‘I Told Myself That I Simply Had to Adapt Somehow’: Young Czech Women in the Theresienstadt Ghetto Cover Image

„Řekla jsem si, že se prostě musím nějak přizpůsobit“. Mladé české ženy v ghettu Terezín
‘I Told Myself That I Simply Had to Adapt Somehow’: Young Czech Women in the Theresienstadt Ghetto

Author(s): Anna Hájková
Subject(s): History
Published by: Ústav pro soudobé dějiny AV ČR

Summary/Abstract: Women’s memories of their time interned in the Theresienstadt (Terezín) ghetto are different from those of men internees. But what are the memories and what are the mechanisms behind them? At the centre of the author’s research is the adaptation and coping mechanisms of women in Theresienstadt. What was their daily life there? Which roles did they take on? The author analyses gender-specific aspects of Czech-Jewish women’s lives in the ghetto, focusing on how they influenced their narratives as we know them today. The core of the research is based on a sample of thirty biographical interviews from the 1990s, combined with various contemporaneous sources. Having experienced the deportation chiefly in their twenties, they are representative of middleclass, assimilated, emancipated, mostly Czech-speaking women. For the most part these young inmates had to abandon their ways of life as modern, independent women, and made a shift towards performing strongly gendered, supportive roles, focusing on the family and the social group. The author examines the relationship between the shift in this social role, the formation of networks and groups, and their chances of survival. The analysis of the position of women in particular and of gender in general seeks to help us to understand the power relationships within this enforced community.

  • Issue Year: XVIII/2011
  • Issue No: 04
  • Page Range: 603-626
  • Page Count: 24
  • Language: Czech