Is it verified that the Wehrmacht raped in russia?

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andrek
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Is it verified that the Wehrmacht raped in russia?

Post by andrek » 10 Oct 2008 12:55

The german journalist and tv host Dieter Kronzucker (a person of very high standing in german media circles) http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dieter_Kronzucker said in a documantation film about Hitlers last days in Berlin on german n24 channel
... while the Wehrmacht moved raping and murdering through russia ...
I now that the Wehrmacht had bordellos in larger cities, but not even the german Wehrmacht Ausstellung http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wehrmachtsausstellung mentioned bordellos or raping and i know they would if they could.

Is it definitively verified that the Wehrmacht raped in russia and was it legal for a Wehrmacht soldier to rape a russian female if he got the chance to do that?

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Christoph Awender
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Re: Is it verified that the Wehrmacht raped in russia?

Post by Christoph Awender » 10 Oct 2008 13:20

Hello

Well, with these things there is always a official and a inofficial side. First thing is..... raping was of course not officially allowed. I have and saw documents which prove that soldiers raping women were shot after a field trial because of that.
From veterans I know that there were of course cases of rape where nobody was trialed or punished for. It was all a matter of the situation, unit commander, the witnesses if there were any etc.... In every army there were soldiers who raped, didn´t tell when they saw it etc. especially when it was a case involving "Untermenschen". But as everywhere there were soldiers not wanting to stay silent and did something against it.

/Christoph

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Re: Is it verified that the Wehrmacht raped in russia?

Post by Boby » 10 Oct 2008 14:58


Sid Guttridge
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Re: Is it verified that the Wehrmacht raped in russia?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 11 Oct 2008 12:54

Hi Andrek,

It reportedly continued bad practices when it fell back into Romania in April 1944, because many units initially failed to distinguish between Soviet and allied territory.

Sid.

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HaEn
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Re: Is it verified that the Wehrmacht raped in russia?

Post by HaEn » 11 Oct 2008 20:21

Christoph Awender wrote:Hello

Well, with these things there is always a official and a inofficial side. First thing is..... raping was of course not officially allowed. I have and saw documents which prove that soldiers raping women were shot after a field trial because of that.
From veterans I know that there were of course cases of rape where nobody was trialed or punished for. It was all a matter of the situation, unit commander, the witnesses if there were any etc.... In every army there were soldiers who raped, didn´t tell when they saw it etc. especially when it was a case involving "Untermenschen". But as everywhere there were soldiers not wanting to stay silent and did something against it.

/Christoph
Thank you Christoph.
Indeed EVERY army has its percentage of soldiers who 'rape", espcecially in conquered territory.
Did the German army do more of it ? I don't think so. Rape and other crimes could get you a quick trip before a "Kriegsgericht" (Courtmartial). And punishment was swift and severe.
I personally DO know of a W.SS soldier of the Wachtbattallion, who stood accused of rape; it became a "she said - he said" trial. Nevertheless he ended up in the Kriegs-Wehrmacht Gefängnis in Scheveningen, from there to Dachau , and after rehabilitation(sic) came back as a super model (spiritually broken) soldier.
The sour joke went around our unit that the difference between rape and rapture is 'salesmanship".
I still don't think he did it.
Oh well, after the war he volunteered for the French foreign legion and died in some god forsaken French Indo-china spot.
HN.

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Penn44
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Re: Is it verified that the Wehrmacht raped in russia?

Post by Penn44 » 11 Oct 2008 23:14

HaEn wrote:Indeed EVERY army has its percentage of soldiers who 'rape", espcecially in conquered territory.
EVERY army also has its percentages of soldiers who engage in all sorts of behavior. Your statement does not tell us much. What is important is to determine what these percentages are, and what do they tell us about the historical object and situation.
HaEn wrote:Did the German army do more of it ? I don't think so.

