The Holocaust and Masculinities

Critical Inquiries into the Presence and Absence of Men

Edited by Björn Krondorfer & Ovidiu Creangă

Subjects: Holocaust Studies, Jewish Studies, Gender Studies, Men's Studies, German Studies
Paperback : 9781438477787, 272 pages, April 2020
Hardcover : 9781438477794, 272 pages, April 2020

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Table of contents


Björn Krondorfer and Ovidiu Creangă

Part I: Genocide

1. Hiding in Plain View: Bringing Critical Men's Studies and Holocaust Studies into Conversation
Björn Krondorfer

2. Masculinity and Death: De- and Resexualization in Nazi Concentration Camps
Robert Sommer

3. The Experiences and Behavior of Male Holocaust Victims at Auschwitz
Lisa Pine

4. "Higher Reasons for Sending People to Death?" Male Narrativity and Moral Dilemmas in Memoirs and Diaries of Jewish Doctors
Monika Rice

5. Muselmänner in Nazi Concentration Camps: Thinking Masculinity at the Extremes
Michael Becker and Dennis Bock

6. Tests of Manhood: Alcohol, Sexual Violence, and Killing in the Holocaust
Edward B. Westermann

7. Catholic Seminarians and Vernichtungskrieg: How Nationalism, Religion, and Masculinity Mattered
Lauren Faulkner Rossi

Part II: Aftermath

8. Contested Manhood: Autobiographical Reflections of German Protestant Theologians after World War II
Benedikt Brunner

9. Post-Holocaust Conceptualizations of Masculinity in Austria
Carson Phillips

10. Multiple Masculinities among German Jewish Refugees: A Transnational Comparison between Canada and Palestine/Israel
Patrick Farges

11. Redemptive Masculinity: American Images of Jewish Men from the Holocaust to the Six-Day War
Sarah Imhoff

Epilogue: The Holocaust and Masculinities
Thomas Kühne

Author Index
Subject Index

Critically assesses the experiences of men in the Holocaust.


In recent decades, scholarship has turned to the role of gender in the Holocaust, but rarely has it critically investigated the experiences of men as gendered beings. Beyond the clear observation that most perpetrators of murder were male, men were also victims, survivors, bystanders, beneficiaries, accomplices, and enablers; they negotiated roles as fathers, spouses, community leaders, prisoners, soldiers, professionals, authority figures, resistors, chroniclers, or ideologues. This volume examines men's experiences during the Holocaust. Chapters first focus on the years of genocide: Jewish victims of National Socialism, Nazi soldiers, Catholic priests enlisted in the Wehrmacht, Jewish doctors in the ghettos, men from the Sonderkommando in Auschwitz, and Muselmänner in the camps. The book then moves to the postwar context: German Protestant theologians, Jewish refugees, non-Jewish Austrian men, and Jewish masculinities in the United States. The contributors articulate the male experience in the Holocaust as something obvious (the everywhere of masculinities) and yet invisible (the nowhere of masculinities), lending a new perspective on one of modernity's most infamous chapters.

Björn Krondorfer is Director of the Martin-Springer Institute and Endowed Professor of Religious Studies at Northern Arizona University. He is the author of several books, including Reconciliation in Global Context: Why It Is Needed and How It Works, also published by SUNY Press. Ovidiu Creangă is Historian for the Claims Conference in New York and Adjunct Professor of Hebrew Bible at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC. He is the editor of Men and Masculinity in the Hebrew Bible and Beyond.


"The proposition that binds these 13 contributions into a single, well-conceived volume is that a gendered approach to the Holocaust enriches understanding of this complex phenomenon … Highly recommended." — CHOICE

"This is a carefully constructed and field-defining work that will influence a generation of new scholars and be cited and discussed for years to come. It builds on the existing scholarship on women and the Holocaust in a way that enriches our understanding of the intersectionality of masculinity and femininity." — Zoë Waxman, author of Women in the Holocaust: A Feminist History

"The contributors articulate some of the challenges for studying masculinity with regards to victims of the Holocaust, making a convincing case for the benefits to be gained from doing so." — Clayton J. Whisnant, author of Queer Identities and Politics in Germany: A History, 1880–1945