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RAPE OF GERMAN WOMEN: After Germany lost the Second World War

Berlin women, it seems, were short of food, but well provided with poison. There were instances of mass-suicide by poison. The actor Paul Bildt and some twenty others dispatched themselves thus, only he woke again and lived for another dozen years. His daughter was among the dead. Attesting once more to the incidence of suicide among the nobles, especially those who lived on isolated estates in the Mark Brandenburg, the writer cites a number of cases showing how far the old families would go to protect the dignity of their daughters: death was preferable to dishonour. 
After The Reich by Giles Macdonogh P 99

The film Eine Frau in Berlin "A woman in Berlin ", based on the bestselling book of the same name conjures up images of one of the most brutal pages from the past: sexual violence against German women at the end of World War II.

The book, supposedly written by the Berlin journalist Marta Hillers (1911-2001) - first appeared in English in 1954, and in 2003 became a surprise bestseller. It tells of the capture of the capital of the Reich by the Red Army and unprecedented sexual exploitation and repression of German girls and women.

A book by journalist Ingeborga Jacobs of the television station ZDF called "Game" in which she has collected interviews of sexually abused in 1945 women and their contemporaries corroborates the claims.

Insulting the honor of German women. Ordinary women who had nothing to do with the Nazi government. Was it fair?
And the Americans looked away.

Many of these women, continues the author, spoke for the first time about the horrific events. Because the victims of sexual violence are often silent - out of shame and fear of the reactions of their relatives and friends of men, therefore, the exact number of women subjected to violence by the Soviet military, is unknown.

Soviet soldiers were guided by the call: "to crush by force the racial arrogance of the German women! Take them as deserved trophy! "

These mass rapes were one of the greatest crimes against women throughout history. Rapists were mainly Red Army soldiers, many of them - non-white soldiers from the Asian republics of the Soviet Union.. However, unfortunately, it must be said that many rapists, were American soldiers. They certainly behaved like animals, but they had official sanction. The European women of those nations that had been allies of Nazi Germany were targeted too.

Millions of women victims raped by Russian soldiers during the last months of World War II. Anthony Beevor's book "Berlin -- The Downfall 1945" documents rape by Russian soldiers. "Beevor's conclusions are that in response to the vast scale of casualties inflicted on them by the Germans the Soviets responded in kind, and that included rape on a vast scale. It started as soon as the Red Army entered East Prussia and Silesia in 1944, and in many towns and villages every female aged from 10 to 80 was raped." The author "was 'shaken to the core' to discover that even their own Russian and Polish women and girls liberated from German concentration camps were also violated." Until recent years, East German women from the World War II era referred to the Red Army war memorial in Berlin as "the Tomb of the Unknown Rapist."

The Rapes had started already....

Dr. Austin J. App (, professor and specialist in English literature at the Catholic University Skrentonskom Lasallskom University and College, which, among others, risked his career and livelihood, brought out the truth. When, in April 1946, he published his work, which is based on the article, "The Rape of Women conquered Europe "(Ravishing the Women of Conquered Europe), he was a lone voice calling for justice in America.

When the Red Army moved into Germany in 1945, Berlin war a city virtually without men. Of the civilian population 27,00,000 people 20,00,000 were women. It was not surprising that fear of rape resounded through the city. Women besieged doctors, looking for information about the fastest ways to commit suicide. Various poisons were in great demand.

In Berlin Soviet soldiers broke into the charitable institution Delem House, a maternity hospital and orphanage, and repeatedly raped pregnant women and also women who had just given birth. Nobody knows exactly how many women were raped, but doctors estimate, in Berlin alone no less than 100,000 women, aged from 10 to 70 years, were raped.

British prisoners of war, returning from the British-occupied zone of Germany, "In the area around our internment camps, in Schlawe, Lauenburg, Buckow, Soviet soldiers raped every woman and girl between 12 and 60 years. Fathers and husbands who tried to protect the women were shot, and girls who resisted, were murdered.

Red Army soldiers raped at the end of World War II and in the period after the war over two million German women. Approximately ten to twelve percent of the women died of injuries, were murdered or committed suicide.

The mentality was to 'dishonour' the women of the enemy.

