'They raped every German female from eight to 80'

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Davey Boy
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'They raped every German female from eight to 80'

Post by Davey Boy » 01 May 2002 07:49

'They raped every German female from eight to 80'

Antony Beevor, author of the acclaimed new book about the fall of Berlin, on a massive war crime committed by the victorious Red Army.

Wednesday May 1, 2002
The Guardian

"Red Army soldiers don't believe in 'individual liaisons' with German women," wrote the playwright Zakhar Agranenko in his diary when serving as an officer of marine infantry in East Prussia. "Nine, ten, twelve men at a time - they rape them on a collective basis."
The Soviet armies advancing into East Prussia in January 1945, in huge, long columns, were an extraordinary mixture of modern and medieval: tank troops in padded black helmets, Cossack cavalrymen on shaggy mounts with loot strapped to the saddle, lend-lease Studebakers and Dodges towing light field guns, and then a second echelon in horse-drawn carts. The variety of character among the soldiers was almost as great as that of their military equipment. There were freebooters who drank and raped quite shamelessly, and there were idealistic, austere communists and members of the intelligentsia appalled by such behaviour.

Beria and Stalin, back in Moscow, knew perfectly well what was going on from a number of detailed reports. One stated that "many Germans declare that all German women in East Prussia who stayed behind were raped by Red Army soldiers". Numerous examples of gang rape were given - "girls under 18 and old women included".

Marshal Rokossovsky issued order No 006 in an attempt to direct "the feelings of hatred at fighting the enemy on the battlefield." It appears to have had little effect. There were also a few arbitrary attempts to exert authority. The commander of one rifle division is said to have "personally shot a lieutenant who was lining up a group of his men before a German woman spreadeagled on the ground". But either officers were involved themselves, or the lack of discipline made it too dangerous to restore order over drunken soldiers armed with submachine guns.

Calls to avenge the Motherland, violated by the Wehrmacht's invasion, had given the idea that almost any cruelty would be allowed. Even many young women soldiers and medical staff in the Red Army did not appear to disapprove. "Our soldiers' behaviour towards Germans, particularly German women, is absolutely correct!" said a 21-year-old from Agranenko's reconnaissance detachment. A number seemed to find it amusing. Several German women recorded how Soviet servicewomen watched and laughed when they were raped. But some women were deeply shaken by what they witnessed in Germany. Natalya Gesse, a close friend of the scientist Andrei Sakharov, had observed the Red Army in action in 1945 as a Soviet war correspondent. "The Russian soldiers were raping every German female from eight to eighty," she recounted later. "It was an army of rapists."

Drink of every variety, including dangerous chemicals seized from laboratories and workshops, was a major factor in the violence. It seems as if Soviet soldiers needed alcoholic courage to attack a woman. But then, all too often, they drank too much and, unable to complete the act, used the bottle instead with appalling effect. A number of victims were mutilated obscenely.

The subject of the Red Army's mass rapes in Germany has been so repressed in Russia that even today veterans refuse to acknowledge what really happened. The handful prepared to speak openly, however, are totally unrepentant. "They all lifted their skirts for us and lay on the bed," said the leader of one tank company. He even went on to boast that "two million of our children were born" in Germany.

The capacity of Soviet officers to convince themselves that most of the victims were either happy with their fate, or at least accepted that it was their turn to suffer after what the Wehrmacht had done in Russia, is striking. "Our fellows were so sex-starved," a Soviet major told a British journalist at the time, "that they often raped old women of sixty, seventy or even eighty - much to these grandmothers' surprise, if not downright delight."

One can only scratch at the surface of the psychological contradictions. When gang-raped women in Königsberg begged their attackers afterwards to put them out of their misery, the Red Army men appear to have felt insulted. "Russian soldiers do not shoot women," they replied. "Only German soldiers do that." The Red Army had managed to convince itself that because it had assumed the moral mission to liberate Europe from fascism it could behave entirely as it liked, both personally and politically.

