Ehrenburg

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Oleg Grigoryev
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Re: Ehrenburg

Post by Oleg Grigoryev » 15 Aug 2009 08:42

Well mr. Mills that is certainly interesting. You went from
One documented example of such official incitement is provided by the propaganda material issued to Red Army soldiers by Erenburg early in 1945, which explicitly encouraged those soldiers to "degrade" German women in order to break their "racial pride". That propaganda material was disseminated on a wide scale, to hundreds of thousands of Soviet soldiers, in the form of leaflets and radio broadcasts.

To
Here is a quote from Erenburg's diatribe "Wolves They Were, Wolves They Remain", published in English in Soviet News Weekly, 15 March 1945, giving his account of a two-week visit he made to occupied east Prussia.
The [German] girls gaze at the passing Red Army men ingratiatingly, lecherously, as if they were cabaret waitresses instead of burghers' daughters.

Here Erenburg is implying that German women are whores, ready to jump into bed with lusty Red Army men. The clear message is that Red Army men are not raping innocent German women, they are just giving the randy German bitches what they want.
What we of course have here is mr.Mills interpretation of what Ehrenburg meant. One could ,of course, ask how many of Red Army soldiers actually knew what cabaret was, so they could make the connection that mr Mills asserts (how many Cabarets were built there by the GULAG slave laborers second 5 year plan?) but that besides the point which is of course is that mr.Mills utterly failed to support his original thesis – the one that I started this post with and now tries to put a spin on whatever he could find.

I wonder if mr. Mills can spin this. “This” being and Erneburg quote form March 14th of 1945 – that is day before of the quote given by mr.Mills.
But the Soviet soldier will not touch the woman. But the Soviet soldier will not scoff at the German woman or pay compliments to it: he above her, he despises her for she was the wife of the executioner, for she has brought up the fanatic. Silently the Soviet soldier will pass by the German woman: he has come to Germany not for booty, not for scrub, not for concubines, he has come to Germany for justice. He has come not to examine a silly and greedy doll but to tame Germany..

http://militera.lib.ru/prose/russian/er ... 3/218.html

So. Mr Mills what do you think Ehrenburg implied here? While you at that I breathlessly await your analysis of Ereneburg’s
We don’t need these blond hyenas.

Material disseminated to troops picturing the women of an enemy population as lecherous whores whose sole desire is to copulate with the troops to whom that material is disseminated can certainly be seen as official encouragement to abuse the enemy women sexually.
That would be certainly true if something like that was disseminated. So… where is it? I especially interested something where Erenburg said that their “sole desire is to copulate with the troops”.
I now await the quibbling about the Russian-language original really meant. Strange that the persons who translated Erenburg's articles into English for British readers, persons working for representatives of the Soviet Government in Britain, always managed to somehow mkae Erenburg's diatribes sound worse than they really were.

Did the representatives of the Soviet Government in Britain want to give British people, the allies of the heroic Red Army, the false impression that Erenburg was preaching hatred for German women and calling for revenge on them
That is not very nice mr.Mills – you should be glad that shortcomings of the translations, that are no fault of yours, were pointed out to you. Now, hopefully, you will not make the same mistake again. Insofar as quality of translation goes – well things happen –you’ll be surprised. This Cathedral, for instance Image has nothing to do with st.Basil http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Basil - but what do you know it is known as such in English speaking world.

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Oleg Grigoryev
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Re: Ehrenburg

Post by Oleg Grigoryev » 15 Aug 2009 08:54

From Women and war in the twentieth century : enlisted with or without consent / edited by Nicole Ann Dombrowski.
Publisher New York : Routledge, 2004.
page 168:
Official Soviet policy, reflecting Stalin's pronouncement that "the Hitlers come and go but the German Volk remains," obstinately refused to acknowledge that the Red Army would engage in atrocities on anything more than the level of "isolated excesses." Ilya Ehrenburg himself (whose line "We shall be severe but just" was in any case being pushed aside by Stalin's new interest in mollifying the Volk) insisted that "the Soviet soldier will not molest a German woman....It is not for booty, not for loot, not for women that he has come to Germany.
The last part seeming comes form the same Erenburg article as I quoted above. So lets "here Erenburg clearly implies" game begin