March 24, 1945, the Soviet army entered Danzig. A 50-year-old Danzig teacher reported that her niece, aged 15, was raped seven times, and another niece, 22 years old, was raped fifteen times. A Soviet officer told a group of women to seek refuge in the cathedral. When they gathered there, the Soviet soldiers went in and accompanied with the sounds of bells and organ, "celebrated" foul orgy through the night raping the women, some more than thirty times. A Catholic pastor in Danzig, testified: "They raped even 8-year-old girls, and killed those boys who tried to shield their mothers." His Eminence Archbishop Bernard Griffin, British (Bernard Griffin) who toured Europe, reported: "In Vienna alone they raped 100 000 women, not once but many times, including 10 year old girls and old women."

A day after the capture of Neisse, Silesia, Soviet troops raped 182 Catholic nuns. In one of the convents the Mother Superior and her assistant were shot dead, when they they tried to protect young nuns. In the journal "North America" (Nord Amerika) from 1 November 1945, one priest reported that he knew "several villages where all the women, even elderly women and girls of twelve years, were raped by Soviet soldiers for several weeks."



Just inside the east Prussian border with Soviet occupied Lithuania, the town of Nemmersdorf was the first to fall (temporarily) into the hands of the victorious Soviet Army.
Overrun by General Gatlitsky's 11th Guards Army, his soldiers, crazy with bloodlust, set about raping, looting and killing with such ferocity that eventually discipline had to be restored to force the soldiers back to fighting the war. From buildings, Russian signs were hung which read 'Soldiers! Majdanek does not forgive. Take revenge without mercy!'. When the Soviet 4th Army took over the town five days later, hardly a single inhabitant remained alive. Women were found nailed to barn doors after being stripped naked and gang raped, their bodies then used for bayonet practice. Many women, and girls as young as eight years old, were raped so often and brutally that they died from this abuse alone. Children were shot indiscriminately and all those trying to flee were crushed to death under the treads of the Soviet tanks. Forty French prisoners-of-war were shot on the spot as spies after welcoming the Red Army as liberators. Seventy one women and one man were found in houses, all dead. All the women, including girls aged from eight to twelve, had been raped.

In other East Prussian villages within the triangle Gumbinnen-Goldap-Ebenrode, the same scenes were witnessed, old men and boys being castrated and their eyes gouged out before being killed or burned alive. In nearby Metgethen, a suburb of Königsberg, recaptured by the German 5th Panzer Division, around 60 women were found in a demented state in a large villa. They had been raped on average 60 to 70 times a day. In nearly every home, the bodies of women and children were found raped and murdered. The bodies of two young women were found, their legs had been tied one limb each between two trucks, and then torn apart when the trucks were driven away in opposite directions. At Metgethen railway station, a refugee train from Konigsberg, consisting of seven passenger coaches, was found and in each compartment seven to nine bestially mutilated bodies were discovered. To the Russians, refugee trains were ideal sources of women and booty. In the town of Niesse in Silesia, 182 Catholic nuns were raped and debauched daily by the Russians. In the town of Demmin in Mecklenburg, German troops destroyed the bridge over the river Peene to slow down the advance of the Red Army. Nevertheless, the town was handed over to the Soviets without much of resistance and soon after around 800 of its citizens committed suicide by drowning in the Peene or by taking poison in fear of rape or murder by the Soviet troops.

In a house in another town, children were found sitting around a dinner table, plates of potato pancakes in front of them. All were dead, their tongues nailed to the table. Soviet officers reported back to Moscow that mass poisoning from captured alcohol, including dangerous chemicals found in laboratories, is damaging the fighting capacity of the Soviet Army. All too often, soldiers who had drunk too much and were unable to perform the sex act, used the bottle to mutilate their victims obscenely. Alexander Solzhenitsyn, an ex-captain in the Soviet Army, recalls, "All of us knew very well that if girls were German they could be raped and then shot. This was almost a combat distinction". (Details of these, and other atrocities, are contained in the Eastern Documentation Section of the German Federal Archives in Berlin)

The orgy of rape by Soviet troops was far greater than at first believed. Even Russian women and young girls, newly liberated from German concentration camps in Poland and in Germany, were brutally violated. The thousands of Russian women taken to Germany for forced labour also fell victims to the rapists. 'I waited for the Red Army for days and nights. I waited for my liberation, but now our soldiers treat us far worse than the Germans did' said one Maria Shapoval,'They do terrible things to us'.

REVENGE AT NEUSTETTIN (February 16-18, 1945)

On the 16th of February, soldiers of the First White Russian Army occupied the town of Neustettin just inside the German border with Poland. In the town was the 'Wilmsee' camp of the German R.A.D. (Reich Women's Labour Service). In the huts were some 500 uniformed girls of the RAD. They were taken to the foreign workers barracks at the local iron foundry. All were considered by the Russians to be members of an illegal army. 