Although I do not know of any evidence to suggest your conclusion is wrong, you do not offer anything more than a belief based on your own limited personal experience and visibility as an SS private. As such, no one can generalize from your own limited experience to the German army at large with any validity. Within the same army, the behavior of some units are better or worse than others due to such factors as command climate, level of discipline, level of combat exposure, etc.
HaEn wrote:I personally DO know of a W.SS soldier of the Wachtbattallion, who stood accused of rape; it became a "she said - he said" trial.
Did you attend the trial or did you obtain knowledge of it from second-hand or third-hand sources? Was the SS soldier mentioned in your anecdote convicted of "rape" or for some other infraction such as acts unbecoming or acts against good order and discipline? What was the nationality and ethnicity of the woman allegedly raped? What year of the war did the incident occur?
HaEn wrote:I still don't think he did it.
What do you base your "belief" on? In your belief, what was the woman's motivation to falsely report the rape?

It would be interesting the compare the frequency and types of punishment levied against German troops for rape in the West versus the East to detect any discrepancies or patterns. After havibg controlled other factors, would German racism or ethnicism account for any discrepancy if found?

Penn44

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Peter H
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Re: Is it verified that the Wehrmacht raped in russia?

Post by Peter H » 11 Oct 2008 23:38

If my memory is correct Omer Bartov's Hitler's Army: Soldiers, Nazis and War in the Third Reich goes into some depth on military crimes committed in the East(murders,looting,rapes etc).

Refer here as well:

http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=139665
"Court records from trials of rape committed by soldiers give a somewhat contradictory impression. On the one hand we can see that a hard line was taken by the military when it came to sexual crimes in France, partly for reasons of discipline, but above all because they feared for the reputation of the Wehrmacht; as a result, long prison sentences were not uncommon. At the eastern front, on the other hand, we can see the effects of the criminal nature of the war in the Soviet Union also in the type of sentence given. Only a small number of cases of rape were reported and sexual crimes were only harshly punished in cases where military matters and interests seemed to be clearly threatened or in cases where the cohesion of the troops might suffer.... In conclusion it can be said that there is no evidence in the records ... that rape was used as a 'war strategy', that is, as a means used by the military leaderships to humiliate the enemy civilian population. The leniency of prison sentences at the eastern front, however, as well as the institution of military prostitution, which women were also forced into under the threat of violence, show clearly that sexual violence was treated in very different ways."
Was there a policy which ignored or encouraged rape in Russia?Bartov concludes,no.

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Paul Timms
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Re: Is it verified that the Wehrmacht raped in russia?

Post by Paul Timms » 12 Oct 2008 20:27

Anyone who has any doubt should view the attached linked, it is a 400+ page (13MB) University thesis, it seems very well researched and includes interview evidence obtained by the author, warning it is a harrowing read on all aspects of sexual violence including rape.

http://www.victimsheroessurvivors.info/ ... _full.html

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Re: Is it verified that the Wehrmacht raped in russia?

Post by Boby » 12 Oct 2008 21:19

Many thanks for this link, Paul.

Best regards
Boby,

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Re: Is it verified that the Wehrmacht raped in russia?

Post by andrek » 14 Oct 2008 14:29

HaEn wrote:Did the German army do more of it ? I don't think so.


My familiy lived in north germany may 1945 which became british. Me was never told nor did i ever hear about raping britsh soldiers. From what i heard is that the britsh soldiers had a affinity to cleptomania, but not raping.

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Re: Is it verified that the Wehrmacht raped in russia?

Post by bigmacglenn1966 » 20 Oct 2008 04:16

I recommend that you read "The Wehrmacht War Crimes Bureau, 1939-1945" by Alfred M.de Zayas. It lists specific cases of rape (and other offenses) committed by German soldiers in Russia. These crimes resulted in the execution of the soldiers. Here's the kicker: Although Hitler's "Barbarossa Decree" of 13 May 1941 limited the jurisdiction of military courts by removing the automatic requirement to prosecute in cases where soldiers committed arbitrary acts of violence against the local civilian population, the courts still kept the authority to prosecute soldiers in cases involving the "discipline or safety of the troops". Since arbitrary and illegal conduct always endangers the discipline of the troops, commanders could order courts-martials based on this authority. Thus, Hitler's original plan to treat Russians differently and to ignore the crimes of German soldiers against the Russian population was frequently circumvented by old-school commanders who did not believe in total war and who insisted on the observance of the laws of war by their troops.
It's a total coincidence that I happened to pick this book up today from the library...great reading and highly informative, I totally recommend it!

