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mass rape german women red army 1945

One young officer coming upon a unit that had overtaken a column of German refugees fleeing westward later recalled: ‘Women, mothers and their children lie to the right and left along the route, and in front of each of them stands a raucous armada of men with their trousers down. The women who are bleeding or losing consciousness get shoved to one side, and our men shoot the ones who try to save their children.’ A group of ‘grinning’ officers was standing near by, making sure ‘that every soldier without exception would take part’.

Women and girls were subjected to serial rape wherever they were encountered. Rape was often accompanied by torture and mutilation and frequently ended in the victim being shot or bludgeoned to death. The raging violence was undiscriminating. Often, especially in Berlin, women were deliberately raped in the presence of their menfolk, to underline the humiliation.The men were usually killed if they tried to intervene. In East Prussia, Pomerania and Silesia it is thought that around 1,400,000 women were raped, a good number of them several times. Gang-rapes were the norm rather than the exception. The two largest Berlin hospitals estimated that at least 100,000 women had been raped in the German capital. Many caught a sexually transmitted disease, and not a few fell pregnant; the vast majority of the latter obtained an abortion, or, if they did give birth, abandoned their baby in hospital. The sexual violence went on for many weeks, even after the war formally came to an end. German women learned to hide, especially after dark; or, if they were young, to take a Soviet soldier, preferably an officer, as a lover and protector. On 4 May 1945 an anonymous Berlin woman wrote in her diary: ‘Slowly but surely we’re starting to view all the raping with a sense of humour -gallows humour.’

She noted with a certain satisfaction that the Russian soldiers tended to prefer plump and well-fed women as their victims after the initial fury was over, and that these, unsurprisingly, were usually the wives of Nazi Party functionaries.

From The Third Reich At War by RICHARD J. EVANS

A picture in Stalinskoe znamia, the Stalingrad Front newspaper, on 8 September showed a frightened girl with herlimbs bound. 'What if your beloved girl is tied up like this by fascists?' said the caption. 'First they'll rape her insolently, then throw her under a tank. Advance warrior. Shoot the enemy. Your duty is to prevent the violator from raping your girl.' Such propaganda- almost a repeat of the theme in Konstantin Simonov's poem 'Kill Him!' - was undoubtedly crude, yet its symbolism closely reflected the mood of the time. AlexeySurkov's poem 'I Hate' was equally ferocious. The German violation of the Motherland could only be wiped out with bloody revenge.
(From Stalingrad, A Fateful Siege By ANTONY BEEVOR)

The hatred against the Germans was stoked by such propaganda during the Battle Of Stalingrad and was one of the reasons for the mass rape that followed as the Russian army entered German territory.

eyewitness account mass rape Soviet soldiers
Below is an account of the mass rape in 1945 of German women by the Russians. The eyewitness was an ace Luftwaffe pilot, Erich Hartmann. The following narrative is an adaption from his biography, The Blond Knight of Germany: A biography of Erich Hartmann by Raymond Toliver and Trevor Constable


Half-drunk Red Army soldiers, armed with rifles and machine guns, made unarmed Germans stand in rows. Other Russians forced women and girls to lie on the ground, tore off their clothes and began raping them. The male Germans could only silently clench their fists. U.S. soldiers from their truck looked on at all this with eyes wide open.

It seemed that they were simply paralyzed by the spectacle. When two young German girls, stripped naked, shouting all the time rushed to the truck and in desperation began to climb on it the American guards pulled them up. The Russians did not like this. Firing wildly into the air and shouting, they rushed to the American truck. The U.S. soldiers quickly readied their guns, and the truck raced away across the road. When it had disappeared, the Russian soldiers attacked the German women again.

A young German woman, a little over thirty, mother of a 12-year-old girl, knelt at the feet of a Russian corporal and prayed to God that the Soviet soldiers take her, and not the girl. But her prayers went unanswered. Tears streamed down her cheeks as she kept praying.

The Russian corporal walked away from the woman, his face contorted into a mocking grin. One of the soldiers hit the woman on the face with his boot. "Damned fascist pig!", he yelled. The young mother fell on her back. The soldier who had hit her, shot her in the head and killed her.

