Martyrs At the Hearth.The Social-Religious Roles of Resistance Women During Nazi Germany

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Virginia Tech

German resistance to Nazi oppression existed within the ranks of academe, the military, the working classes, and the established churches. The Catholic Church, under the leadership of Pope Pius XI, entered into a non-interference agreement with Hitler, but the Evangelical Church experienced a severe split. From this division grew the Confessing Church. A number of leaders within the Confessing Church were arrested or killed during Nazi Germany, and it was the women of the church who continued the work overtly and covertly. The work of these women has mostly been marginalized by history, in part because historic writings belonged to the male hegemony, and in part because the women did not seek recognition. As most of the women about whom I am writing came of age during Weimar Republic (1919-1933), I argue that the women of the resistance received their empowerment to rise up against Nazi oppression from the women's movement of the interwar years. To understand the normative influences, one must consider the societal and political forces that helped shape that time. What led Germany on this path of destruction and caused it to vote for a leviathan in 1933? How did the work of the resistance women serve to fight against the forces of evil that threatened to drown out all reason? What motivated these women to disregard their own safety in their struggle against evil?

Confessing Church, Resistance Women, Nazi Germany, neue Frau, Weimar Republic