have known better. he came from an educated households and should have known better. these stories of women who defied the system, they are very
hard to piece together. but they are there. i think that is something that has to be researched. i don't think they are as numerous as the picture i've portrayed today. the reason i know about her is she was hiding those photographs and other things from the dachau camp in her family's behalf, at that was a smart hiding place. it was a -- for her civil courage. for various reasons, tried to do something. what could i have done? the nurse i was talking about,
what could i have done. it was the end of this entire system. what could i have done? [inaudible question] >> it is so hard to document or even interpret what might be signs of feelings of shame or remorse or embarrassment. when you talk to witnesses, men and women who were involved in this, even involved in the crime, it is -- first of all women are not traditionally telling gruesome war stories so is difficult for them to recount that level of an unpleasant part of the past, would rather not talk about that.
when it is discussed it is difficult for me to interpret psychologically what their feelings are about that. if someone says to me, and this has happened in the documentation as well as in person, starts to speak about jews and use the language of the time, anti-semitic language of the time as if time had not passed, then i can conclude that that ideology is so embedded in their identity and their thinking that that is probably how they were before but it is really hard especially with the passage of time for people to express that kind of -- you don't know if sometimes we mix up shame with remorse. it is very tricky to know what is being expressed when the person is having a hard time
talking about what she witnessed or did. [inaudible conversations] >> we have this ability to adapt. human adaptability. if you are not on the receiving end of it, if you talk to -- if you are not a victim of the crime, if you have a power of committing it, in terms of trauma and being able to distance and adapt and move on it is probably a lot easier but a psychologist could tell me otherwise. >> along those lines, you are talking about something unique. [inaudible]
>> i think the basic human behavior that comes out of this history is not specifically german. those were special circumstances that brought that out at that moment in germany in the 20th century and the jewish population. that is very historically specific about the kinds of brutality and motivation behind it, the greed, the way men and women participate in this, the system to create genocide is not uniquely german. hitler did not invent genocide, he did not invent auschwitz.
>> about how these regions got out and information that started with your going to do. how many witnesses did you find? >> my research took me to many archives in d.c. the holocaust museum, i went to many archives in germany, national and regional, local archives, back to ukraine several times, was in poland, france, paris. i went to various repositories to collect documentation, national archives in washington and quite a bit of field work so starting an interview project in germany to collect witness testimony and that often got me
closer to people who were more involved. whenever i found about these women i sent letters, made phone calls, tried to find out if they were still alive and see if i could talk to them and ended up searching for these women because this material was rich enough to tell their stories and they were representative of these different types that identified but i talked to many more women and couldn't get enough, and the entire trajectory to put the chapter in that context from 1920-present. i spoke, interviewed 40 witnesses and the 13 women here, in direct contact with seven of them. several had passed away, one died in 2000 or 2003 so many of them had already passed away.
>> and their children? >> yes i did. [inaudible] >> rock salt, yes. right. [inaudible] >> i didn't have a chance to talk to her. she died in -- she died in 2003. mensa petrie died in 2000. i could speak -- i spoke to the prosecutor, talked to the defense attorney, talked to jewish witnesses who went to the trial. very interesting.
