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Volume 17, No.2 / Fall 2003            
Using Testimonies for Researching and Teaching about the Holocaust, Part 2
Resilience and Courage: Women, Men and the Holocaust - Review

Recent Works by Nechama Tec
When Light Pierced the Darkness
      • Review
      • Questions & Activities

In the Lion's Den
      • Review
      • Questions and Timeline

Defiance: The Bielski Partisans
      • Questions & Activities

Resilience and Courage
      • Review
Reflections on Nechama Tec's Life and Work


Cover of Resilience and Courage

A ground-breaking study, Resilience and Courage: Women, Men and the Holocaust (Yale UP, 2003), is Nechama Tec’s fifth book on the Holocaust. This is a new, unexplored aspect of the Holocaust, the first comparative study of the differing experiences and survival strategies of women and men in various Holocaust settings.   Her publishers write, “vivid individual stories blend effortlessly with detailed comparisons of wartime experiences of women and men.  The result is a captivating account of how the coping strategies and the ultimate fate of each sex differed.”   Israel Gutman, professor emeritus, Hebrew University, praises the text, saying, “This book is a remarkable achievement, based on a deep knowledge of the subject, profound sociological analysis, and convincing narrative style.”   Christopher R. Browning, author of Ordinary Men, explains that this book is “magnificent proof that a sensitive investigation of gender issues does not lead to trivialization and distortion in the service of some presumed agenda but rather to a much deeper encounter with the lived experience of the victims—both men and women—of this devastating and catastrophic event.”

The following are some additional comments about Resilience and Courage: Women, Men, and the Holocaust:

Resilence and Courage crowns Nechama Tec’s earlier scholarly research on the human condition in inhuman circumstances.  The author, herself a survivor, offers the most comprehensive and balanced perspective on the Holocaust as experienced by women and men in a wide range of environments.  Tec is a subtle but persistent interviewer who is able to detect and convey to us all possible nuances of meaning in testimonies and recollections given in various languages.”

                         Monika Adamczyk-Garbowska, Head of the Center for Jewish
                         Studies, Maria Curie-Sklodowska University, Lublin, Poland.


Resilience and Courage combines the awareness of the gender dimension in history with due respect for the centrality of the victims’ Jewishness and meticulous research of primary sources.  This book is a significant contribution to both Holocaust history and gender studies.  To the former it offers a disciplined application of the scholar’s duty to distinquish the distinctive experiences of Jewish woman and men; the insights are compelling.  To the latter it provides an impressive body of evidence on different yet intrinsically connected roles and plights of women and men under extreme deprivation, that is, on the human condition in extremis.  Nechama Tec once again shows her mastery in careful listening to survivors’ voices.”

                                             Dariusz Stola, Senior Research Historian at the Institute
                                             of Political Studies, Polish Academy of Science.


“Author of several path-breaking works on aspects of rescue and resistance during the Holocaust, Nechama Tec expands her scope to probe broader questions of gender differences in the treatment and experiences of Jewish victims, whether in ghettos, the camps, on the Aryan side, or with the partisans in the forests of Eastern Europe.  Basing her findings on wartime diaries, post-war memoirs, a variety of archival materials, and, above all, on extensive interviews with survivors, Tec emphasizes themes of bonding, social cooperation, and resilience in the face of omnipresent disaster.  A stirring and informative read.

                                                                                      Froma Zeitlin, Princeton University



Dimensions Online
Volume 18, No. 1, Fall 2004
Yehuda Bauer

Volume 17, No. 2, Fall 2003
Using Testimonies for Researching and Teaching about the Holocaust--Part II

Volume 17, No.1, Spring 2003
Using Testimonies for Researching and Teaching about the Holocaust-- Part I

Volume 16, No. 1, Fall 2002
Remembrance and Commemoration of Two Catastrophes: September 11th and the Holocaust

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