In an office set up by the Russian commissar groups of girls were brought in and ordered to undress. Two men (believed to be Poles) then entered the room and grabbing one of the girls bent her backwards over the edge of a table and then proceeded to cut off her breasts before the eyes of the others. Her screams were accompanied by cheers and howls of approval from the Russians. The same fate awaited all the others each procedure becoming ever more cruel. More girls were brought in continually and out in the courtyard hundreds were clubbed to death, only the prettiest being led to the commissars office for torture, mutilation and death. A few days later when a German reserve tank unit from Cottbus temporarily recaptured the town they were utterly devastated by what they saw. 

Survivors told of what they had seen. Mothers had to witness their ten and twelve year old daughters being raped by up to twenty soldiers, the daughters in turn witnessing their mothers being raped, even their grandmothers. In most houses in the town nearly every room contained naked and dead women with the Swastika symbol crudely carved on their abdomens. No mercy was shown to the women and girls. It is estimated that about 2,000 girls that had been in the RAD and BDM (League of German Girls) camps in and around the town were raped and murdered in the first few days of the Soviet occupation.  

When rape was a spoil of war 

Simon Garfield is gripped by A Woman in Berlin, an anonymous diary that details chillingly and graphically the final, vengeful days of the Third Reich

Reading A Woman in Berlin in one afternoon is an unnerving sensory experience: the walls close in, the air thickens, shrieks from children playing nearby adopt a sinister air. This is an all-enveloping book, a lyrical personal journal composed as the Russians entered the author's city in the closing weeks of the Second World War; it leaves a deep scar. The anonymous author's dispassionate tone adds to its cumulative power; this terrible thing happened, and then this one, and just when you thought it couldn't get any worse ... It is such an awful and compelling record and so perfect in its descriptive simplicity that it is easy to see why some people were keen to dismiss it as a hoax.
The diary begins on 20 April 1945, four days after the Red Army had begun its bombardment of the city. It is also Hitler's birthday, but this is the first year that it is overlooked. Before the war, the author used to sit down to a meal with the phrase: 'For all of this, we thank the Führer', but the words are now uttered with scorn and derision.
She spends her early entries scurrying around for food and safety, dividing her time between her attic, an apartment of an unnamed widow who befriends her and a basement shelter. Rumour has taken the place of all official news and stories of distant defeats are less significant than the whispers of local potato or bread shortages.
Initially, those in the food queues run for cover from an air raid, but, within a few weeks, they merely throw a bucket over their heads and keep their place. In every queue, the hum of planes is accompanied by the horror yet to arrive: the violent sexual appetites of the Russian forces. When it comes, invasion is absolute: the central weeks of the diary are concerned primarily with rape, the author a frequent victim.
She writes of physical abuse with the same stoical endurance she brings to the rest of the moral disintegration around her: everyone steals everything, so why not? She accepts the Red Army view of rape as the natural spoils of war, the frustrated display of brute force made worse by the large supplies of alcohol recovered from German barracks. Her initial resistance gives way to a strategy: 'I have to find a single wolf to keep away the pack. An officer, as high-ranking as possible, a commandant, a general, whatever I can manage.'

The key passage in the book occurs early on, when she concludes that among the many defeats of the war is the defeat of the male sex. 'We feel sorry for them; they seem so miserable and powerless ... deep down, we women are experiencing a kind of collective disappointment.' The Nazi world, ruled by men, elevating male purity, has crumbled. She claims that the 'privilege' men enjoyed, of killing and dying for the fatherland, is exclusive no more; now women share that role, and she feels transformed and emboldened by it.
She is unaware of Hitler's fate in a bunker close by. She writes that she was never a supporter, but feels complicit in breathing the Nazi air. In a slightly comic aside, she regrets losing two world wars in the same manner as a football fan might regret consecutive defeats in cup finals. She expresses no remorse when the extent of Nazi atrocities emerges, just a certain grim irony. As the war ends, she notes that people are saying that millions of Jews have been cremated in concentration camps. 'On top of that, everything was supposedly carefully recorded in thick ledgers - a scrupulous accounting of death. We really are an orderly nation.'