Domination and humiliation permeated most soldiers' treatment of women in East Prussia. The victims not only bore the brunt of revenge for Wehrmacht crimes, they also represented an atavistic target as old as war itself. Rape is the act of a conqueror, the feminist historian Susan Brownmiller observed, aimed at the "bodies of the defeated enemy's women" to emphasise his victory. Yet after the initial fury of January 1945 dissipated, the sadism became less marked. By the time the Red Army reached Berlin three months later, its soldiers tended to regard German women more as a casual right of conquest. The sense of domination certainly continued, but this was perhaps partly an indirect product of the humiliations which they themselves had suffered at the hands of their commanders and the Soviet authorities as a whole.

A number of other forces or influences were at work. Sexual freedom had been a subject for lively debate within Communist party circles during the 1920s, but during the following decade, Stalin ensured that Soviet society depicted itself as virtually asexual. This had nothing to do with genuine puritanism: it was because love and sex did not fit in with dogma designed to "deindividualise" the individual. Human urges and emotions had to be suppressed. Freud's work was banned, divorce and adultery were matters for strong party disapproval. Criminal sanctions against homosexuality were reintroduced. The new doctrine extended even to the complete suppression of sex education. In graphic art, the clothed outline of a woman's breasts was regarded as dangerously erotic. They had to be disguised under boiler suits. The regime clearly wanted any form of desire to be converted into love for the party and above all for Comrade Stalin.

Most ill-educated Red Army soldiers suffered from sexual ignorance and utterly unenlightened attitudes towards women. So the Soviet state's attempts to suppress the libido of its people created what one Russian writer described as a sort of "barracks eroticism" which was far more primitive and violent than "the most sordid foreign pornography". All this was combined with the dehumanising influence of modern propaganda and the atavistic, warring impulses of men marked by fear and suffering.

The novelist Vasily Grossman, a war correspondent attached to the invading Red Army, soon discovered that rape victims were not just Germans. Polish women also suffered. So did young Russian, Belorussian and Ukrainian women who had been sent back to Germany by the Wehrmacht for slave labour. "Liberated Soviet girls quite often complain that our soldiers rape them," he noted. "One girl said to me in tears: 'He was an old man, older than my father'."

The rape of Soviet women and girls seriously undermines Russian attempts to justify Red Army behaviour on the grounds of revenge for German brutality in the Soviet Union. On March 29 1945 the central committee of the Komsomol (the youth organisation of the Soviet Union) informed Stalin's associate Malenkov of a report from the 1st Ukrainian Front. "On the night of 24 February," General Tsygankov recorded in the first of many examples, "a group of 35 provisional lieutenants on a course and their battalion commander entered the women's dormitory in the village of Grutenberg and raped them."

In Berlin, many women were simply not prepared for the shock of Russian revenge, however much horror propaganda they had heard from Goebbels. Many reassured themselves that, although the danger must be great out in the countryside, mass rapes could hardly take place in the city in front of everybody.

In Dahlem, Soviet officers visited Sister Kunigunde, the mother superior of Haus Dahlem, a maternity clinic and orphanage. The officers and their men behaved impeccably. In fact, the officers even warned Sister Kunigunde about the second-line troops following on behind. Their prediction proved entirely accurate. Nuns, young girls, old women, pregnant women and mothers who had just given birth were all raped without pity.

Yet within a couple of days, a pattern emerged of soldiers flashing torches in the faces of women huddled in the bunkers to choose their victims. This process of selection, as opposed to the indiscriminate violence shown earlier, indicates a definite change. By this stage Soviet soldiers started to treat German women more as sexual spoils of war than as substitutes for the Wehrmacht on which to vent their rage.

Rape has often been defined by writers on the subject as an act of violence which has little to do with sex. But that is a definition from the victim's perspective. To understand the crime, one needs to see things from the perpetrator's point of view, especially in the later stages when unaggravated rape had succeeded the extreme onslaught of January and February.

Many women found themselves forced to "concede" to one soldier in the hope that he would protect them from others. Magda Wieland, a 24-year-old actress, was dragged from a cupboard in her apartment just off the Kurfürstendamm. A very young soldier from central Asia hauled her out. He was so excited at the prospect of a beautiful young blonde that he ejaculated prematurely. By sign language, she offered herself to him as a girlfriend if he would protect her from other Russian soldiers, but he went off to boast to his comrades and another soldier raped her. Ellen Goetz, a Jewish friend of Magda's, was also raped. When other Germans tried to explain to the Russians that she was Jewish and had been persecuted, they received the retort: "Frau ist Frau."