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Re: Is it verified that the Wehrmacht raped in russia?

Post by David Thompson » 20 Oct 2008 04:22

Readers interested in the Barbarossa jurisdiction order may find these threads helpful:

The Barbarossa jurisdiction order 1941
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=62192
The Barbarossa Jurisdiction Order (Text)
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=56057

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Is it verified that the Wehrmacht raped in russia?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 20 Oct 2008 12:55

Hi Bigmac,

I have a book of the same or similar title, but its Wehrmacht War Crimes Bureau was essentially engaged in investigating allegations of Allied atrocities, not German ones. I will have to check out if it is the same book.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Bronsky
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Re: Is it verified that the Wehrmacht raped in russia?

Post by Bronsky » 02 Nov 2008 21:17

Thanks for the link to the dissertation. The same author, Wendy Jo Gertjejanssen, also wrote "Sexuality, Prostitution, and Rape: Soviet Women and German Soldiers during World War II".

Apparently, the Wehrmacht recorded some 4 million "sexual intercourse" between German troops and local women in the East, despite orders to the contrary. According to Gertjejanssen, there may have been a few genuine love affairs but the bulk were rapes or forced prostitution. Of course, to someone who believes that a woman who has a choice between working in a bordello (or as a private prostitute) and starving is doing so of her own free will, I suppose it wouldn't count as actual rape, to each his own...

The question of bordellos is also interesting. That the Wehrmacht ran them is well-known. The motivations are less so. The first concern was sanitary: "everyone knew" that those disgusting foreign women were all luscious and therefore clapped out. Bordellos allowed proper sanitation i.e. hygiene and medical monitoring. The Germans were institutionally terrified of disease.
The second concern was avoiding to create offsprings of mixed racial heritage.
The third concern was disciplinary: bordellos both allowed the authorities to retain control, and prevented locals from observing that here was young Hans in love with a pretty local girl, and didn't he look just like any other youngster? Fraternization was to be avoided.

That's why the Wehrmacht and SS established hundreds of army bordellos using coerced civilian women whereas in western countries e.g. in France they didn't run the bordellos directly, just provided conditions for them to operate under and reserved their use to their own troops. So in western occupied countries, the Wehrmacht was not officially aware of whatever consequences might follow for the women involved. Besides bordellos, there was authorized rape e.g. in the East, the Wehrmacht used to brand the bodies of captured partisan women - and other women as well - with the words "Whore for Hitler's troops" and to use them accordingly.

From another forum, I haven't verified the information myself but have found equivalent accounts elsewhere:
"According to the records of 12th Infantry division, in January 1942 alone 219 women were taken from the villages in the divisional area for confinement in a divisional brothel. 20 women were aged over 80 years of age and "died in transit", 195 women aged from 13 to 72 were repeatedly raped at the brothel. 4 women, all of whom were heavily pregnant, were confined in the local hospital until their children were born, whereupon the babies were killed by phenol injection in front of their mothers and the women sent to the brothel. This incident, one of hundreds like it, was documented by the British War Crimes Group in 1946 and case files sent to the Allied Control Commission for prosecution in 1948. These files passed to the FRG war crimes unit in 1949 and the cases were all discontinued.

Again according to BA records, between 1 December 1941 and 1 January 1942 18th Pz division burnt 48 villages in their divisional defensive zone, murdering 3215 men and boys and forcing 4015 women and children under 12 to live without food or shelter in temperatures of 40 degrees Celsius below freezing. 813 women were "temporarily attached to units", that being a usual euphemism for rape.

Uniquely in WW2, the Wehrmacht and SS institutionalised rape by setting up "brothels" in labour and concentration camps for which official travel warrants were issued - in other words they were an official holiday destination for off-duty soldiers. All this is fully documented.

