(Polish-Americans similarly observed one minute of silence on July 30, 1942 as a “solemn protest against the unspeakable outrages inflicted on Polish women by the Germans.” Read the coverage here: NYT re Day of Protest 1942-07-30.) Three months earlier, the first transport of 127 women, mostly political prisoners, had arrived at Auschwitz, but women had been directly victimized since the start of war in 1939.

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Polish women were classified as inferiors, but their children by German men received German citizenship rights.

And because the targets of these rapes were primarily gentiles, some women tried to hide their true identity by wearing the Star of David to avoid being targeted as sex victims.

We Polish girls in Germany serve only as mattresses for Nazi soldiers. There isn’t a night that goes by where one of us isn’t executed. I am very sick, and cannot walk.” The tragedy of mass rape was well documented by the Polish language press in Canada and the United States.

News reports made plain the fact that rape was used to breed out the Poles.

Stories of women on the front lines are usually confined to the realm of Nightingale-esque nurses.

Rarely do we hear of civilian women as targets in war, a means of ethnic cleansing.What is less known is the impact of war on women and children.We have tales of heroic feminine efficiency on the home front, including rationing, growing freedom gardens, upholding morale, and working in the factories – Bomb Girls comes to mind.More attention to this truly moving piece is worthwhile when discussing the plight of women during WWII.Isaacson recalls back to 1976 when she, then Dean of Students at Bates College, was asked to give a talk at Bowdoin College following a screening of Night and Fog.During her time in Auschwitz when she was a girl of nineteen, she vividly pictured not only recording her experiences after the war, but also fantasized about them turning into a Hollywood film.