Refusing the unacceptable : the women of the Association nationale des anciennes déportées et internées de la Résistance (ADIR) / by Debra Workman.
This study recounts the postwar experiences of one group of women who were either imprisoned in France or deported to the Nazi concentration camps as political prisoners for their acts of resistance during the Second World War. At the war's end, the survivors founded the Association Nationale des Anciennes Déportées et Internées de la Résistance (ADIR) to aid in their recovery and reintegration into French society and, most important, to maintain the bonds of friendship forged under the stresses of war. The ADIR bridged the deep social and political postwar differences of its members, enabling it to evolve into an effective pressure group and to become the principal outlet for their continued social and political activism. During its sixty-one year history, the ADIR, led by an eighteen member administrative council, influenced not only public opinion and state policies in France, but developed an international significance as well, waging a successful worldwide campaign to secure compensation for the victims of Nazi medical experiments.This study, based on both archival materials and oral testimonies, argues that for the women of the ADIR, the war remained a defining moment in their lives and that their experiences of resistance and imprisonment affected, either by choice or necessity, their postwar behaviors and attitudes in more significant and lasting ways than previously appreciated. Yet, paradoxically, the women did not view their political activism as a watershed, offering new opportunities to prove their abilities or to assume non-traditional gender roles. Rather they interpreted their non-traditional actions, both in wartime and during the postwar years, as appropriate and natural for patriotic citizens---male or female---when confronting a war and the lingering issues that accompany national defeat and occupation. The experiences of the women of the ADIR clearly did not typify those of most women in France. Yet an examination of the unique attributes and contributions of the ADIR demonstrates the gendered complexities and nuances of women's political and social participation in postwar France as well as sheds light on the question of the lasting influence of the Second World War.
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