Date of Award

6-1994

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Sociology

First Advisor

Dr. Gerald Harkle

Second Advisor

Dr. Douglas Davidson

Third Advisor

Dr. Subhash Sonnad

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Gwen Raaberg

Abstract

One way to better understand the Holocaust is to look closely at several survivors' stories. In my dissertation I closely examine six published memoirs of women and men from one time and place: Auschwitz, 1942-1945. Specifically, I ask three questions:

1. How do Holocaust memoirs relate a universal human story?

2. How are Auschwitz memoirs informed by gender?

3. How do Auschwitz memoirs exemplify a polyphony of voices which engulfs and transcends gender differences?

In exploring the first question, I develop a thesis, that there is a universal story which captures the experiences of Auschwitz survivors' experiences. Next, I develop a Noah's Ark method of gendered pairing of survivors to explore an antithesis, that Auschwitz memoirs vary systematically by gender. The antithesis confirms a certain gender predictability and stereotyping. Women's concerns and stories were often different from their male counterparts.

Lastly, I develop a synthesis. Other factors such as nationality and ethnicity may also inform these memoirs. I look for a polyphony of voices from Auschwitz survivors which transcend dichotomous categories of gender.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access

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