Synopses & Reviews
andldquo;Compelling . . . Lower brings to the forefront an unexplored aspect of the Holocaust.andrdquo; andmdash;Washington Post
In a surprising account that powerfully revises history, Wendy Lower uncovers the role of German women on the Nazi eastern frontandmdash;not only as plunderers and direct witnesses, but as actual killers. Lower, drawing on twenty years of archival research and fieldwork, presents startling evidence that these women were more than andldquo;desk murderersandrdquo; or comforters of murderous German men: they went on andldquo;shopping spreesandrdquo; and romantic outings to the Jewish ghettos; they were present at killing-field picnics, not only providing refreshment but also shooting Jews. And Lower uncovers the stories of SS wives with children of their own whose brutality is as chilling as any in history.
Hitlerandrsquo;s Furies challenges our deepest beliefs: women can be as brutal as men, and the evidence can be hidden for seventy years.
andldquo;Disquieting . . . Earlier books about the Holocaust have offered up poster girls of brutality and atrocity . . . [Lowerandrsquo;s] insight is to track more mundane lives, and to argue for a vastly wider complicity.andrdquo; andmdash;New York Times
andldquo;An unsettling but significant contribution to our understanding of how nationalism, and specifically conceptions of loyalty, are normalized, reinforced, and regulated.andrdquo; andmdash;Los Angeles Review of Books
“As chronicled by Moorehead with unblinking accuracy, their agonies are appalling to contemplate, their stories of survival and friendship under duress enthralling to hear.” More magazine
“By turns heartbreaking and inspiring.” Caroline Weber, New York Times Book Review
“An extremely moving and intensely personal history of the Auschwitz universe as experienced by these women. . . . A powerful and moving book.” Natasha Lehrer, Times Literary Supplement (UK)
“Heightened by electrifying, and staggering, detail, Mooreheads riveting history stands as a luminous testament to the indomitable will to survive and the unbreakable bonds of friendship.” Booklist (starred review)
“Compelling . . . Moorehead weaves into her suspenseful, detailed narrative myriad personal stories of friendship, courage, and heartbreak.” Kirkus Reviews
“The first complete account of these extraordinary women and, incredibly, over 60 years later we are still learning new and terrible truths about the Holocaust. . . . An important new perspective. . . . Careful research and sensitive retelling.” Buzzy Jackson, Boston Sunday Globe
“[Moorehead] traces the lives and deaths of all her subjects with unswerving candor and compassion. . . . In Mooreheads telling, neither evil nor good is banal; and if the latter doesnt always triumph, it certainly inspires.” Elysa Gardner, USA Today
“As Moorehead delves deeply into the womens fight for survival, her narrative seamlessly comes together in order to share a significant part of history whose time has come to be heard.” Meganne Fabrega, Christian Science Monitor
“[A] moving novelistic portrait. . . . An inspiring and fascinating read.” Meredith Maran, People (3½ stars)
“A necessary book. . . . Compelling and moving. . . . The literature of wartime France and the Holocaust is by now so vast as to confound the imagination, but when a book as good as this comes along, we are reminded that there is always room for something new.” Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post
“Even historys darkest moments can be illuminated by spectacular courage, such as courage that Caroline Moorehead movingly celebrates in A Train in Winter. . . . Moorehead has created a somber account, sensitively rendered, of yet another grim legacy of war.” Judith Chettle, Richmond Times-Dispatch
“Haunting account of bravery, friendship, and endurance.” Marie Claire
“A miraculous story about friendship and the will to overcome extraordinary cruelty, heartache and loss.” The Jewish Journal, "Best Books of 2011"
National Book Award Finalist
National Jewish Book Award Finalist
"Disquieting . . . Ms. Lowerand#8217;s book is partly the study of a youthquake . . . Earlier books about the Holocaust have offered up poster girls of brutality and atrocity . . .[Lowerand#8217;s] insight is to track more mundane lives, and to argue for a vastly wider complicity."
and#8212;New York Times
"Intriguing and chilling . . . feminism run amok."
"Compelling. . . By focusing on the role of ordinary women and#8212; rather than the already notorious female concentration camp guards and#8212; Lower brings to the forefront an unexplored aspect of the Holocaust. . . Lowerand#8217;s careful research proves that the capacity for indifferent cruelty is not reserved for men and#8212; it exists in all of us."
"A virtuosic feat of scholarship."
