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Abortion in the Third Reich: Ideology and the Penal System Concerning Women in the Penal Institution in Saarbrücken, Germany
Wingerter, Elisabeth


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Keywords :
abortion; Nazi Germany; prison
Abstract :
[en] With the help of almost 200 dossiers of the Penal Institution in Saarbrücken (Germany) from the period from 1928 to 1944, I examine the situation of imprisoned German women during the Nazi Regime. I am focusing on the cases of illegal abortions by examining individual cases as well as common ideological and legal conceptions. The dossiers helped me to make conclusions about the gap between ideological ideas concerning the German woman and the complex and dark reality of life conditions for women. Insufficient medical and sexual education along with a legal inferiority shaped the „abortion epidemics“ among lower class women. Secondary and primary sources show that along with the gradual descent of the whole legal system into a system of institutionalized crime, economic conditions also influenced the catastrophic conditions for the pregnant lower class woman. The complexity of the cases is striking: Along with the lack of understanding for the female body, economic misery, legal problems and war, many other factors appear during the research. Pressure from the own family, social norms and Christian morals played a role. Furthermore, men were an essential part of this history as husbands, fathers or rapists. Moreover, abortions developed into a business, as groups of men and women started to help other undergo abortion for money. I also explain the most common procedure of abortion and its risks.
Disciplines :
Author, co-author :
Wingerter, Elisabeth ;  University of Luxembourg > Luxembourg Center for Contemporary and Digital History (C2DH)
Language :
Title :
Abortion in the Third Reich: Ideology and the Penal System Concerning Women in the Penal Institution in Saarbrücken, Germany
Publication date :
21 March 2015
Event name :
8th Annual Brian Bertoti Innovative Perspectives in History Graduate Conference
Event organizer :
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Event place :
Blacksburg, VA, United States
Event date :
from 20-03-2015 to 21-03-2015
Audience :
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