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Claudia Ann Koonz is an American feminist historian of Nazi Germany. Her principle area of interest is the experience of women during the Nazi era.

Koonz first came to fame in 1969 with a dissertation on Walther Rathenau. She was awarded a PhD from Rutgers Universitymarker in 1970. She has taught at the College of the Holy Crossmarker in Worcester, Massachusettsmarker and at Duke Universitymarker.

Koonz is best known for documenting the appeal of Nazism to German women, and that German women played an enthusiastic role in supporting the Nazi regime. Koonz has established that the leaders of German feminist groups were happy to go along with Gleichschaltung. Koonz has noted that female supporters of the Nazis accepted the Nazi division of the sexes into a public sphere for men and a private sphere for women. Koonz has claimed that women involved in resistance activities were more likely to escape notice owing to the 'masculine' values of the Third Reich. Another notable claim made by Koonz is that women who most successfully asserted themselves in the Third Reich were also the women who violated the norms of civilized society such as Ilse Koch. Koonz maintains that only women who were opposed to Nazism 100% can be considered to be a resistance; those women who protested against sterilization and the Action T4 program, but who did not protest the deportation of Jews to death camps are not considered by Koonz to be part of the resistance. Koonz's views have often had her pitted against Gisela Bock in battle some have referred to as the Historikerinnenstreit (Women Historians' Dispute).


Koonz is one of the "Group of 88" professors who, in the wake of the Lacrosse players scandalmarker, signed a controversial letter thanking protesters for "making a collective noise" on "what happened to this young woman." The letter has been widely criticized as a prejudgment since no sexual assault occurred.The charges against the players were eventually dismissed and the District Attorney who prosecuted the case, Michael Nifong, was disbarred.


  • co-written with Renate Bridenthal "Beyond Kinder, Küche, Kirche: Weimar Women in Politics and Work" from Liberating Women's History: Theoretical and Critical Essays edited by Berenice Carroll, 1976.
  • "Conflicting Allegiances: Political Ideology and Women Legislators in Weimar Germany" pages 663-683 from Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, Volume 1, 1976.
  • co-edited with Renate Bidenthal Becoming Visible: Women in European History, 1977, revised edition 1987.
  • Mothers in the Fatherland: Women, the Family, and Nazi Politics, 1986.
  • "Ethical Dilemmas and Nazi Eugenics: Single-Issue Dissent in Religious Contexts" pages S8-S31 from Journal of Modern History, Volume 64, 1992.
  • The Nazi Conscience Cambridge, Mass.: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2003


  3. JPG of Listening Statement
  4. Video of protesters

Further sources

  • Gordon, Linda "Review of Mothers in the Fatherland" pp. 97-105 from Feminist Review, Volume 27, 1987.
  • Mason, Tim "Review of Mothers in the Fatherland" pp. 200-202 from History Workshop Journal, Volume 26, Autumn 1988.

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