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Last edited by Oleg Grigoryev on 15 Aug 2009 08:59, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Ehrenburg

Post by Oleg Grigoryev » 15 Aug 2009 08:55

Jan-Hendrik wrote:
Rather mr.Erenburg tried to prevent rapes presenting German women as dirty creations.
I don't think your kind of sarcasm finds to the matter of this threads....and millions of women having experienced the Red Army way of getting "liberated" won't find such jokes funny, too :roll:

Jan-Hendrik
He is not being sarcastic - that is exactly what Erenburg tried to do.

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Re: Ehrenburg

Post by michael mills » 15 Aug 2009 12:56

I think it is drawing a very long bow to say that Erenburg was trying to prevent rape.

By constantly depicting German women as evil, as trash, as lecherous, he was certainly planting the impression that they could be treated as trash. The image of German women that he was presenting in his propaganda writings, which were disseminated to a wide public, not only to a Soviet public but also to an English-speaking one, bears a strong resemblance to the images of women that are presented in pornography, namely that they are nasty sluts who can be treated as objects.

It may well be that his portrayal of German women was not a propaganda line that was prescribed to him and which he was just blindly following, but rather something welling up from deep within his sub-conscious, perhaps a manifestation of a deep-seated misogyny resulting from sexual repression which he focussed on German women as an acceptable target . In that respect he may have been psychologically similar to Streicher.

Whatever the case may be, it appears that the quote I previously used, about "breaking the racial pride of German wwomen" may not be genuine, (although it has not been conclusively proved a German falsification), so I will refrain from using it. But no matter, there are plenty of examples of genuine propaganda pieces by Erenburg expressing a visceral hatred for the German people, including specifically German women, and inciting the Soviet soldiery to take revenge on the German people.

And to claim that he was trying to protect German women from rape, or from any other form of revenge, or trying to prevent looting, is simply ludicrous. When he piously wrote that the Red Army was not coming to Germany for revenge, he was simply indulging in a rebarbative hypocrisy. One can almost hear the "nudge nudge, wink wink".

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Oleg Grigoryev
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Re: Ehrenburg

Post by Oleg Grigoryev » 15 Aug 2009 18:13

I think it is drawing a very long bow to say that Erenburg was trying to prevent rape.

By constantly depicting German women as evil, as trash, as lecherous, he was certainly planting the impression that they could be treated as trash. The image of German women that he was presenting in his propaganda writings, which were disseminated to a wide public, not only to a Soviet public but also to an English-speaking one, bears a strong resemblance to the images of women that are presented in pornography, namely that they are nasty sluts who can be treated as objects.
He presented them as dirty creatures any touching of which, never mind anything else, should be avoided – quite unambiguously actually .
It may well be that his portrayal of German women was not a propaganda line that was prescribed to him and which he was just blindly following, but rather something welling up from deep within his sub-conscious, perhaps a manifestation of a deep-seated misogyny resulting from sexual repression which he focussed on German women as an acceptable target . In that respect he may have been psychologically similar to Streicher.
Or, maybe, he just did not like Germans (understandably) –women included, so, he produced the image that is rather repulsive. Of course portraying enemy as someone repulsive is done by every side in practically every war.
Whatever the case may be, it appears that the quote I previously used, about "breaking the racial pride of German wwomen" may not be genuine, (although it has not been conclusively proved a German falsification), so I will refrain from using it.
very well.
But no matter, there are plenty of examples of genuine propaganda pieces by Erenburg expressing a visceral hatred for the German people, including specifically German women, and inciting the Soviet soldiery to take revenge on the German people.
He also specifically pointed out what Germans, according to him, that revenge should be brought upon. His uncamouflaged and quite honest strong dislike of Germans did not translate into “kill them all” type of speech.
And to claim that he was trying to protect German women from rape, or from any other form of revenge, or trying to prevent looting, is simply ludicrous. When he piously wrote that the Red Army was not coming to Germany for revenge, he was simply indulging in a rebarbative hypocrisy. One can almost hear the "nudge nudge, wink wink".
Nobody claimed that he tried to protect anybody . He, in effect, was concerned with same matter that German courts prosecuting rapes committed by Germans were concerned – image of the armed forces and breakdown in discipline.

