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Marta Havryshko

Gerda Henkel – Research Fellow (2/2021 – 9/2021)


War on Women’s Bodies. Sexual Violence during the Holocaust in Ukraine


Web HavryshkoSexual violence was one of the most horrific parts of women’s everyday lives during the Holocaust. This research project analyses the causes, patterns, dynamics, and consequences of sexual violence against Jewish women and girls during the Shoah in Ukraine using a gender approach. The main questions under consideration include: Was sexual violence a by-product or rather a tool of genocide? How and why could rape be considered an instrument of terror, humiliation, punishment, revenge, dehumanisation, demonstrating power, bonding among perpetrators, and constructing gender roles? What is sexual about sexual violence in the Holocaust? The project analyses how cultural ideas and discourses about the body, sexuality, reproduction, and ethnic, racial, national, religious, and political identity as well as positions of power contributed to perpetrators’ motivations and strategies for sexual violence, as well as victims’/survivors’ experiences of these processes. The project seeks to create a meaningful space for Jewish women’s voices and perspectives.


Marta Havryshko is a Research Associate at the I. Krypiakevych Institute of Ukrainian Studies at the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. Her research interests include sexual violence during the Holocaust and the Second World War, gender history, and nationalism. In 2019/20, she was a fellow at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Her research has been supported by Yad Vashem, the German Academic Exchange Service, Yahad-In Unum, Monash University, and others.


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June 2024
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The Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies (VWI) is funded by:


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