but she was completely -- she conveyed absolutely no remorse. she was actually the way she conducted herself in the courtroom and the prosecutors said to me -- she is someone i would never want to encounter on a moonlit night, she was ice cold and in the court room was not a sympathetic defendant whatsoever. she was indicted for aiding and abetting in the killing of 9,000 jews. [inaudible] >> absolutely. that is another issue. applying the old prussian criminal code which is regular homicide, regular murder in a context of genocidal kind of
system. joint fit. but it can be interpreted differently. today it is being interpreted differently. it is up to the prosecutor and the judge. after the war she went to this west german investigative authority and send documentation about people she spoke to, soldiers who admitted they had taken part in mass shootings, she denounced them to the authorities after the war. she was a judge in germany after the war. she told me my efforts were rebuffed. and the records she submitted in the west german -- i could see what she sent in and how they were reacting to it. you had your hand up. [inaudible]
>> cannibalism would be references to the soviet pows left in these camps, three million peer dubyas who were killed during the war because they were shot or the nazi abandoned them in these pow camps and they had no rations and resorted to cannibalism. the jewish sausage is more about a kind of office talked-about plunder coming from food. >> based on your sudden history, germany now accept the reinterpretation that the people knew what was happening and that is the way it has been taught
and therefore although it may not be -- it is. have they come to grips with the enemy within as opposed to the previous explanation that it was a large -- [inaudible] >> you are getting to what extent germans have come to terms with this history and to they -- the broader complicity. >> the question that the world war ii generation dying off rapidly. assessing this and dealing with it or being augmented with the concept of american history. >> west germans in particular
over the years developed what in aftermath studies became model history of restitution issues, more realization activities, secondary education. what has happened in germany since the war is quite remarkable and impressive for a post genocidal society. but you have got the reality of individuals who participate in these crimes. this is specific to west germany and also austria. so this is about wanting to return to normality and normal understanding of women's behavior and that kind of normality and yes. putting that history behind them and moving forward and there were steps the west germans took that were clearly indicative of
napoli moving forward but letting people get away with murder. so the legal reforms, they let people re-enter the civil service. indicted eventually for killing 11,000 jews was able to go back into the police force after the war. these people could continue their careers in these professions and were clearly involved in the holocaust. that kind of story that surely shows the system was not aggressive enough. they could have interpreted the law differently. they became all about interpretation. they couldn't get -- the ukrainian guard who was convicted, that was a new understanding of the law. they decided at this late stage that because he was a guard, the primary purpose was to kill. it was a murder operation that
one is by association guilty because you are working in a killing operation. that is the task. suddenly this was a broader interpretation of that. that could have been the case earlier on and it wasn't. the germans in general there are generational issues, confrontation, young germans, those, a lot of fatigue with this subject matter. they don't get enough of it in college. the university level, the time you approach this seriously. and try to get holocaust studies. and into the curriculum at the university level because people need to be trained to run the memorials in this history in
germany. there are pieces in the system that are not perfect. we are still working on that. it is difficult to this day. there are still some taboos in terms of talking about this history. >> do you view the families -- what are they thinking? [inaudible] >> yes, i did interview one of the perpetrators, the family of one of the perpetrators. it is an interesting story and i don't -- i don't want to go into a lot of detail about it. they believed that their mother was so much a perpetrated during the war but a victim of postwar
in justice. they pointed the finger at the east germans for arresting them mother, keeping her in jail for life and killing their father. that was their experience. because you cannot blame the children for the sins of the father. their experience was loss of their parents after the war. [inaudible] >> in the early 90s when i went to graduate school. i was exposed to it in the 80s. i was in vienna in 1985 studying german and music, nineteenth century, hadn't gotten to the 20th century yet. and that fat point -- the scandal came out, i was going to some of these meetings or even smaller towns, i was listening
to these former austrian soldiers talk about the eastern front and realized -- oh. one last question. [inaudible] >> lack of investigations and trials. there has not been a war crimes trial against a nazi war criminal in austria since 1975. the cases you read in my book about the women in terms of the few that were present pursued and the way they were treated as defendants was a little too much respect. [inaudible] >> thank you very much, thank
>> they said we are going to put you in prison today it is difficult to register but he said he felt like he was caught up in some way that he had no way of understanding. it's not true. they can't put you in prison. you have a visa and papers. did you tell them how long you had been coming here? he then asked the kunkel to put the cbp officer on the phone again he can't, he said he's 81-years-old. he's an old man. uncle frank asked if he could speak to my uncle one more time. the officer told him we already have a translator for him and hung up. my uncle was given some chips and soda again. at 11:45 he signed a form saying that his personal property was returned to him. the form lists personal property
the money plus the wrist watch and 11 a.m. i received my phone call my uncle was transported to the airport detention area which was in another concourse. by then he was so cold he rapped the airport blanket he was given tightly around him as he crawled in the fetal position on the cement a bed until 7:15 a.m.. at around 7:30 they left the detention area to board. he was handcuffed but asked if my uncle wouldn't be because of his age. the officer agreed not to handcuff him but they told him that if he tried to east cape he would be shot.
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