Introduction

The bibliography provides information on writings dealing with the history of rape, including sexual child abuse, sexual harassment, sexual molestation, child prostitution, forced prostitution, sexual slavery, sexual(ized) violence. The blog informs about calls for papers, forthcoming events and new literature in this field.

March 2, 2013

ART: Sexual Barter in Times of Genocide: Negotiating the Sexual Economy of the Theresienstadt Ghetto

Author: Anna Hájková
Title: Sexual Barter in Times of Genocide
Subtitle: Negotiating the Sexual Economy of the Theresienstadt Ghetto
Journal: Signs.
Volume: 38
Issue: 3
Year: Spring 2013
Pages: 503-533
ISSN: 0097-9740 - eISSN: 1545-6943
Language: English
Full Text: JSTOR [Restricted Access]

Abstract: »Conditions in the transit ghetto of Theresienstadt, which existed between 1941 and 1945, generated a system in which female sexual and social favors were deliberately traded for food, protection, and symbolic capital within the inmates’ society. Scholars analyzing the sexuality of Holocaust victims have so far only focused on sexual violence (including forced prostitution) or romantic relationships. Love and sexuality have been understood as either a refuge mechanism or a form of oppression. Using Theresienstadt as a case study, this essay calls a third form into focus: consensual sexual barter. Based on extensive archival material, this study examines the wide range of exchanges: many of the interactions did not include sex acts but rather sexualized or social favors. Suggesting the concept of sexual barter rather than the narrow definition of prostitution points to changes in social practices and patterns: commodification of sexuality and relationships, and sexualization of the ghetto economy. Analyzing bartered sexuality identifies gender values as well as social hierarchies in the ghetto society. Moreover, the findings reveal the gendered character of power mechanisms and the underlying structures of the prisoners’ society. Close examination of sexual barter in Theresienstadt highlights the communication within and status of various national groups of Jews from central and western Europe as well as generational segments. Finally, this article discusses the importance of the postwar sexualized narratives.« [Source: Signs]