Sisters in Sorrow: Voices of Care in the Holocaust

Roger A. Ritvo, Author, Diane M. Plotkin, Author, Diane M. Poltkin, Joint Author
Roger A. Ritvo, Author, Diane M. Plotkin, Author, Diane M. Poltkin, Joint Author Texas A&M University Press $35.95 (368p) ISBN 978-0-89096-810-9
Reviewed on: 06/01/1998
Release date: 06/01/1998
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This muddled examination of women's experiences in the Holocaust bases itself upon the psychologist Carol Gilligan's view that ""women not only define themselves in a context of human relationship but also judge themselves in terms of their ability to care""--but it fails to make a convincing case that women experienced the Holocaust differently than men. After a fascinating first chapter titled ""Medical Paradox"" that touches on some of the issues that doctors and nurses in the camps and ghettos faced, the book tells its story through the voices of the women themselves. Readers who make their way through a narrative that was questionably cobbled together--each chapter is a first-person account that the authors wove together out of multiple interviews with a subject--will learn more about the harrowing texture of everyday life during the attempted Nazi genocide of the Jews. In at least one camp, for example, doctors simply performed an abortion on every woman who came in pregnant. The ingenuity of some of the female physicians and nurses recorded here is impressive, but the book all too often veers away from the experiences of female ""caregivers"" to detail camp and ghetto experiences that are similar to what has been written about before. This book hints at an interesting subject that deserves more thorough treatment. 14 b&w photos. (June)
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