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Re: Ehrenburg

Post by bf109 emil » 16 Aug 2009 09:38

He presented them as dirty creatures any touching of which, never mind anything else, should be avoided – quite unambiguously actually .
most likely no different then the German portrayal of soviet women and to the same effect that raping these beasts was lowering the mighty Red Army soldier to the depths he portrayed these women and such would have been a message to avoid them at all costs and not to rape or even takes these matters with such vermin

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Oleg Grigoryev
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Re: Ehrenburg

Post by Oleg Grigoryev » 16 Aug 2009 19:16

bf109 emil wrote:
He presented them as dirty creatures any touching of which, never mind anything else, should be avoided – quite unambiguously actually .
most likely no different then the German portrayal of soviet women and to the same effect that raping these beasts was lowering the mighty Red Army soldier to the depths he portrayed these women and such would have been a message to avoid them at all costs and not to rape or even takes these matters with such vermin
I would not know - I've never read German propaganda material on the subject. Rapes most certainly were considered a problem by the Soviet command- there is plenty of orders that I've seen - from the very top - down to at least Army level, prohibiting mistreatment of civilians and plunder . According to Beevor Ereneburg himself while talking to the Soviet officers at the Frunze academy was highly critical of the troops behavior and balmed it on the low level of culture.
I am not aware of any Soviet guidelines similar to Barbarossa decree.

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Re: Ehrenburg

Post by michael mills » 18 Aug 2009 03:52

According to Beevor Ereneburg himself while talking to the Soviet officers at the Frunze academy was highly critical of the troops behavior and balmed it on the low level of culture.
Interesting. When was that? After Erenburg himself had been stamped on in April 1945? Or before?

Erenburg had once accused the Red Army of being a gang of rapists and murderers. That was in 1919, when he was working as a propagandist in Ukraine for Denikin. And in 1918 he had written a lterary description of the storming of the Winter Palace in Petrograd by Bolshevik Red Guards in November 1917, in which he depicted Red Guards as committing rapes.

Erenburg most probably did not have a high opinion of the Russian people, and despised them as barbarians with a low cultural level. If so, that would most probably have been a reflection of his cultural origin as a Ukrainian Jew; the Jews of Ukraine, and indeed of all Eastern Europe, had traditionally regarded the peasant peoples among whom they lived as primitive sub-humans. It is noteworthy that Erenburg did not really like living in the Soviet Union, preferring to live in Western Europe, in the western culture he identified with as an assimilated Jew. He was certainly never a Communist, or had any loyalty to Communist ideology, and was quite anti-Bolshevik in 1918-19.

The propaganda he produced for Stalin between 1941 and 1945 was based on his virulent hatred for Germany and the German people, not on any commitment to Communism, or indeed to the Russian people. In turn, his hatred for Germany seems to have been engendered by the extreme anti-Semitism adopted by the German Government in 1933, and more particularly by the destruction wrought on his fellow Jews in the Soviet Union by the German invaders.

Of course, Erenburg could not draft his anti-German propaganda in terms of what the Germans were doing to the Jews; that would have gone against Stalin's chosen line that all the Soviet peoples were equally victims of "Fascism". Nevertheless, Erenburg's prime concern for his own Jewish people is evident in his propaganda work; whether he really cared about Belorussian peasants killed in German anti-partisan operations is something we will never know.

Stalin tolerated Erenburg's visceral hatred of Germany, as long as it was useful to him in prosecuting the war against that country. Since Stalin's aim was not to destroy Germany but rather to incorporate into his empire as a particlarly useful and technologically advanced component, there was a point at which Erenburg's rabid rants became counter-productive; that point was reached in April 1945, when Stalin ordered one of his lackeys to stamp hard on Erenburg in public.