We learn very little of the author from the book itself. She is blonde, occasionally mistaken for a Scandinavian and she has worked in publishing and journalism, travelling to Paris and the Soviet Union, picking up a few phrases that would later mark her out among the invading troops. Her full identity was revealed following her death in 2001 (she was 34 when she kept the diary), but her true name is incidental. Her account was first translated and published in the United States in 1954, but it took another five years to appear in Germany. It received a stony response; some thought it was a fabrication, and those who believed it did their best to ignore it.
One critic so completely misjudged the period in which the author wrote that he accused her of 'shameless immorality'. Within a decade, the political climate had shifted and student radicals and the women's movement circulated photocopies. On its republication in Germany in 2003, it again caused controversy, and it became a bestseller.
It is almost certain that the diaries underwent revision soon after they were composed. The amended work bears none of the hallmarks of a traditional diary; there is very little repetition and there is nothing that does not advance the narrative. I don't think this detracts from its significance, but it adds to its artfulness. There is a determinedly poetic flavour to many descriptions, for which some credit must go to the translator, Philip Boehm.
The first reader of the raw diary was a man she calls Gerd, a former lover returning from the east. The reunion is not a success, for he is the first of many to disbelieve the account of her degradation. The declaration of peace provokes little jubilation in either of them, but it does at least signal the end of the rapes and the slow return of water, electricity and ordered food supplies. She has some inkling that Berlin will be divided by the Russians and Americans, but her own future is uncertain, and it is a shame we do not learn more of her fate in an epilogue.
She has achieved her sole aim - survival - and imagines herself drifting in a universe where the sum total of tears will always stay the same. Her outlook cannot be optimistic and her world view which once applied to Germany may now be transposed elsewhere: 'Well-fed nations wallow in neuroses and excesses, while people plagued with suffering, as we are now, may rely on numbness and apathy to help see them through.'

American and British soldiers too...

Not all rapists wore a red star. John Dos Passos in "Life" on January 7, 1946, stated that "lust, whiskey and plunder - was a reward for the soldier." One soldier wrote in Time magazine (Time) on November 12, 1945: "A lot of normal American families would be horrified if they knew how utterly insensitively our boys "behaved here." An army sergeant wrote: "And our army and British army ... had their share of looting and rape ... Although these crimes are not typical for our troops, but their percentage is high enough to give our army of sinister reputation, so that we too can be called an army of tyrants."

Sociologist and criminologist Professor Bob Lilly makes unprecedented use of military records and trial transcripts to throw light on one of the overlooked consequences of the US Army's presence in Western Europe between 1942 and 1945: the rape of an estimated 14,000 civilian women in the United Kingdom, France and Germany. 

An Italian survivor of American bombing, notes that black U.S. troops stationed in Naples, with the permission of his superiors had free access to the poor, hungry and humiliated Italian women. The result of these interracial rape and sexual slavery was the production of generations of pathetic children. The legacy of brutal conquest.

According to an Associated Press report on September 12, 1945, entitled "German-American marriages were prohibited"said that the government of Franklin Roosevelt has advised its soldiers that marriage with the inferior German girls were absolutely forbidden, but those who had children out of wedlock from German women, whose husbands or suitors had dead, captured or imprisoned in concentration camps, could count on allowance. According to Time magazine dated 17 September 1945, the Government supplied the soldiers some 50 million condoms a month with picturesque illustrations of their use. In fact, our soldiers said: "teach these Germans a lesson - and spend a nice time!"

Open rape were not so prevalent by American and British troops, as it was in the Soviet army. The Soviets just raped in a row all females from eight years and above, reported Time magazine on June 11, 1945 . As for American soldiers, their "pastime" depended largely on the "cooperation" of German and Austrian women. Sexual "cooperation" could be bought for a few cents or a piece of bread from German and Austrian women. This was nothing but sexual slavery.

December 5, 1945. The Christian Sencheri "reported: "The American military police chief, Lieutenant Colonel Gerald F. Bean said that rape is not a problem for the military police because a bit of food, a bar of chocolate or a bar of soap made rape redundant. Think about it, if you want to understand the situation in Germany. London Weekly Review "(Weekly Review) dated 25 October 1945 described it thus:" Homeless young girls openly offer themselves for food or lodging .... all very easy to sell them the only thing left, and they sell it ... . as a way to live, it can be even worse than hunger, but it postpones death for months or even years."

