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Probing power dynamics: relations between female medical staff in Ravensbrück concentration camp


16 Mar 2022, 5:00pm





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This lecture will examine the relationships between individual female medical staff and prisoner infirmary workers at Ravensbrück concentration camp, an institution designated to intern women deemed racially, politically or socially ‘undesirable’.

Drawing on survivor testimony and court documentation, Dr Docking will contend that while prisoner hospital workers were rendered hierarchically subordinate to female doctors and nurses, there was nonetheless a diverse spectrum of interactions between individual female medical personnel and prisoner medical workers. These encounters ranged from professional working relationships to, on occasion, friendly encounters, revealing that complex and lesser-known power dynamics were also at play in Ravensbrück.

Dr Kate Docking is a Research Associate in the Department of History at the University of Hamburg, working on the European Research Council funded project entitled ‘Taming the European Leviathan: The Legacy of Post-War Medicine and the Common Good’. Kate’s research examines the experiences of the female medical personnel at Ravensbrück concentration camp, and she was recently published in the journal, German History.