The House of Dolls

The House of Dolls

infobox Book |
name = The House of Dolls
title_orig =
translator = Moshe M. Kohn

image_caption = 1982 edition paperback cover
author = Ka-tzetnik 135633
illustrator =
cover_artist =
country = Israel
language = English translation from the original Hebrew
series =
genre = Novel
publisher = Simon & Schuster (first English edition)
release_date = 1955
english_release_date =
media_type = Print (Hardback & Paperback)
pages =
isbn = NA
preceded_by =
followed_by =

"The House of Dolls" is a 1955 novella by Ka-tzetnik 135633. The novella describes Joy Divisions, which were allegedly groups of Jewish women in the concentration camps during World War II who were kept for the sexual pleasure of Nazi soldiers.


The origin of Ka-tzetnik's story is not clear. Some say it is based on a diary kept by a young Jewish girl who was captured in Poland when she was fourteen years old and forced into sexual slavery in a Nazi labour camp. However the diary itself has not been located or verified to exist. Others claim, and the author suggests as much in his later book "Shivitti", that it is based on the actual history of Ka-Tzetnik's younger sister ("The House of Dolls" is about the sister of Ka-Tzetnik's protagonist, Harry Frelshnik).

Between 1942 and 1945, Auschwitz and nine other Nazi concentration camps contained brothels (Freudenabteilung 'Joy Division'), mainly used to reward cooperative non-Jewish inmates. [ [,1518,459704,00.html New Exhibition Documents Forced Prostitution in Concentration Camps] "Spiegel Online", 15 January 2007] [ [ Auschwitz, inside the Nazi state: Corruption] , PBS. Accessed 28 April 2007.] Not only prostitutes were forced to work there.In the documentary film, "Memory of the Camps", a project supervised by the British Ministry of Information and the American Office of War Information during the summer of 1945, camera crews filmed women who they stated were forced into sexual slavery for the use of guards and favored prisoners. The film makers stated that as the women died they were replaced by women from the concentration camp Ravensbrück. [ [ Memory of the Camps] , Frontline, PBS]

The book "Stella: One Woman's True Tale of Evil, Betrayal, and Survival in Hitler's Germany", a biography of Stella Goldschlag, says she was threatened with being forced into sexual slavery unless she cooperated with the Nazis. [ [] ]

Literature and scholarly references

In his essay "Narrative Perspectives on Holocaust Literature", Leon Yudkin uses "The House of Dolls" as one of his key examples of the ways in which authors have approached the holocaust, using the work as an example of "diaries (testimonies) that look like novels" due to its reliance on its author's own experiences.cite book |last=Yudkin |first=Leon |coauthors=various co-authors |editor=Leon Yudkin, ed. |title=Hebrew Literature in the Wake of the Holocaust |date=1993 |publisher=Fairleigh Dickinson University Press |isbn=0-838-63499-0 |pages=13-32 |chapter=Narrative Perspectives on Holocaust Literature]

Ronit Lenten discusses "The House of Dolls" in her work "Israel and the Daughters of the Shoah". In her book, Lenten interviews a child of Holocaust survivors who recalls "The House of Dolls" as one of her first exposures to the Holocaust. Lenten notes that the "explicit, painful" story made a huge impact when published and states that "many children of holocaust survivors who write would agree . . . that "House of Dolls" represents violence and sexuality in a manner which borders on the pornographic."cite book |last=Lenten |first=Ronit |title=Israel and the Daughters of the Shoah: Reoccupying the Territories of Silence |date=2000 |publisher=Berghahn Books |isbn=1-571-81775-1 |pages=33-34, 66 n. 4]

Na'ama Shik, researching at Yad Vashem, the principal Jewish organisation for the remembrance of the victims of the Holocaust, considers the book as fiction." [ Israel’s Unexpected Spinoff From a Holocaust Trial] ", Isabel Kershner, New York Times, September 6, 2007] Nonetheless, it is part of the Israeli high school curriculum.

The success of the book showed there was a market for Nazi exploitation popular literature, known in Israel as Stalags. However Yechiel Szeintuch from the Hebrew University rejects links between the smutty Stalags and K. Tzetnik's works which he insists were based on reality.

Popular culture

* Joy Division were an English post-punk band from 1976 to 1980, who took their name from the reference in this book. An early song, "No Love Lost," contains a short excerpt from the novella.

* "Love Camp 7" (1968), considered to be the first Nazi exploitation film, is set in a concentration camp "Joy Division."


Further reading

*Ka-tzetnik 135633. "The House of Dolls". ISBN 1-85958-506-X.
*Wyden, Peter. "Stella: One Woman's True Tale of Evil, Betrayal, and Survival in Hitler's Germany". ISBN 0-385-47179-3.

ee also

* Sexual enslavement by the Nazi state in WWII
* Comfort women
* Sexual slavery
* Recreation and Amusement Association
* German war crimes
* Japanese war crimes

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