Women soon learned to disappear during the "hunting hours" of the evening. Young daughters were hidden in storage lofts for days on end. Mothers emerged into the street to fetch water only in the early morning when Soviet soldiers were sleeping off the alcohol from the night before. Sometimes the greatest danger came from one mother giving away the hiding place of other girls in a desperate bid to save her own daughter. Older Berliners still remember the screams every night. It was impossible not to hear them because all the windows had been blown in.

Estimates of rape victims from the city's two main hospitals ranged from 95,000 to 130,000. One doctor deduced that out of approximately 100,000 women raped in the city, some 10,000 died as a result, mostly from suicide. The death rate was thought to have been much higher among the 1.4 million estimated victims in East Prussia, Pomerania and Silesia. Altogether at least two million German women are thought to have been raped, and a substantial minority, if not a majority, appear to have suffered multiple rape.

If anyone attempted to defend a woman against a Soviet attacker it was either a father trying to defend a daughter or a young son trying to protect his mother. "The 13-year old Dieter Sahl," neighbours wrote in a letter shortly after the event, "threw himself with flailing fists at a Russian who was raping his mother in front of him. He did not succeed in anything except getting himself shot."

After the second stage of women offering themselves to one soldier to save themselves from others, came the post-battle need to survive starvation. Susan Brownmiller noted "the murky line that divides wartime rape from wartime prostitution". Soon after the surrender in Berlin, Ursula von Kardorff found all sorts of women prostituting themselves for food or the alternative currency of cigarettes. Helke Sander, a German film-maker who researched the subject in great detail, wrote of "the grey area of direct force, blackmail, calculation and real affection".

The fourth stage was a strange form of cohabitation in which Red Army officers settled in with German "occupation wives". The Soviet authorities were appalled and enraged when a number of Red Army officers, intent on staying with their German lovers, deserted when it was time to return to the Motherland.

Even if the feminist definition of rape purely as an act of violence proves to be simplistic, there is no justification for male complacency. If anything, the events of 1945 reveal how thin the veneer of civilisation can be when there is little fear of retribution. It also suggests a much darker side to male sexuality than we might care to admit.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/g2/story/0,36 ... 35,00.html

Davey Boy
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Post by Davey Boy » 01 May 2002 09:43

Not a bad read. Nicely balanced too...what do you guys think?

Gwynn Compton
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Post by Gwynn Compton » 01 May 2002 09:51

Stop spoiling the book :P

I just went down and ordered it from a friend at the bookstore today, and I should be getting it next week. :)

Davey Boy
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Post by Davey Boy » 01 May 2002 16:52

Here's some stuff on German rapes:

In the Ukrainian village of Borodayevka, in the Dniepropetrovsk region, the fascists violated every one of the women and girls.

In the village of Berezovka, in the region of Smolensk, drunken German soldiers assaulted and carried off all the women and girls between the ages of sixteen and thirty.

In the city of Smolensk, the German Command opened a brothel for officers in one of the hotels, into which hundreds of women and girls were driven; they were mercilessly dragged down the street by their arms and hair.

Everywhere the lust-maddened German gangsters break into the houses, they rape the women and girls under the very eyes of their kinfolk and children, jeer at the women they have violated, and then brutally murder their victims.
In the city of Lvov, thirty-two women working in a garment factory were first violated and then murdered by German Storm Troopers. Drunken German soldiers dragged the girls and young women of Lvov into Kesciuszko Park, where they savagely raped them. An old priest, V. I. Pomaznew, who, cross in hand, tried to prevent these outrages, was beaten up by the fascists. They tore off his cassock, singed his beard, and bayonetted him to death.

Near the town of Borissov in Bielorussia, seventy- five women and girls attempting to flee at the approach of the German troops, fell into their hands. The Germans first raped and then savagely murdered thirty-six of their number. By order of a German officer named Hummer, the soldiers marched L. I. Melchukova, a sixteen-year-old girl, into the forest, where they raped her. A little later some other women who had also been dragged into the forest saw some boards near the trees and the dying Melchukova nailed to the boards. The Germans had cut off her breasts in the presence of these women, among whom were V. I. Alperako, and V. H. Bereznikova.

