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Shelly Cline, “Women at Work: The SS Aufseherin and the Gendered Perpetration of the Holocaust” (Ph. D. Diss, U of Kansas, 2014)

By Marshall Poe

Is it ok–practically and ethically–to feel sympathetic toward the guards of concentration camps? Today’s interview marks the conclusion of my summer-long series of podcasts on the concentration camps and ghettos of Nazi Germany, its satellite states and the regions it controlled. Earlier this summer I talked with Geoff Megargee about the Holocaust Museums’s Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos, Sarah Helm about the women’s camp of Ravensbruck, Nik Wachsmann about the evolution of the concentration camp system and Dan Stone about the liberation of the camps. Today I’ll conclude the series with an interview with Shelly Cline about female guards in the camps. This is something of a departure for the podcast, which usually focuses on the authors of published books. But Shelly’s dissertation “Women at Work: The SS Aufseherin and the Gendered Perpetration of the Holocaust” (Ph. D. Diss, U of Kansas, 2014) is a perfect conclusion to the series. It examines carefully and thoughtfully the women who served as guards in concentration camps across Germany and its territories. In the manuscript, Shelly suggests that we will better understand the guards’ experience and perspective if we look at them from the perspective of people working at a job, a job they applied for, trained for, and worked at, one they sometimes liked, but often found stressful and difficult. It’s a fascinating notion, one that made me stop and think many times while reading. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

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