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The Mark of CainGuilt and Denial in the Post-War Lives of Nazi Perpetrators$
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Katharina von Kellenbach

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199937455

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199937455.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 28 July 2021

“Naturally I Will Stand by My Husband”

“Naturally I Will Stand by My Husband”

marital love and loyalty

(p.163) 7 “Naturally I Will Stand by My Husband”
The Mark of Cain

Katharina von Kellenbach

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the moral complicity of wives. Loyalty was the hallmark of the National Socialist wife, a value system that extended to the Christian wife in the postwar world. Hence, SS wives underwent rigorous testing for their biological racial fitness and for their political reliability before they received permission to marry. They were usually politically committed to National Socialism in their supportive role as wives. After the war, the vast majority of SS wives stood by their husbands when they faced imprisonment and criminal trials. Only one wife in the archival record was profoundly shocked and experienced moral qualms when her husband was suddenly arrested and convicted for his activities in the extermination camp of Auschwitz. She had married after the war, in 1953, and had been unaware of his past. In her correspondence with Pastor Hermann Schlingensiepen she raised the possibility of divorce, which was immediately criticized by the Protestant minister. Should divorce be seen as a moral choice for women committed to the moral repair of their husbands?

Keywords:   women's complicity, women and national socialism, ss wives, feminist ethics, divorce

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