Dr. George N. Shuster (George N. Shuster) president of Hunter College, wrote in December 1945, in "Catholic Digest" (Catholic Digest) after a visit to the American zone of occupation: "You said it all when you say that Europe is Now the place where the woman has lost a multi-year fight for decency because the only shameless stayed alive. "The official policy of the Allies created conditions in which a mother could save her children from starving to death, only by becoming the concubines of the occupation troops.

According to testimony given in the U.S. Senate July 17, 1945, when the colonial Free French troops under the command of Eisenhower - most of them Africans - were stationed in the German city of Stuttgart, they herded German women into the subway, and raped about two thousand of them. In Stuttgart alone, troops under Eisenhower's command raped more women in one week than the German troops raped in France for the entire four years. It is a fact that of all the major belligerents in World War II, rape and looting by German troops was the lowest. The fact is that the level of rape by the German army in the occupied territories was even lower than the level of rape by the American troops stationed on home soil!

According to the London International News Service "dated 31 January 1946, when the wives of American soldiers arrived in Germany, they received special permission to wear military uniforms, because the U.S. soldiers did not want the occupying troops to mistake their wives to be froylyan [it. girls]."






The horrors and moral compromises of war set the stage for this harrowing drama from director Max Färberböck, based on a true story. An anonymous female reporter (Nina Hoss) is living in Berlin in the spring of 1945; most of the city has been reduced to rubble by bombing, the German army has been decimated, and most of those left behind are expecting the arrival of Russian troops and fearful of what awaits them. The reporter is one of a number of women who are hiding wherever they can in the city, expecting that they will be raped and brutalized by the Russians. It doesn't take long for their worst fears to be realized as the emotionally ravaged Russian soldiers take out their anger and frustration on their new captives. But the reporter, who can speak Russian, is determined not to allow herself to be violated by the soldiers, and she decides to curry favor with a Soviet officer who will then protect her from his underlings. 


"A Woman in Berlin" recounts the experiences of a German woman (Nina Hoss) during 8 weeks of the Battle of Berlin, April to June 1945, as the Soviet Union's Red Army overran parts of the city, and German civilians struggled to find food and shelter from mortars and snipers, as well as from the invading soldiers. After she and the women of her neighborhood are raped and beaten repeatedly by Red Army soldiers, she determines to get as much control of her desperate circumstances as possible. She seeks out an officer of the Red Army to whom she offers herself in exchange for his protection. Rebuffed at first by Major Andrei Rybkin (Yevgeni Sidikhin), the two develop a fond relationship of mutual escapism from the horrors around them.

The protagonist is nameless. Until recently, she was known only as "Anonyma", the name under which she published her memoirs in Germany in 1959. They were not well-received. The author was accused of shaming German women with her descriptions of prostitution for protection. The memoirs were not published again until 2003, when "A Woman in Berlin" became a bestseller in Germany, and its author's identity was revealed as Marta Hillers. Hillers was a journalist and minor Nazi propagandist who spoke German, Russian, and French. There is reportedly some material in the book that was not in her diaries from 1945, so it may have been embellished for publication, though the circumstances are similar to many other accounts of civilian experiences in parts of the city controlled by the Red Army during the Battle of Berlin.

There are nasty scenes of battle, as remnants of the German Army try to defend the city against an angry and marauding Red Army, with civilians caught in the crossfire. The Battle of Berlin created one of the most hellish environments in modern times. It has been the setting of a couple of very good films in recent years, perhaps because the devastation was rendered so visually. It is almost as if nothing need be said, making it ideal for the medium of film. "A Woman in Berlin" doesn't actually have a lot of dialogue. It's quiet. The expressions on people's faces match the city in ruins around them. It is unsentimental. Anonyma and Andrei are not heroic, perhaps not even respectable. They are just people trying to make the best of horrible circumstances. In German and Russian with English subtitles that cannot be turned off.

The reporter's plan works as she becomes the lover of Major Andrej (Yevgeni Sidikhin), an officer with decidedly mixed feelings about his work. But as the reporter trades consensual sex for the safety Andrej can give her, both are aware who is the victor and who is a captive, and elsewhere in Berlin both German survivors and the soldiers occupying Berlin show the scars of war as they bring out the worst in one another. Anonyma -- Eine Frau in Berlin (aka A Woman in Berlin) received its world premiere at the 2009 Berlin International Film Festival.


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Please note...

In articles related to the Eastern Front of WW2, the Soviet Union has been commonly referred to as Russia. This is because the Soviet Union was mainly Russia. Other states like Ukraine, Georgia, Byelorussia were in comparision very small.

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