The Russians seized all the German women who were visible. The little daughter of the murdered woman was dragged behind a tank by the killer of her mother. He was joined by other Russians. For half an hour rang out wild screams and moans. Then, completely naked, the girl, unable to stand on his feet, crept back.

However, in the overall picture of the atrocities, the suffering of the girl was not anything special. The helpless German men tried to persuade the Russian guards to allow them to help the girl. Rifle at the ready, the Russian allowed a German medic to attend to the girl. An hour later she died, and her last sobs burned the hearts of Hartmann and his soldiers.

8 and 9-year-old girls were being repeatedly raped mercilessly by a brutalized Russian military. They showed no other feelings other than hatred and lust. Until all the monsters had satisfied themselves amongst the wild screams and wailing of women, Erich and his soldiers were under the muzzles of guns.

Spattered with blood, the Russian, lust satisfied, took over the covering of German soldiers. Mothers tried to protect their daughters, but they were beaten unconscious and dragged to the side, and then raped in that state. Even though Eric was a battle-hardened pilot, who had fought in hundreds of missions and who had received many wounds was struck in the heart by what he saw. By a superhuman effort of will he fought down an attack of vomiting.

Such an orgy just could not go on for long. Lust was sated, and began to appear the first signs of pity. Sometimes smiling, sometimes indifferent, sometimes a little depressed, Russian soldiers returned the women and girls. Those who were dragged away from the truck, nobody saw them again. Others fell unconscious in the arms of shaken fathers and husbands.

The Germans were herded into a makeshift camp in a meadow. They were allowed to go to the lake to wash and wash clothes. Then around the meadow was built a ring of 30 tanks to organize security for the night. Russian soldiers came again and again to the German women. The violence continued throughout the night, and stopped just before dawn. Women stumbled back, like broken dolls, after the Russian had satisfied themselves. Soldiers of JG-52 Squadron, which served E. Hartmann, had to make hard choices, and many of them made it.

When the first rays of the sun fell on the meadow surrounded by tanks, many Germans did not rise. Those who woke up, found themselves in a terrible realm of death, which was etched in red-hot iron in their memories forever. When Eric woke up, he saw a German sergeant with his wife and daughter lying beside him. The sergeant's wife quietly cut the veins of her hands with a homemade knife. Then he just killed his 11-year-old daughter, and then cut his own vein . Life slowly went away from them, while Eric lay nearby watching.

Other men strangled their wives and daughters and then hanged themselves on the sides of trucks. They preferred to die slowly and painfully. Erich began quietly talking to himself, to overcome the terrible effects of the bloody scenes in the mind. "You must live, Erich. You must survive to tell others about what happened. You can never forget what happens when man falls below any animal".
The pattern, with soldiers flashing torches in the faces of women huddled in the bunkers to select their victims, appears to have been common to all the Soviet armies involved in the Berlin operation.

 This process of selection, as opposed to the immediate violence shown in East Prussia, indicates a definite change. By this stage Soviet soldiers treated German women much 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, however, one needs to see things from the perpetrator's point of view,especially in this second stage when unaggravated rape had succeeded the extreme onslaught of January and February. 

The soldiers concerned appear to have felt that they were satisfying a sexual need after all their time at the front. In this most soldier rapists did not demonstrate gratuitous violence, provided the woman did not resist. A third stage in the process, and even a fourth, developed in the weeks to come, as will be seen.

But the basic point is that, in war, undisciplined soldiers without fear of retribution can rapidly revert to a primitive male sexuality, perhaps even the sort which biologists ascribe to a compulsion on the part of the male of the species to spread his seed as widely as possible. The difference between the incoherent violence in East Prussia and the notion of carnal booty in Berlin underlines the fact that there can be no all-embracing definition of the crime. On the other hand, it tends to suggest that there is a dark area of male sexuality which can emerge all too easily, especially in war, when there are no social and disciplinary restraints. Much also depends on the military culture of a particular national army.


Source: Daily Mail
Stalin's army of rapists: The brutal war crime that Russia and Germany tried to ignore
By Andrew Roberts

The movie, A Woman In Berlin, is based on the diary of the German journalist Marta Hillers

woman in berlin film scene
A German girl walks past Soviet troops in a scene from A Woman In Berlin

Marta was one of two million German women who were raped by soldiers of the Red Army - in her case, as in so many others, several times over.

