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Partisanas: Women in the Armed Resistance to Fascism and German Occupation (1936-1945)


4.0 average, based on 1 reviews

Manufacturer: AK Press

Product Information

Common stereotypes of women during wartime relegate them to the sidelines of history - to supporting roles like dutiful munitions factory workers or devoted wives waiting for their men to return home. The truth is that much of the armed resistance to fascism, before and during World War II, can be chalked up to women about whom official accounts have little or nothing to say. Through years of intrepid research and numerous interviews with the participants themselves, Ingrid Strobl excavates the history of the women who shouldered guns, planned assassinations, planted bombs, and were among the era's most active antifascist fighters. Strobl's commitment to and respect for her subjects has resulted in a work of both scholarly rigour and emotional depth. Weaving moving personal narratives into the broader history of the European resistance, Partisanas is both a detailed historical account and an investigation into what compelled women to reject their traditional roles to take up arms in a fight for a better world. This first English-language edition was translated by Paul Sharkey.

"The issues raised by the book—the ways women, in struggling together with others for broader freedoms, were effectively required to challenge traditional roles, and the ways those challenges were resisted, accepted and or incorporated—take on ever more resonance in the contemporary world. For, of course, women have been active in armed resistance, not only in Europe, but also in Algeria, Kuwait, Iraq, Palestine, Nicaragua, Argentina, Peru, and Mexico. The list goes on, but attention to the ways women's participation shapes broader movements and changes the lives of those women is still relatively uncommon. If this book highlights those questions again, and leads others to explore further the multiple dimensions of resistance and its multilayered impacts on participants, it will make a further, and continuing, contribution both to scholarship and to political struggle."—Martha Ackelsberg (author of Free Women of Spain), from the Foreword.

Ingrid Stroblis a filmmaker, lecturer, and writer living in Cologne, Germany.

AK Press, 2008.

Product Code: 9781904859697

Customer Reviews

Average Rating: 4


This is a really good book. Buy it and buy it now. Reading about women who took up arms in resistance to a seemingly invincible and unflinchingly brutal Nazi state is awe inspiring. This is mainly because it destroys the myth that women are passive observers and/or victims of war and genocide alongside the myth of complete submission to Nazism and Fascism, even in the midst of its jackbooted heel. In particular the sections on the ghettos in Eastern Europe are very eye opening showing a courageous, yet often too late and thus futile, resistance that is rarely referred to in holocaust literature that often prefers to focus on how brutal the Nazi state was (duh) and tries to explain why and how it did what it did, rather than examine how it was resisted by, amongst others, Jews and women with either minimal or no help from the 'democracies'. The only problem I had with it (and why I gave it 4 stars instead of 5) is that, as the preface identifies, it lacks referenceto Anarchist women in the Spanish section and it could have been much more critical of Communist parties. The main reference to any criticisms are when they shut down armed resistence to occupation due to the politicial considerations of the Soviet Union and many female members ignored this and carried on blowing shit up and assasinating Nazi officers anyway. Heady stuff. Aside from that this book is quite simply stunning, particularly the way it refers to the methods by which many of the women balanced carrying out violent acts against other human beings using guns and bombs and simultaneously fought to retain their humanity. Tob job.

Anonymous :: May 04 2010, 18:44 PM

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