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Home U.S.A Court docket fines historian over claims of Holocaust survivor's lesbian affair

Court docket fines historian over claims of Holocaust survivor’s lesbian affair

A German court docket has fined a College of Warwick historian €4,000 (£3,675) for breaching an injunction in a authorized battle over claims {that a} Jewish focus camp prisoner had a lesbian affair with an SS guard, in response to a lawyer concerned within the case.

The motion follows a ruling by the Frankfurt regional court docket in April that Dr Anna Hájková, an affiliate professor of contemporary continental European historical past, had violated the dignity of the girl by claiming she had a sexual relationship with the Nazi guard whereas imprisoned in focus camps.

The ruling forbade Hájková from utilizing the Holocaust survivor’s full identify or {photograph} within the context of claiming that she had a sexual or lesbian relationship with the guard, with out her daughter’s permission. The girl died 10 years in the past.

A lawyer appearing for the lifeless lady’s daughter stated the effective was imposed as a result of materials by Hájková that breached this injunction remained on-line.

Dr Anna Hájková. {Photograph}: Warwick College

In the meantime one other Holocaust survivor, who shared a room with the lifeless lady in a Hamburg focus camp, instructed the Guardian she had by no means seen something to recommend her former fellow inmate had a sexual or bodily relationship with the guard.

The girl, Liese*, stated she witnessed all of the conferences between the guard and the opposite prisoner, Gerda*, whose bunk mattress was reverse her personal within the camp. “When [the guard] got here within the evenings she sat on [Gerda’s] bunk together with her again to me,” she stated. “I might see [Gerda’s] legs. They talked and typically laughed. However there was no probability of undressing or something like that. The guard left earlier than lights out.”

Liese beforehand described these encounters between the 2 girls in a memoir about her personal experiences of the Holocaust.

In her analysis in regards to the queer historical past of the Holocaust, Hájková argued that testimonies by survivors of the camps and authorized paperwork from the guard’s trial urged the 2 girls may need had a lesbian or queer relationship, both coercive or consensual. Her work acknowledged there was no particular proof of this.

Based on Hájková’s analysis, queer relationships in focus camps have been erased or omitted from historic accounts as a result of homophobia. Liese acknowledged that such relationships “weren’t unparalleled however in [Gerda’s] case it was not true”.

“A prisoner can not afford to reject a warden who’s fascinated with you,” she stated. “You hope she is going to show you how to to be put to simpler work and perhaps sneak some meals to them. It’s unthinkable that [Gerda] would refuse conferences [with the guard].”

Liese stated the ladies’s relationship was the topic of “titillating gossip” by some prisoners within the camp however stated they didn’t share the identical room as Gerda or have first-hand data of the conferences.

However she believes the guard was in love with Gerda as a result of when the prisoner was transferred to different camps, the final being Bergen-Belsen, the guard adopted her.

It was right here, close to the top of the warfare, that Liese noticed the 2 girls once more. “We have been sitting on the picket ground in a hut with no beds, no meals and no water, filled with lice and ready for our dying. We have been deserted by the employees, locked in and left to die.

“It was most unusual that [the guard] selected to enter such a horrible scenario. I believed she should be very a lot in love with [Gerda] to be able to endure a lot.”

Liese stated Hájková had by no means contacted her however stated she thought the historian should pay attention to her memoir of the Holocaust.

Underneath the German structure an individual’s repute is protected against hurt after their dying.

Gerda’s daughter referred to as on Warwick College to look at the testimony, which she believes confirms there was by no means any bodily or sexual relationship between her mom and the guard.

The daughter added: “The truth that Dr Hájková didn’t interview one of many few residing Holocaust survivors who witnessed the occasions she was researching was inexplicable. I used to be very disenchanted and indignant that she didn’t conduct her analysis professionally and prompted me a lot ache and misery.”

Hájková was approached for remark.

* Names have been modified.

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