Date of Award

Spring 2019

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


LACS: German Studies

First Advisor

Johannes Evelein


Since the end of World War II, scholarship on the Third Reich has focused predominantly on men. Recent developments in the field have brought women into view, but their roles, motivations, and contributions remain under-researched. The SS-Helferinnenkorps, created for the dual purpose of relieving male communications staff for service on the front and establishing a vetted group of women embodying Himmler’s weibliche Ideal, has remained largely overlooked, and the little serious scholarship available presents the organization as a separate unit. To fill gaps in the research as well as bring about an understanding of the SS-Helferinnenkorps in the context of the greater SS and Nazi society, I first examine the organization’s origins, purpose, and lifespan. Drawing on previous scholarship and original archival research, I then argue that the SS-Helferinnenkorps consisted of three distinct phases, reflective of its three commanders. To demonstrate the real-world effects of these periods, I examine the careers of three SS-Helferinnen at Auschwitz, each representative of a distinct era in the organization’s history. I conclude with a discussion of culpability in the context of recent German war crimes trials against SS-Helferinnen.


Senior thesis completed at Trinity College, Hartford, CT for the degree of Bachelor of Arts in German Studies.