Date of Award

Spring 2015

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


History and Economics

First Advisor

Allison Rodriguez

Second Advisor

Samuel Kassow

Third Advisor

Dario Euraque


This Thesis, by examining the roles of three Nazi women, Herta Oberheuser, Irma Grese, and Ilse Koch, as well as understanding the various women’s programs that helped to cultivate and further racism and violence against Jews and others “unworthy of life,” aims to paint a more complete picture of the true role played by Nazi women during the second world war, as well as argue that women were not only victims of the Nazi regime, nor were they solely bystanders. Rather, this thesis will demonstrate that women were not only complicit, but were also accomplices, aiding German men in facilitating the Nazi Final Solution. The few women who were tried were not really exceptional, nor did they lack “innate feminine virtues,” classically assigned to women at the time, but rather they were excited about the new opportunities made available to them, resulting from a sort of sadistic feminism. Operating within the intrusively patriarchal society, many Nazi women felt the need to prove that they were just as capable as Nazi men, and found a way to do so under the very system that murdered their victims and oppressed German men and women alike.


Senior thesis completed at Trinity College for the degree of Bachelor of Arts in History and Economics