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The Women in the Castle


A nuanced portrait of war, and of three women haunted by the past and the...
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Discuss The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck:
Are women like Marianne, Benita, and Ania victims, or do they bear responsibility for Hitler's rise to power? How accountable are individuals for their leaders? Why do you think Marianne saw Hitler for what he was when others did not?

Created: 02/10/18

Replies: 7

Posted Feb. 10, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 1584

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Are women like Marianne, Benita, and Ania victims, or do they bear responsibility for Hitler's rise to power? How accountable are individuals for their leaders? Why do you think Marianne saw Hitler for what he was when others did not?

Do you think women like Marianne, Benita, and Ania were victims, or do you feel they bear responsibility for Hitler's rise to power and consequently their own plights, post-war? How accountable are individuals for their leaders? What about resisters like Marianne and her circle? Why do you think she saw the true monster that Hitler was when many others did not?


Posted Feb. 12, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
alycet

Join Date: 04/23/12

Posts: 101

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RE: Are women like Marianne, Benita, and Ania victims, or do they bear responsibility for Hitler's rise to power? How accountable are individuals for their leaders? Why do you think Marianne saw Hitler for what he was when others did not?

I had a German professor in college who was of the Jewish faith. While he was 6-8 years old, he said he marched behind the military parades with their big oompah bands. He said they were exciting and everyone wanted to participate and wave flags. Fortunately his family escaped before the atrocities.


Posted Feb. 13, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
marilynj

Join Date: 08/07/11

Posts: 39

RE: Are women like Marianne, Benita, and Ania victims, or do they bear responsibility for Hitler's rise to power? How accountable are individuals for their leaders? Why do you think Marianne saw Hitler for what he was when others did not?

It isn't difficult to be a victim; we can all be duped; and it is difficult to step out from the crowd and see events in a different light. On the news this morning was a woman who was duped by someone who wasn't who he said he was on an online dating service. She gave him over a million dollars. I see these situations every day--people being mislead and scammed by somebody. I rant inwardly and ask how this can happen to supposedly intelligent, thoughtful people.

Hitler was a scammer, using today's word, and at first, a charismatic individual who fooled many unsuspecting people. Who of us can say that she would definitely see through someone like him or some clever person on a dating service or on her telephone? I like to think I'm smart and way too savvy to fall for some "kool-aid" plot cooked up by a man with a vision; however, until we have been placed in that position, how do we know what we will do or allow?

There are many Anias and Benitas and few Mariannes. There are many more ordinary people who are content to allow the few Mariannes to do what is right, to right wrongs. Too many women allow themselves to be victims because of the lack of knowledge or the courage or because they are in circumstances about which they have little power to control. We all bear responsibility and accountability for our leaders, and more of us are now beginning to use our power and intelligence to speak out against injustice and wrongdoing.

My grown, middle-aged children don't understand when I say I did or didn't do something because it was in a different time. People were different then. Marianne had support in Albrecht and Connie and others in her privileged social circle. Ania relied mostly on herself and Benita chose a different path. She hadn't the strength of either Marianne or Ania.

My husband and I often discuss television and newspaper journalists from totally opposite perspectives. I consider them heroes for being our watchdogs and speaking out, for ferreting out the truth and wrongdoing, even if they are sometimes tiresome and over-report. Many of them are the Mariannes of our era, and they battle despite their fears.


Posted Feb. 14, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
JLPen77

Join Date: 02/05/16

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RE: Are women like Marianne, Benita, and Ania victims, or do they bear responsibility for Hitler's rise to power? How accountable are individuals for their leaders? Why do you think Marianne saw Hitler for what he was when others did not?

Bravo, Marilyn J!
In one sense, they -- we-- are all responsible for what we can control: our own actions or failure to act in the face of evil. That said, we are not all equally blessed with the luxury of being able to do as Marianne did. Her position of privilege enabled her, first of all, to see and learn things others did not know for many years--Hitler was a master at propaganda. Then, she had the economic means to offer help where others had to starve or prostitute themselves to survive and protect their children. People in survival mode do not usually have the inner strength and focus nor the background to envision ways they might organize and act to resist, and many of them may lack the education/worldly knowledge to see through the propaganda. That was the situation then, especially for women, and it's unfortunately the situation in America today, with its growing inequality, fake news and its rise of nationalistic, white supremacist politics, for so many people. Let those of us who can do so shoulder our responsibility to act, imitating Marianne's courage but not her lack of empathy for those who don't see as clearly as she could.


Posted Feb. 15, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
dianac

Join Date: 04/02/13

Posts: 38

RE: Are women like Marianne, Benita, and Ania victims, or do they bear responsibility for Hitler's rise to power? How accountable are individuals for their leaders? Why do you think Marianne saw Hitler for what he was when others did not?

I don't think any of the women were victims, nor were they portrayed as such. I am not so sure that Marianne saw Hitler for what he was but rather took her husband's word and the word of his colleagues. If you believe they bear any responsibility for Hitler's rise to power then you must also believe Americans bear responsibility for the politicians they elect.


Posted Feb. 16, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
carolt

Join Date: 03/25/17

Posts: 23

RE: Are women like Marianne, Benita, and Ania victims, or do they bear responsibility for Hitler's rise to power? How accountable are individuals for their leaders? Why do you think Marianne saw Hitler for what he was when others did not?

Everyone bore responsibility, but not everyone stood up even later to admit it. As we can see now, the vast majority don't think they can do anything so they don't.


Posted Feb. 19, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
laurap

Join Date: 06/19/12

Posts: 215

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RE: Are women like Marianne, Benita, and Ania victims, or do they bear responsibility for Hitler's rise to power? How accountable are individuals for their leaders? Why do you think Marianne saw Hitler for what he was when others did not?

Like the rest of us, these women could only control their own actions. That said, Benita and Ania chose to go along, and even to actively support Hitler's rise because he was exciting and said what they wanted to hear. Marianne, from a position of privilege, heard a different message, and chose a different response. None of them wanted the consequences of their actions as things played out, but all were at least a bit responsible for what happened -- Marianne for the results of the plot, and Benita and Ania for the state they supported.


Posted Feb. 19, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
leopolds

Join Date: 11/13/17

Posts: 11

RE: Are women like Marianne, Benita, and Ania victims, or do they bear responsibility for Hitler's rise to power? How accountable are individuals for their leaders? Why do you think Marianne saw Hitler for what he was when others did not?

i think Marianne was closest to it all due to her husband’s role who didn’t hide information from her. She also had the wealth as a comfort behind her.


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