Jewish Masculinity in the Holocaust

Maddy Carey

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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This thesis considers the prevailing historical representation of Jewish masculinity in Holland, Belgium, France and Poland during the Holocaust and asks to what extent it is an accurate reflection of the source material available. Having concluded that such scholarship as exists on the subject is inherently flawed, my thesis will attempt to consider exactly how it might more accurately be represented. Beginning with a broad understanding of theories of masculinity and discussions of Jewish gender my thesis will lay out a clear approach both to the study of masculinity and to the questions and key features of Jewish masculinity in the interwar period in Europe. Treating the period largely chronologically, this thesis will then go on to its substantive research, looking at the sources, contemporary and modern, written both by survivors and those who died during the Holocaust, to attempt to determine the impact of persecution upon several elements of male gender identity, specifically, conformity to normative identities, the impact of gendered environments and, finally, more individual elements of masculinities. Ultimately, this thesis will argue that whilst Jewish masculinities were severely damaged in the initial phases of persecution, particularly due to an environment which was gendered feminine and the near impossibility of practising normative gender identities, the period of enclosure, and particularly ghettoisation, which followed was one in which many men were, within reason, able to reassert clear masculine identities. Finally, my thesis will conclude by considering the role of fatherhood and father-son relationships in the Holocaust and what this can tell us about generations within masculinity and the impact of fatherhood on the masculine identity of the individual.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Stone, Dan, Supervisor
Award date1 Sept 2014
Publication statusUnpublished - 2014


  • Holocaust
  • Gender
  • Masculinity
  • Ghetto

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