It was a feature of Russia's 'liberation' and occupation of eastern Germany at the end of World War II that is familiar enough to historians, but which neither country cares to acknowledge took place on anything like the scale it did.

For Russia, the episode besmirches the fine name of the Red Army that had fought so hard and suffered so much in its four-year campaign against the Wehrmacht.

The courage and resilience of the ordinary Russian in what they called the Great Patriotic War is incontestable, and for every five German soldiers killed in action in the whole of World War II, four died on the Eastern Front.

Yet the knowledge that the victorious Red Army committed mass rape across Prussia and eastern Germany as they closed in on Berlin degrades its reputation, which is unacceptable to many Russians today.



And to make matters worse,” added a witness from Neisse, “these atrocities were not committed secretly or in hidden corners but in public, in churches, on the streets, and on the squares. . . . Mothers were raped in the presence of their children, girls were raped in front of their brothers.”

“They . . . raped women and girls . . . in ditches and by the wayside, and as a rule not once but several times,” echoed another viewer. “Sometimes a whole bunch of soldiers would seize hold of one woman and all rape her.”

"Many of the girls were raped as many as ten times a night or more,”said a witness from Neustadt.

“There was never a moment’s peace either by day or at night,” added another victim: 
The Russians were coming and going the whole time and they kept eyeing us greedily. The nights were dreadful because we were never safe for a moment. The women were raped, not once or twice but ten, twenty, thirty and a hun- dred times, and it was all the same to the Russians whether they raped mere children or old women. The youngest victim in the row houses where we lived was ten years of age and the oldest one was over seventy. . . . I am sure that wild and hungry animals would not have behaved any differently.

Wrote a girl from Posen who clung to a cousin,
When we were lying in bed at night we kept hearing steps coming up the stairs. . . . They beat on the door with their rifle-butts, until it was opened. Without any consideration for my mother and aunt, who had to get out of bed, we were raped by the Russians, who always held a machine pistol in one hand. They lay in bed with their dirty boots on, until the next lot came. As there was no light, everything was done by pocket torches, and we did not even know what the beasts looked like.


When the historian Antony Beevor wrote about it in his book Berlin: The Downfall, the Russian ambassador to London, Grigory Karasin, accused him of 'an act of blasphemy', saying: 'It is a slander against the people who saved the world from Nazism.'

Similarly, living Germans do not want the events that humiliated and violated them, their mothers and grandmothers to be held up to public examination, as this movie promises to do.

For many German women, the memory was something they sublimated and never spoke about to their husbands returning from the front.

It was the great unmentionable fact of 1945, which is coming out not just in history books, but in front of a mass, international audience. Painful memories of gross sexual abuse are being dragged out and held up to the pitiless witness of the silver screen.

Furthermore for the Germans, there is also the added sense that had it not been for Operation Barbarossa, Hitler's invasion of the USSR, these crimes would never have been committed against German womanhood in the first place.

Three million German troops crossed the Soviet border in June 1941 in an attempt to extirpate the Russian state, and the Nazi commitment to

Total War produced atrocities so terrible that they were bound to be avenged once the Red Army reached German soil.

As so often in war, it was to be defenceless women, girls and even elderly ladies who were to pay in pain and outrage for the crimes of their male compatriots.

Many had abortions or were treated for the syphilis they caught. And as for the so-called Russenbabies - the children born out of rape - many were abandoned.

In his fine new book, World War Two: Behind Closed Doors, the historian Laurence Rees points out that although rape was officially a crime in the Red Army, in fact, Stalin explicitly condoned it as a method of rewarding the soldiers and terrorising German civilians.

Stalin said people should ' understand it if a soldier who has crossed thousands of kilometres through blood and fire and death has fun with a woman or takes some trifle'.

On another occasion, when told that Red Army soldiers sexually maltreated German refugees, he said: 'We lecture our soldiers too much; let them have their initiative.'

dead german men women easy prey rape
With all the young men killed German women were easy pickings for revenging Russians

While Stalin condoned rape as an instrument of state military policy, his police chief Lavrenti Beria was a serial rapist.