"Well-researched . . . As gripping and eye-opening as it is chilling."
"Often harrowing and even disturbing... [Hitler's Furies]and#160;shines a stark light on the ordinary women who accompanied the and#8220;ordinary menand#8221; of Christopher Browningand#8217;s landmark study."
and#8212;New Statesman (UK)
"Lower sheds some much-needed light on an aspect of WWII history that has remained in the shadows for decades . . . Surprising and deeply unsettling, the book is a welcome addition to the literature on the Holocaust.and#8221;and#8212;Booklist
and#8220;Hitlers Furies will be experienced and remembered as a turning point in both womenand#8217;s studies and Holocaust studies.and#8221;and#8212;Timothy Snyder, author of Bloodlands
and#8220;Hitler's Furies is the first book to follow the biographical trajectories of individual women whose youthful exuberance, loyalty to the Fand#252;hrer, ambition, and racism took them to the deadliest sites in German-occupied Europe. Drawing on immensely rich source material, Lower integrates women perpetrators and accomplices into the social history of the Third Reich, and illuminates them indelibly as a part of post-war East and West German memory that has been, until this book, unmined.and#8221;and#8212;Claudia Koonz, author of Mothers in the Fatherland
and#8220;Hitlerand#8217;s Furies is a long overdue and superb addition to the history of the Holocaust. The role of women perpetrators during the Final Solution has been too much glossed over. Lowerand#8217;s book provides an important and stunning corrective. It is a significant addition to our understanding of the role of ordinary Germans in the Reichand#8217;s genocide.and#8221;and#8212;Deborah Lipstadt, author of Eichmann on Trial
and#8220;Lower shifts away from the narrow focus on the few thousand female concentration camp guards who have been at the center of previous studies of female culpability in Nazi crimes and identifies the cluster of professionsand#8212;nurses, social workers, teachers, office workersand#8212;that in addition to family connections brought nearly one-half million women to the German East and into close proximity with pervasive Nazi atrocities. Through the lives of carefully-researched individuals, she captures a spectrum of career trajectories and behavior. This is a book that artfully combines the study of gender with the illumination of individual experience.and#8221;and#8212;Christopher R. Browning, author of Ordinary Men
In January 1943, 230 women of the French Resistance weresent to the death camps by the Nazis who had invaded and occupied theircountry. This is their story, told in full for the first time—a searing andunforgettable chronicle of terror, courage, defiance, survival, and the powerof friendship. Caroline Moorehead, a distinguishedbiographer, human rights journalist, and the author of Dancing to the Precipiceand Human Cargo, brings to life an extraordinary story that readers ofMitchell Zuckoffs Lost in Shangri-La, ErikLarsons In the Garden of Beasts, and Laura Hillenbrands Unbrokenwill find an essential addition to our retelling of the history of WorldWar II—a riveting, rediscovered story of courageous women who sacrificedeverything to combat the march of evil across the world.
They were teachers, students, chemists, writers, and housewives; a singer at the Paris Opera; a midwife; a dental surgeon. They distributed anti-Nazi leaflets, printed subversive newspapers, hid resisters, secreted Jews to safety, transported weapons, and conveyed clandestine messages. The youngest was a schoolgirl of sixteen, who scrawled "V" (for victory) on the walls of her lycée; the eldest, a farmer's wife in her sixties who harbored escaped Allied airmen. Strangers to one another, hailing from villages and cities across France—230 brave women united in defiance of their Nazi occupiers—they were eventually hunted down by the Gestapo. Separated from home and loved ones, imprisoned in a fort outside Paris, they found solace and strength in their deep affection and camaraderie.
In January 1943, they were sent to their final destination: Auschwitz. Only forty-nine would return to France.
Drawing on interviews with these women and their families, and on documents in German, French, and Polish archives, A Train in Winter is a remarkable account of the extraordinary courage of ordinary people—a story of bravery, survival, and the enduring power of female friendship.
A revelatory new history ofand#160;the role of German women in the Holocaust, not only as plunderers and direct witnesses, but as actual killers on the eastern front during World War II.
About the Author
Caroline Moorehead is the New York Times bestselling author of A Train in Winter and Human Cargo: A Journey Among Refugees, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. An acclaimed biographer of Martha Gellhorn, Bertrand Russell, and Lucie de la Tour du Pin, among others, Moorehead has also written for the Telegraph, the Times, and the Independent. She lives in London and Italy.
Table of Contents