Jessica Ravitz at CNN:
Scholars are revisiting old testimonies and documents — and seeking new ones. Authors have published works to inspire conversation. Psychologists want to help survivors heal from their secrets. Activists, including feminist writer and organizer Gloria Steinem, hope these victims of the distant past can help shape a better future.
But the topic of sexual violence during the Holocaust is fraught with controversy. Some observers believe it's a subject not sufficiently widespread or proven to warrant broad attention. Others fear it's driven by a microscopic view that deflects focus from what needs to be remembered. And still others feel that by pushing the issue, it may harm survivors who've suffered enough.
What everyone can agree on is this: When it comes to learning from those who lived through the Holocaust, time is running out.
A spotlight on this dark subject was switched on with the late 2010 publication of a landmark book bearing a straightforward but telling title, “Sexual Violence against Jewish Women during the Holocaust.”
The interdisciplinary anthology touches on everything from rape, forced prostitution and sterilizations to psychological trauma, gender identity issues and depictions of violence in the arts. Co-edited by Sonja Hedgepeth and Rochelle Saidel, it is believed to be the first book in English to focus exclusively on this subject.