On retreating from the village of Borovki, in the Zvenigorod District of the Moscow region, the fascists forcibly abducted several women, tearing them away from their little children in spite of their protests and prayers.

In the town of Tikhvin in the Leningrad region, a fifteen-year-old girl named H. Koledetskaya, who had been wounded by shell splinters, was taken to a hospital (a former monastery) where there were wounded German soldiers. Despite her injuries the girl was raped by a group of German soldiers and died as a result of the assault.


http://www.nizkor.org/hweb/imt/tgmwc/tg ... 9-14.shtml

How reliable is that website anyway?

Ovidius
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Post by Ovidius » 01 May 2002 20:07

HETMAN wrote:Everywhere the lust-maddened German gangsters break into the houses, they rape the women and girls under the very eyes of their kinfolk and children, jeer at the women they have violated, and then brutally murder their victims.[/b]


(Emphase is mine)

And later:

How reliable is that website anyway?[/quote]

I have just one question to ask:

[b]While the Germans were not alone in their fight in the Soviet Union, being there also their allies(Romanians, Italians, Finns, Magyars, Spaniards), were reported any horrors of this kind committed by allied countries from the Axis?


If no, then why only Germans were doing this?(I do not expect anti-German bunk, just a fair explanation/supposition from HETMAN former General anders former DPWES)

~Ovidius

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Post by Davey Boy » 02 May 2002 09:08

Take a chill pill daddy-o. Who says they didn't?


Btw, I'm flattered how all of you remember my past nicks. I must've made quite an impact on your lives. How nice.

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Post by Gwynn Compton » 02 May 2002 09:33

I my reply to another thread I've pointed out that some German officers did object to these actions. Groscurth is one, and another is General Karl Strecker, both of XI Corps. Strecker even refused to issue the illegal Barbarossa orders to his soldiers.

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Post by Ovidius » 02 May 2002 16:56

HETMAN wrote:Take a chill pill daddy-o. Who says they didn't?


Btw, I'm flattered how all of you remember my past nicks. I must've made quite an impact on your lives. How nice.


Still no answer and hollow bunk instead. :x

~Ovidius

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Roberto
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Post by Roberto » 02 May 2002 17:30

Hi folks,

What's this obsession with rape all about, I wonder?

I'd say the Nazis raped a lot less than the Soviets. But they also murdered a lot more. If you don't count the victims of Stalin's domestic violence, that is - with those included both are roughly equal, with a slight advantage for Stalin.

Enough said.

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Post by Ovidius » 02 May 2002 17:50

medorjurgen wrote:Hi folks,

What's this obsession with rape all about, I wonder?

I'd say the Nazis raped a lot less than the Soviets. But they also murdered a lot more. If you don't count the victims of Stalin's domestic violence, that is - with those included both are roughly equal, with a slight advantage for Stalin.

Enough said.


Do you really want me to loose a few tens of minutes and post an entire theory on rape? :lol:

~Ovidius

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Roberto
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Post by Roberto » 02 May 2002 19:29

HETMAN wrote:Here's some stuff on German rapes:

In the Ukrainian village of Borodayevka, in the Dniepropetrovsk region, the fascists violated every one of the women and girls.

In the village of Berezovka, in the region of Smolensk, drunken German soldiers assaulted and carried off all the women and girls between the ages of sixteen and thirty.

In the city of Smolensk, the German Command opened a brothel for officers in one of the hotels, into which hundreds of women and girls were driven; they were mercilessly dragged down the street by their arms and hair.

Everywhere the lust-maddened German gangsters break into the houses, they rape the women and girls under the very eyes of their kinfolk and children, jeer at the women they have violated, and then brutally murder their victims.
In the city of Lvov, thirty-two women working in a garment factory were first violated and then murdered by German Storm Troopers. Drunken German soldiers dragged the girls and young women of Lvov into Kesciuszko Park, where they savagely raped them. An old priest, V. I. Pomaznew, who, cross in hand, tried to prevent these outrages, was beaten up by the fascists. They tore off his cassock, singed his beard, and bayonetted him to death.

