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The Female Doctors and Nurses of Ravensbrück Concentration Camp

PhD and a Cup of Tea event with Kate Docking (University of Kent)

During the Third Reich, a handful of female doctors and nurses worked at Ravensbrück concentration camp in Germany. Some of these women assisted in the human experiments that took place at the camp, administered lethal injections to prisoners, and deliberately withheld medication. But who were these women, and how did they end up working at a concentration camp?

The backgrounds of these female medical personnel, their paths to Ravensbrück, and their experiences as workers in the camp hospital, known as the Revier, varied quite substantially between individuals. However, what unites their journeys is that all were impacted by contemporary constructs of gender while they worked in the Revier; namely, these women experienced at least some level of subordination to their male counterparts. Yet this differed significantly between individuals, and, on an individualistic basis, over time. But we must move beyond the tropes of subordination/domination entirely in order to obtain a more nuanced understanding of the interactions between the medical staff in the Revier, especially given that individual women and men did not always perceive these themes as particularly prominent in their testimonies after the war. Other notable tropes, apart from subordination/domination, were evident in their recollections, such as differing medical ideologies and romantic love.

This argument will be formulated through engagement with a variety of sources, including survivor testimony, documents from the post-war Ravensbrück and Nuremberg Trials, and oral history. Analysing the Revier through the lens of gender not only allows us to obtain a wider knowledge of who participated in Nazi crimes, but also enables the gleaning of similarities between certain gender constructs in concentration camps and in wider society.


Kate Docking | talks


Date and Time:

16 October 2018 at 2:00 pm


1 hour 30 minutes



The Wiener Library for the Study of the Holocaust and Genocide
29 Russell Square
020 7636 7247

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