On 9 June 1942, the village of Lidice was destroyed by the Germans in brutal and arbitrary reprisal for the killing of Heydrich. There was no connection whatsoever between the village and the killing of Heydrich. 172 men were killed on the spot, along with 82 women. The remaining 195 women were sent to a Ravensbruck concentration camp where they were placed in the Waffen SS brothel. After a month of multiple rape and torture, 42 women had died. Of the remainder, 7 went to the gas chamber and 3 vanished without trace, probably killed and their deaths unrecorded. 4 heavily pregnant women from the village were held in the camp hospital until after the birth, whereupon their babies were killed before their eyes, and then sent to Treblinka for gassing. 90 children of Lidice were separated from their parents and sent to the SS paedophile brothel at Gneisenau, from which none emerged alive. Another 42 very young children were taken to a German hospital in Prague and measured by Nazi racial specialists to see if they could be regarded as Aryan. 22 were accepted as Aryan and sent to Germany for forcible adoption. The other 20, all under 6, went to Treblinka where, in a pitiful ceremony, they were shepherded together into the gas chamber while one of the SS guards sang romantic lullabies. Posters vividly recording the fate of all the people of Lidice were displayed across Bohemia and Moravia, and a Nazi national newspaper boasted of the action in a headline article of 11 June 1942. "

For other references, see Trial of the Major War Criminals before the International Military Tribunal, Nuremberg 1946; testimony of Jan. 31, 1946, Vol. 6:404ff; Vol. 7:456f. Also Hilberg 1961:126ff; Brownmiller 1978:55ff.

About the discipline and trials, the following is extracted from the Nuremberg trials at (bold type is mine):
http://www.nizkor.org/hweb/imt/tgmwc/tg ... 6-10.shtml

Q. Since numerous documents dealing with crimes committed allegedly by members of the Waffen SS were submitted to the last witness, it is necessary for me to ask you this: Did the Waffen SS commit crimes against the civilian population in the occupied territories and. at the front, and were these crimes committed systematically and in violation of international agreements, in violation of the penal law existing in the countries concerned, and in violation of the general principles of penal law of all civilised nations?

A. No, there can be no question of that. It is clear that on the part of the Waffen SS, violations of International Law took place in individual cases, just as they took place on the other side also. But all these are individual occurrences and not systematic. All these individual acts were prosecuted under the legal system of the SS and the police in the most severe manner. In the head office "SS Courts" there existed a department which guaranteed and carried out an overall supervision of the entire legal system. Having knowledge of this department I can testify in this courtroom that in such individual cases the courts in every theatre of war and during the entire duration of the war passed sentences for murder, looting, manslaughter, assault and rape, ill-treatment and also for killing prisoners of war, and in trying such cases, the race or nationality of the person concerned had no influence whatever. All these were individual and not systematic acts, and this is confirmed by the criminality statistics of the head office "SS Courts." The absolutely strict administration of the law kept criminality below the normal level: it varied between 0.8 per cent. at the beginning and 3 per cent. at the end of the war.

Q. But by order of Hitler, dated 13th May, 1941, a document which was submitted here, the prosecution of such crimes was prohibited, was it not? Is that not a contradiction of your testimony regarding the prosecution of such cases?

A. No, it is not a contradiction, because that order of Hitler, though declaring the prosecution of such cases not compulsory, nevertheless left the decision of whether or not the case should be tried to the discretion of the appointing authority.

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Re: Is it verified that the Wehrmacht raped in russia?

Post by Penn44 » 02 Nov 2008 21:29

Bronsky wrote:...The same author, Wendy Jo Gertjejanssen, also wrote "Sexuality, Prostitution, and Rape: Soviet Women and German Soldiers during World War II".

Apparently, the Wehrmacht recorded some 4 million "sexual intercourse" between German troops and local women in the East
How did the Wehrmacht arrive at 4 million sexual intercourses between German soldiers and Soviet women?

Much like an odometer on a car, did the Wehrmacht have some sort of "fornicato-meter" to keep track of these liaisons?

No wonder the Germans lost in the East, the Soviets caught them with their pants down.

Penn44

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