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The Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies (VWI) organises academic events in order to provide the broader public as well as an expert audience with regular insights into the most recent research results in the fields of Holocaust, genocide, and racism research. These events, some of which extend beyond academia in the stricter sense, take on different formats ranging from small lectures to the larger Simon Wiesenthal Lectures and from workshops addressing an expert audience to larger international conferences and the Simon Wiesenthal Conferences. This reflects the institute’s wide range of activities.


The range of events further extends to the presentation of selected new publications on the institute’s topics of interest, interventions in the public space, the film series VWI Visuals, and the fellows’ expert colloquia.



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VWI invites/goes to...
Franziska A. Karpinski: Masculinity, Honour, and Shame in the SS. Leadership Views and Regimes of Punishment

Wednesday, 28. February 2018, 15:00 - 17:00

Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies (VWI), 1010 Vienna, Rabensteig 3, 3rd Floor


VWI invites the Department of English and American Studies – University of Vienna

Based on a close reading of archival material, such as SS directives, SS court documents, private letters, and internal correspondence amongst the SS leadership, and drawing on perpetrator research, I illuminate how the concepts of collective and individual honour and masculinity were defined, negotiated, and practiced within the SS. In addition, I explore how these concepts fuelled violent peer interaction. This discussion will be embedded in the socio-political conditions of the 'Third Reich', which in turn fostered a radicalisation of concepts such as honour and masculinity in terms of their valence and definition. The SS nourished a soldierly and self-sacrificing form of masculinity, persecuting more civilian patterns thereof.

heydrich1939Moreover, honour and masculinity became state-sanctioned entities woven into Nazism’s fabric, its judicial, social, and political institutions. Consequently, honourable behaviour and unconditional loyalty to the cause of Nazism was especially demanded within the SS, which conceived of itself as an elite order of political soldiers in the service of Nazism. Within this framework, I specifically examine the following questions: What was considered 'SS-worthy' behaviour? What virtues and ideals did the SS leadership prescribe for SS members? How were masculinity and honour appropriated by the SS and woven into mandatory SS directives? Why, how, and with what consequences did this appropriation happen? What mechanisms were created in order to translate masculinity and honour into entities informing SS peer interaction? What punitive and shaming measures were used in order to weed out the dishonourable? To answer these questions, I will also highlight how shame and shaming within the framework of the SS functioned as a tool of social control and punishment. An analysis of honour, masculinity, and emotional dynamics within the SS can help us understand its processes of radicalization and its immensely violent and (self-)destructive nature.

Commented by Ranthild Salzer

Franziska A. Karpinski is currently Junior Fellow at the VWI, she received her B.A. in North American Studies at the Free University in Berlin (2011), her M.A. in Holocaust and Genocide Studies (with Distinction) at the University of Amsterdam (2012). She has been a Ph.D. candidate at Loughborough University since 2014. Her latest publication is Sexual Violence in the Nazi Genocide – Law, Gender and Ideology, in: Uğur Ümit Üngör, Genocide. New Perspectives on its Causes, Courses and Consequences, Amsterdam 2016.

Ranthild Salzer is an assistant lecturer for cultural studies at the Department of English and American Studies of Vienna University, where she is currently writing her Ph.D. on the constructions and negotiations of masculinities in North-American comics. Her current research interests include psychoanalysis, comic studies, film and television studies, popular cultures, gender studies and body studies. Her latest publications are: Tracing Masculinities in Joe Sacco's Palestine (2001), in: Rebecca Klütsch, Sina A. Nitzsche, Stefan Schlensag (Eds.), Breaking the Panel: Comics as a Medium, Wien 2015 and Anti-Colonial Discourse in Joe Sacco’s Palestine: Making Space for the Losers of History, in: Maarit Piipponen, Mark Salmela (Eds.), Topographies of Popular Culture, Newcastle 2016.

Please register under This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and bring your ID with you.

 Click here to download the invitiation as a PDF file.

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