It was also at that point that Stalin issued orders to bring the Red Army under control and stop the deluge of rape. destruction and murder that it was engaged on. That explains the orders that Oleg Grigoryev referred to. Before that point, when the imperative was to achieve the final destruction of German military power, Stalin did not care that the boys of the Red Army were "having a little fun", as he expressed it Milovan Djilas (not only in Germany, but also in Poland, Hungary and Yugoslavia).

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Re: Ehrenburg

Post by David Thompson » 18 Aug 2009 04:39

Michael -- You wrote:
Erenburg most probably did not have a high opinion of the Russian people, and despised them as barbarians with a low cultural level. If so, that would most probably have been a reflection of his cultural origin as a Ukrainian Jew; the Jews of Ukraine, and indeed of all Eastern Europe, had traditionally regarded the peasant peoples among whom they lived as primitive sub-humans.
Recently, I have asked you repeatedly to source your statements, pursuant to our rules. Notwithstanding that, there is no source here. This is no longer a request. Your future unsourced claims will be deleted on sight. If you don't have a source to back up your statements, wait until you do before posting here. When you do post, include the source with the claim. Our readers come here for verifiable information, not oracular pronouncements.

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Re: Ehrenburg

Post by michael mills » 18 Aug 2009 07:45

Source for the statement that Erenburg most probably despised the Russian people and regarded them as barbarians with a low cultural level:

Beevor, as referred to by Oleg Grigoryev. Beevor claims that Erenburg said that Soviet troops had a low level of culture. Since the naming of Beevor was sufficient for Oleg Grigoryev's statement to pass muster, I assume it will be sufficent for me to give the name "Beevor".

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Re: Ehrenburg

Post by michael mills » 18 Aug 2009 08:05

On 7 May 2008, I posted this message:
The book that I have previously quoted on this thread, "Deutsche Zivilverwaltung und Judenverfolgung im Generalgouvernement" by Bogdan Musial, has this to say about the socio-economic position of the Jewish minority in Poland before the Second World War:

Pages 104-105

{Portion deleted}
In addition, the ethnic and religious dividing line between Jews and Poles in pre-war Poland often ran along the economic borders: On the one side was the Polish peasant als supplier of agricultural products and customer for artisanal products, on the other side the Jewish trader and artisan, as was the case in the rural regions of the Lublin District. The permanent economic crisis in pre-war Poland further increased the religious, cultural and economic differences between Jews and non-Jews. These conditions made it difficult to demolish the mutual prejudices and create solidarity between the two ethnic groups.


Musial gives the following note to his phrase "mutual prejudices":


In der einschlägigen Literatur wird ausschließlich der polnische bzw. ukrainische Antisemitismus thematisiert. Bei meinen Recherchen fand ich jedoch eine Rehe von Hinweisen, daß es jüdischen Antipolonismus und Antiukrainismus gegeben hat. Diese Vorurteile richteten sich vor allem gegen die ländliche Bevölkerung. Sie dürften ihre Wurzeln in den wirtschaftlichen, gesellschaftlichen, kulturellen und religiösen Unterschieden haben.

My translation:
In the literature on this subject, only Polish or Ukrainian anti-Semitism is taken as a theme. However, in my research I found a series of indications that there was Jewish anti-Polonism and anti-Ukrainianism. These prejudices were directed above all against the rural population. They probably have their roots in economic, social, cultural and religious differences.
The above analysis by Musial provides the socio-economic background within which the physical extermination of the Jewish minority in Poland was accomplished between 1942 and 1944. It establishes the basis against which the socio-economic changes experienced by ethnic Poles as a result of the disappearance of the Jewish minority can be measured.
The material from Musial supports my contention of the way in which the Jews of Eastern Europe traditionally regarded the peasant peoples among whom they lived, in Russia as well as Poland and Ukraine.

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Re: Ehrenburg

Post by Oleg Grigoryev » 18 Aug 2009 22:21

Actual quote from A.Beevor
Yet he (Erenburg- Oleg) had recently lectured officers at the Frunze military academy, criticizing Red Army looting and destruction in East Prussia and blaming it on the troops' `extremely low' level of culture. His only reference to rape, however, was to say that Soviet soldiers 'were not refusing "the compli¬ments" of German women'. Abakumov, the head of SMERSH, reported Ehrenburg's 'incorrect opinions' to Stalin, who regarded them as 'politically harmful'. This, combined with the similar report on East Prussia by Count von Einsiedel of the NKVD-controlled National Committee for a Free Germany, set in motion a train of events and discussions which triggered a major reappraisal of Soviet policy.