An American diplomat, Beria's bodyguard and the Russian actress Tatiana Okunevskaya all bore witness of his methods of grabbing women off the street and shoving them into his limousine and then his bed.

'You are a long way from anywhere, so whether you scream or not does not matter,' Beria would tell the women when he got them back to his dacha. 'You are in my power now. So think about that and behave accordingly.'

More than 100 school-aged girls and young women were drugged and raped by the man who ran the

NKVD, the feared forerunner to the KGB.

'All of which means, of course, that if reports of Red Army soldiers raping women in eastern Europe were sent to the NKVD in Moscow, they finally reached the desk of a rapist himself,' says Rees.

The rape of Berlin's female population - anyone between the ages of 13 and 70 was in danger - was cruelly vicious.

In one heart-breaking incident, a Berlin lawyer, who had somehow protected his Jewish wife from persecution throughout the Nazi period, was shot trying to protect her from rape by Red Army soldiers. As he lay dying of his wounds, he saw his wife being gang-raped.

'They do not speak a word of Russian, but that makes it easier,' one Red Army soldier wrote in a letter home in February 1945. 'You don't have to persuade them. You just point a revolver and tell them to lie down. Then you do your stuff and go away.'

It was unusual for Red Army soldiers to admit to rape in letters home, which is why this new German film is likely to shock Russian patriotic sensibilities.

Nor did the Germany's surrender calm the Russians' behaviour, at least in the short term.

'Weeks before you entered this house, its tenants were living in constant fright and fear,' the rich German publisher Hans-Dietrich Muller Grote wrote to President Truman about the place he stayed in during the Potsdam conference of July 1945.

'By day and by night, plundering Russian soldiers went in and out, raping my sisters before their own parents and children, beating up my old parents. All furniture, wardrobes and trunks were smashed with bayonets and rifle butts, their contents soiled and destroyed in an indescribable manner.'

Rapists red army soldiers berlin 1945
Red Army troops in procession in Berlin, Germany. Their atrocities against the women were carried out in a sickeningly systematic manner

The Red Army's atrocities against women in Dresden in the spring of 1945, a city that had already suffered heavily from Allied bombing, were carried out in a sickeningly systematic manner.

'In the house next to ours, Soviet troops went in and pulled the women on to the street, had their mattresses pulled out and raped the women,' recalled one inhabitant, John Noble.

'The men had to watch, and then the men were shot. Right at the end of the street, a woman was tied to a wagon wheel and terribly misused.

'Of course, you had the feeling that you wanted to stop it, but there was no possibility to do that.' Women going to and from work past Red Army pickets were routinely raped.

The historian Chris Bellamy believes that although there are no surviving written records to prove it, 'the hideous spectre of multiple rape was not only condoned, but, we can be pretty sure, legally sanctioned by the political officers speaking for the Soviet government'.

Nor is it true that rape was mainly carried out by reserve units following behind the front-line troops.

The Russian war correspondent Vassily Grossman was embedded with the elite front-line Eighth Guards Army which committed rape, as did at least one of his own war correspondent colleagues.

As well as the estimated two million rapes in Germany, there were between 70,000 and 100,000 in Vienna and anywhere from 50,000 to 200,000 in Hungary, as well as thousands in Romania and Bulgaria, which had been pro-Nazi, but also in Poland, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia, which had not been.

Indeed, as Beevor points out, the Red Army even raped Russian women who had been liberated from concentration camps, emaciated and wearing their prison uniform.

Overall, however, Russian soldiers tended to prefer plumper and better-fed women, and one diarist recorded the satisfaction felt by some Berlin women that these tended to be the wives of Nazi Party functionaries.

Vodka played a role, of course, but the worst of the behaviour was fuelled by sheer hatred and aggression, as well as a cold-hearted sense of deterrence for the future.

'It's absolutely clear that if we don't really scare them now, there will be no way of avoiding another war in future,' one Red Army soldier wrote at the time.

