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Working title of PhD: Norwegian Nurses in the Service of the Third Reich: A Criminological Study of Atrocity Perpetration and Claims to Victimhood

Institution: University of Edinburgh

Full or Part time: Full time

Year commenced: 2023

Supervisors: Dr Andy Aydin-Aitchison and Dr Tereza Valny

Funding source: Scottish Graduate School of Social Science (SGSSS)


My project focuses on two very different groups of nurses who shared similar experiences of punishment after the Second World War for serving the Third Reich. After the war, German nurses were convicted for the murders of mentally and physically disabled Germans in a twisted form of “care”. Norwegian nurses in the German Red Cross on the other hand were convicted for treason for working for the Third Reich on the Eastern Front. I will take one sub-set of Norwegian nurses in The Red Cross as my core focus and by locating them within an organisational context, seeking to identify their role in atrocity perpetration. I will use the Norwegian archives as a source of primary data. By using Norwegian and Danish archives, and secondary sources, to build a picture of these two groups of women, and to examine them in relation to each other, my project will seek to better understand female participation of perpetration during times of atrocity, but also, by using the organisation of the Red Cross as a frame, explain how an organisation dedicated to humanitarian activity came to serve anti-humanitarian regime.

This project will use archival material and apply criminological theories and
concepts to answer the main research question: What explains Norwegian nurses’ contribution to Nazi atrocity crime in their role as part of the German Red Cross?

Keywords: Atrocity Criminology, Holocaust, Gender



University of Edinburgh

Research Themes

Globalisation, Harm and Social Justice

Gender, Crime and Criminal Justice

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