“Extremly low level of culture” was probably just it – “extremely low level of culture”. Red army, during its 1944 campaign, reconquered territories, that were under German governance for 3 years. It immediately began to use them as a pool for fresh manpower. That meant that kids who were as young 14- years old in 1941, and who in effect were struggling to survive under Nazi rule (hardly an environment that fosters humanitarian attitude) were given gun and a chance to get back on the people who had been mistreating them for 3 years. Psychologically many of this new soldiers were probably no different if not worse than modern day kids who join street gangs . Kopelev certainly considered their background to be a major factor for their attitude. In general there was backlash against Germans (civilians) included in practically every country that was occupied by Germans. Consider Czechs for example –where Konev had to use his forces to protect Germans from the crowd.

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Re: Ehrenburg

Post by michael mills » 22 Aug 2009 01:25

More and more interesting.

Does Beevor give any clue as to exactly what it was that Abakumov objected to, what he considered Erenburg's "incorrect opinions"? Does he say exactly which views of Erenburg Stalin considered "politically harmful"?

Does he say why Erenburg criticised looting and destruction in East Prussia? I would guess that Erenburg was not motivated by any concern for the German civilian population; most probably he was concerned about wanton destruction of valuable property that could be used by the Soviet State, or even used to compensate Jewish survivors.

I have in mind here the proposal by Peretz Markish, one of Erenburg's fellow members of the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee, that the lands vacated by thedeported Volga germans could be used for settling Jewish survivors. Erenburg may well have had a similar concept, of using German property to compensate Jewish survivors; that might explain why he did not want it destroyed by rampaging Slavic hoodlums at a "lower cultural level". It is noteworthy that Jewish survivors returning to Poland were initially housed in areas from which the germans had been expelled, eg in Lodz or in Szczecin.

Also, I think it hardly likely that Abakumov was concerned about the German civilian population; he was an extremely vicious political policeman.

As for the question of rape, it appears Erenburg had a quite cynical attitude, essentially justifying it, in line with his publicly expressed view that German women were whores who were "asking for it".
That meant that kids who were as young 14- years old in 1941, and who in effect were struggling to survive under Nazi rule (hardly an environment that fosters humanitarian attitude) were given gun and a chance to get back on the people who had been mistreating them for 3 years.
So, those kids would have been born in 1927. If they came of peasant stock, their childhood would have been dominated by the experience of collectivisation, in many cases of famine and deportation. For the first 14 years of their lives, they had been struggling to survive under Soviet rule, hardly an environment that fosters a humanitarian attitude. One wonders why, when given guns, they did not use them to get back at the people who had mistreated them for the first 14 years of their lives. Perhaps it was the NKVD troops behind them, ready to gun them down if they hesitated. And on the positive side, a chance to loot and rape. Perhaps all their rage at their Soviet oppressors, which could not be expressed, was externalised against a helpless German civilian population.

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Re: Ehrenburg

Post by David Thompson » 22 Aug 2009 02:09

Michael -- No doubt your speculations provide you with a certain amount of self- gratification, but without sourced information to back them up, our readers are unlikely to find anything of value in your notions.

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Re: Ehrenburg

Post by michael mills » 22 Aug 2009 05:00

I asked some very serious questions about the material that Oleg posted, and I am waiting for his reply. I trust that he will have some more useful and interesting information.

Oleg speculated as to the reasons why members of the Red Army were so destructive. I thought his speculations were an insufficient explanation, and offered some counter-speculations of my own, to demonstrate that point.

At the moment we have some hard information that Erenburg criticised the Red Army, and Abakumov criticised Erenburg; but we are still elft up in the air as to what lay behind Erenburg's criticism of the Red Army and Abakumov's criticism of Erenburg. Until we get more hard information, all we can do is speculate; Oleg has offered his speculative explanation, and I have offered mine. At present, we have no way of determining which is more correct.

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