In a recently published book by the Professor of Modern History at Cambridge, Richard Evans, a young Russian officer is quoted recalling how when his unit overtook a column of fleeing German refugees: 'Women, mothers and their children lie to the right and left along the route, and in front of each of them stands a raucous armada of men with their trousers down.

The women, who are bleeding or losing consciousness, get shoved to one side, and our men shoot the ones who try to save their children.'

A group of 'grinning' officers ensured that 'every soldier without exception would take part'.

Evans records: 'Rape was often accompanied by torture and mutilation and frequently ends in the victim being shot or bludgeoned to death. The raging violence was undiscriminating.'

The insistence on the men watching the rapes was deliberate policy, intended 'to underline the humiliation'.

Underlying all this foul inhumanity was the way the German Army and its allies had behaved during its invasion of Russia.

That was clearly not the only explanation - it doesn't explain why the Red Army raped Poles, Czechs and Yugoslavs and even Russian women, for example - for that one has to delve deep into the darkest recesses of the male psyche.

Yet the four years of life-and-death conflict did brutalise the Soviet peasant-soldier and taught him to behave like a beast against the women of his enemies once he was given the chance. The Soviet-German war lasted 1,418 days without respite, and for sheer horror there is nothing to equal it in the long and monstrous annals of human warfare.

'It eliminated pity, abandoned any constraint, mocked even a semblance of legality,' wrote its foremost historian Professor John Erickson. The Germans drew up plans to exterminate or deport no fewer than 50 million Slav untermensch (subhumans) and as soon as they had attacked they instituted procedures for achieving this. In the end, no fewer than 27 million citizens lost their lives.

The Geneva Conventions were ripped up, as it was stated that no German soldier would be prosecuted for any 'ideologically motivated' murder of civilians.

Hitler's Vernichtungskampf (war of annihilation) against the Slavs merged into his Rassenkampf (war of racial extermination) against the Jews and Communists to create a Continent-wide slaughter.

Behind the advancing Wehrmacht, which won victory after victory in the first six months, were a series of Einsatzgruppen (action squads), whose 'special task' it was to liquidate Jews, Communists, partisans, PoWs, the disabled and anyone else thought to be 'enemies of the Reich'.

In forests across eastern and southern Russia, Ukraine, Poland and the Baltic states, the populations of villages and towns were escorted to places of execution, ordered to dig their own shallow graves and then shot.

An estimated 1.5million innocent human beings are believed to have perished in this way. Yet, as Erickson puts it: 'Machine-guns and rudimentary gas vans could not cope with the demands imposed by mass extermination, prompting the search for a capacious gas chamber the like of Auschwitz.'

The 'scorched earth' policy adopted by the Wehrmacht led to millions more dying, and during the 900-day siege of Leningrad human flesh was semi-openly sold in the street. Small wonder that when 'Ivan' had his chance for revenge, he was going to take it in as gross and bestial a manner as possible.

The fact that the women of Germany were largely innocents, swept up in the horror rather than being responsible for it, meant nothing to an army that had lost 13.5 million casualties at the Germans' hands.

And what of the Allied advance in the West across Germany? It was not unknown for cases of rape to be reported, but they were considered a serious offence and punished accordingly.

The fact that today Germany is a peaceful democracy, indeed, in many ways a model country, can in large part be put down to the Red Army's monstrous invasion, but also to the ruthless bombing of its cities and towns by the British and U.S. air forces from 1941 to 1945.

The aggressive soul of Germany that had launched no fewer than five wars in the 75 years after 1864 was cut out by the experiences of World War II, and was thankfully not to reappear.

If made sensitively, this new film might be able to reconcile the two countries as they come to terms with the crimes committed in the first half of the Forties.

Equally, the capacity for reciprocated resentment is ever present. A Woman In Berlin is thus cinematic gunpowder. Yet neither side should hide from the harsh historical truths it tells, however unpalatable they may seem.

Elderly victims have come forward to reveal the horrors of abuse committed by the Soviet soldiers.

The search to find their stories began as the film 'A Woman in Berlin' - which will be released in the UK early next year – opened to critical acclaim.

An estimated two million women faced savage, multiple attacks which would start with the spine-chilling words – 'Frau, Komm'.

