March is Women’s History Month. In the introduction to her book entitled Women in the Holocaust, Wiener Holocaust Library trustee Professor Zoe Waxman highlights that ‘women’s lives in the Holocaust were different, and they were different because they were women’. Women experienced the Third Reich in a variety of different and often surprising ways.

‘Obligations and Tasks of Women in the National Socialist State’

In our article exploring the everyday lives of women on our educational website, The Holocaust Explained, we delve into the different ways in which women were central to the Nazis’ vision of the Third Reich, and their participation and resistance to the regime.

According to Nazi ideology, a woman’s place was in the home. In their approach to German women, the Nazis’ emphasised three traditional guiding principles: Küche, Kinder and Kirche (kitchen, children and church).

However, women were also often central to resistance movements. Those women who opposed the Nazis’ beliefs and actions took part in activities to resist and undermine the regime. Sophie Scholl , for example, a student at the University of Munich, was a member of the anti-Nazi resistance group the White Rose. In 1943, Scholl was arrested alongside her brother Hans Scholl, imprisoned and then executed by the Nazis for her resistance to the regime.

A popular cookbook entitled ‘Basic Recipes as a key to the Art of Cooking’, published in 1931, and belonging to a German Jewish woman, Jeanette Herz

The article utilises numerous fascinating objects from our archive, including this pamphlet, entitled ‘Obligations and Tasks of Women in the National Socialist State’, which contains a copy of a speech given by Gertrud Scholtz-Klink (leader of the National Socialist Women’s League) at the Nazi Reich Party Congress in October 1936.

Other objects displayed included this cookbook, which belonged to Jeanette Herz, a German Jewish woman who emigrated to England shortly before the Second World War.

Those teaching about daily life in Nazi Germany, women in the Third Reich and women’s resistance to the Nazis this month can find free articles, sources and downloadable resources via the Holocaust Explained now.