chapter  4
26 Pages

Gender and the concentration camps

ByJANE CAPLAN

It is a commonplace that until recently ‘gender’ has been marginalized as an aspect of the history of the concentration camps.2 One reason for this is that older organizational histories of the camps and their inmates did not leave much room for discussion of any kinds of collective identity or difference among inmates. Male political prisoners constituted an unspoken norm against which other groups – whether defined by gender or by other criteria – were automatically placed as marginal. It was only when inmates and guards began to be studied in more detail, in the historiography that is the subject of this volume, that different populations and experiences within the camps, including those shaped by gender, could come into sharper focus and receive attention in their own right.