Hitler’s Furies: German Women in the Nazi Killing Fields by Wendy Lower

April 2021

This was just as grim as you’d expect it to be, and it puts paid to any notion that women weren’t/aren’t the same sadistic killers and “desk perpetrators” as men. The book recounts the overarching story of German women in “the East” during WWII, and it also follows the trajectories of a selection of individual women from different backgrounds who wind up particpating more or less enthusiastically the “Final Solution.” There are scenes are of overt horror here, obviously, but some of the most chilling accounts are those of the nurses—ostensibly caretakers and healers—who were in the vanguard of the Nazis’ efforts to eliminate everyone they deemed “unworthy of life” and obediently participated in the early “euthanasia” programs that kicked off the subsequent campaign of extermination.

I think this book would be very accessible even to readers who aren’t well versed in the details of Nazi history and the Holocaust. There’s a large section of notes in the back, but there are no footnote numbers in the text itself, which actually helps with readibility. This is a worthwhile overview of a dark but important topic.

Further reading…