An attack on womanhood : the sterilisation of women in Nazi Germany.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameBachelor of Arts (Hons)
This dissertation examines the practice of eugenic sterilisation of women in Nazi Germany, specifically how it impacted the lives of the women who were forced to undergo it. It aims to provide insight into an area that has not been explored much in current historiography. The paper looks at the origins of sterilisation within Germany, the experience of the women in Germany and the concentration camps, as well as the post war treatment of sterilised women. This dissertation explores a variety of sources, from the testimony of women and doctors, to Nazi sterilisation propaganda and the sterilisation laws themselves. It shows that sterilisation was not a new concept to Germany or other western countries, though the way in which it was carried out under the Nazis was unique to their racial and political ideals. The women who were forcibly sterilised suffered from both physical and psychological side effects, exacerbated by the perceptions of sterilisation at the time. Even after the war, the prevalence of sterilisation in other countries meant that little acknowledgement was given to those who had endured it within Nazi Germany. Although this changed with time, as more non-Jewish victims were given reparations in the 1980s and later, this dissertation shows that it did not erase the suffering that had already occurred.