Nazism, like fascism, is rooted in a deeply masculine framework. However, Nazism, unlike fascism tapped into the female potential and gave women a space in the movement. For women in particular the appeal of the Nazi regime was as practical as it was ideological. What could be better than a movement that celebrated their ancestry, prided their ability to carry on the greatest race, and gave them the adventure they craved?
Beyond inclusion of women, Nazism took fascism and made it inescapably systematic. Everyone had their place, at work, at home, at school, at war. And those who did not neatly fit into the idealized places and categories were killed because systematic categorization was everything to the Nazis.
Would this level of systematic categorization and subsequent killing have been possible without the involvement of women? And by extension, to what degree was this involvement complicit? Were these women involved because of the ideological appeal of Nazism, or the practical appeal?
Lower’s text also demonstrates that women often lacked a distinct understanding of what they were signing up for. She notes that a number of female nurses were shocked upon arriving at their posts in the East. If women weren’t signing up for the Holocaust, what did they believe they were signing up for? Was it a fairly innocent belief in supporting the war effort? An ideological support of Nazi ideology? A belief that they had to in order to be good German women/? Or were these traumatized women the exception, and did most women join in the pursuit of carnage?