Exhibition Opening: Spots of Light: To be a Woman in the Holocaust

Murska Sobota

The exhibition opening is hosted by the Murska Sobota Regional and Study Library on 31 January 2022.

More than two million women were murdered in the Holocaust. The Nazi ideology viewed women generally as agents of fertility. Accordingly, it identified the Jewish woman as an element that must be exterminated in order to thwart the rise of future generations. For these reasons, the Nazis treated women as prime targets for annihilation in the Holocaust. Jewish women inhabited a society that was largely conservative and patriarchal, with males as heads of household and women discharging traditional roles at home or helping to make a living. Accordingly, women did not participate in the leadership that was tasked with shepherding the Jewish public. Instead, Jewish women assumed the main family role that one may term the “affirmation of life”: the attempt to survive in any situation.

It is not our purpose in this exhibition to retell what the Nazis and their accomplices did to women, except to the minimum extent needed. Instead, we emphasize the actions and responses of Jewish women to the situation. The visitor should bear in mind that the event at issue elevated human malevolence to pinnacles that, viewed comprehensively, seem unparalleled. Accordingly, the range of women’s responses to this evil, which was turned against them with all its violence, was broad and diverse. In our opinion, these responses defy judgment even when they are incomprehensible and unacceptable under the cultural norms of our daily lives, because we must always remember the glaringly extreme situations in which these women lived during the Holocaust.