Near the town of Borissov in Bielorussia, seventy- five women and girls attempting to flee at the approach of the German troops, fell into their hands. The Germans first raped and then savagely murdered thirty-six of their number. By order of a German officer named Hummer, the soldiers marched L. I. Melchukova, a sixteen-year-old girl, into the forest, where they raped her. A little later some other women who had also been dragged into the forest saw some boards near the trees and the dying Melchukova nailed to the boards. The Germans had cut off her breasts in the presence of these women, among whom were V. I. Alperako, and V. H. Bereznikova.

On retreating from the village of Borovki, in the Zvenigorod District of the Moscow region, the fascists forcibly abducted several women, tearing them away from their little children in spite of their protests and prayers.

In the town of Tikhvin in the Leningrad region, a fifteen-year-old girl named H. Koledetskaya, who had been wounded by shell splinters, was taken to a hospital (a former monastery) where there were wounded German soldiers. Despite her injuries the girl was raped by a group of German soldiers and died as a result of the assault.


http://www.nizkor.org/hweb/imt/tgmwc/tg ... 9-14.shtml

How reliable is that website anyway?


As reliable as the sources it features, which are generally very good. Soviet accounts of German crimes I would be careful with, however, to the extent that they are not corroborated by non-Soviet (especially German) sources.

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Roberto
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Post by Roberto » 02 May 2002 19:31

Ovidius wrote:
medorjurgen wrote:Hi folks,

What's this obsession with rape all about, I wonder?

I'd say the Nazis raped a lot less than the Soviets. But they also murdered a lot more. If you don't count the victims of Stalin's domestic violence, that is - with those included both are roughly equal, with a slight advantage for Stalin.

Enough said.


Do you really want me to loose a few tens of minutes and post an entire theory on rape? :lol:

~Ovidius


Why, Ovi, some personal experience you can tell us about? :lol:

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Post by Ovidius » 02 May 2002 20:02

medorjurgen wrote:Why, Ovi, some personal experience you can tell us about? :lol:


Nope.. If you want to read the personal experiences of a rapist, you should ask a Soviet veteran who had participated in the conquest of Germany in 1944/1945.

Indeed, conquest. A "Great Patriotic War", in defense of the Mother Russia should have ended, logically, by routing the Germans out of the Soviet territory and forcing them to pay reparations. Not by conquering the country, with the plan to impose them Communism(which they originally wanted to impose to the entire Germany, not only to the East).

~Ovidius

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Post by AndyW » 02 May 2002 21:05

Ovidius wrote:
HETMAN wrote:Everywhere the lust-maddened German gangsters break into the houses, they rape the women and girls under the very eyes of their kinfolk and children, jeer at the women they have violated, and then brutally murder their victims.[/b]


(Emphase is mine)

And later:

How reliable is that website anyway?


~Ovidius[/quote]

No idea, but:

'They raped every German female from eight to 80'

Antony Beevor, author of the acclaimed new book about the fall of Berlin, on a massive war crime committed by the victorious Red Army.


Emphase is mine and how reliable is this Article and Beevor's book?

There were "only" 2 M german female between 8 and 80 in the area "liberated" by the Red Army? Maybe all the rapists were Ukranians, not Russians?? ;)

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Roberto
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Post by Roberto » 02 May 2002 23:44

AndyW wrote:
Ovidius wrote:
HETMAN wrote:Everywhere the lust-maddened German gangsters break into the houses, they rape the women and girls under the very eyes of their kinfolk and children, jeer at the women they have violated, and then brutally murder their victims.[/b]


(Emphase is mine)

And later:

How reliable is that website anyway?


~Ovidius


No idea, but:

'They raped every German female from eight to 80'

Antony Beevor, author of the acclaimed new book about the fall of Berlin, on a massive war crime committed by the victorious Red Army.


Emphase is mine and how reliable is this Article and Beevor's book?


I haven't read it yet, but Beevor is considered a highly reliable historian. You may have heard of his widely acclaimed book on the battle of Stalingrad.

There were "only" 2 M german female between 8 and 80 in the area "liberated" by the Red Army?


The others fled before the advance of the Red Army, most likely. Besides, that statement may refer to a given region and not to all the countries and areas conquered by the Red Army.

Maybe all the rapists were Ukranians, not Russians?? ;)


I remember having read somewhere (Kopelev's Aufbewahren für alle Zeit, if I'm not mistaken) that the most notorious rapists were the Asiatic troops of the Red Army.

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