The film is based on "Anonymous," an autobiographical account originally published by a German journalist and editor in the 1950s, describing her experiences between April and June 1945.

In one of the most moving passages in the diary, found in the rubble of Berlin, the victim wrote: "Shut your eyes, clench your teeth, don't utter a sound.

"But when the underwear is ripped apart with a tearing sound, the teeth grind involuntarily. I feel the fingers at my mouth, smell the reek of horses and tobacco. I open my eyes. Adroitly the fingers force my jaws apart.

"Eye looks into eye. Paralysis. Not disgust, just utter coldness. The spine seems to be frozen.

"Icy dizziness encircles the back of the head. I find myself floating and sinking deep down through the pillows, through the floor.

"Before leaving, he fishes something out of his pocket, throws it without a word on the table, pushes the chair away and slams the door behind him.

"What he has left turns out to be a crumpled pack of cigarettes. The fee."

Academics have begun recording the experiences of the victims while offering them comfort after staying silent for over sixty years.

Since Monday, nine survivors of the horrors visited upon them have begun speaking to researchers employed by Professor Phillipp Kuwert of Greifswald University.

"A systematic scientific processing of the trauma unleashed released by the rapes and the long-term silence over them is missing in our knowledge about them," he said.

In conjunction with the Cologne-based Medica Mondiale association which works with traumatised women, he hopes to interview hundreds of survivors for a lasting record of what occurred.

Most have hidden their agony and shame since those terrible days in 1945 when girls as young as seven and grandmothers as old as 90 were attacked by legions of drunken, depraved and diseased soldiers.

Women were raped on their death beds, pregnant women raped hours before they were due to give birth. Some women were raped by 30 men one after another and day after day.

"I can smell them now," said Ingeborg Bullert, now 83, but 20 when the soldiers came for her in her bomb cellar in Berlin.

Encouraged by the new project to record the testimony of victims before they die out, she has never before spoken of her ordeal.

"They smelled of horses and sweat and dirt. I smelled them before I heard their footfalls on the cellar steps, the cellar I thought I was so safe in...

"They were so young. One withdrew a wine bottle from his jacket, the other threw me to the ground. I was rigid from fear. And then they took me, one after the other, each holding a pistol in their hand.

"My mother asked me what had happened but I couldn't tell her. I didn't tell anyone, not until now. We all kept silent for too long."

Fear, shame and an overriding sense that there was little pity for them as members of the nation that started the bloodiest war in history contributed to their silent suffering.

Foot note: Book On Red Army Rapes In

Berlin Angers Russians (Source: Rense)

Reuters) - A new book about the fall of Berlin is angering Russians, who feel widespread pride in their victory, by describing the Red Army's brutal conduct during the final days of World War Two, including gang rapes.

In an interview, Antony Beevor, British author of the best-selling "Berlin: The Downfall, 1945", said the controversy stems in part from Russia's failure to come to terms with its Soviet totalitarian past. Germany, the war's loser, has long dealt with its Nazi crimes. "Germany really started to face up to the horrors of its past after it had an economic miracle," he said. "Russia hasn't had an economic miracle yet and it will take quite a long time even after it does before it starts to see things less in terms of the heroism of the Great Patriotic War. "When you're economically humiliated you hang on to that moment of great pride even more so and refuse to contemplate any dark side to it."

Alongside the rape of an estimated two million German women, more than half of them gang-raped, by Soviet soldiers, Beevor's research shows thousands of Ukrainian and Polish women were raped as the Red Army advanced westwards to end Hitler's reign. "By the time the Red Army reached Berlin, rape had evolved into treating women as carnal booty," Beevor said.

"For me, the most striking or horrific discovery from a Russian point of view was that Soviet troops raped young Russian and Ukrainian women, because that undermines any justification of Red Army behaviour on the grounds of revenge," he added.

Josef Stalin deployed 2.5 million troops, 7,500 aircraft, 6,250 tanks and 41,600 guns in the Battle of Berlin. The war victory - at a staggering cost of 27 million dead - is perhaps the only part of Soviet history that all Russians see with pride. Their May 9 Victory Day anniversary of the end of the war remains a major national holiday.

Moscow's ambassador in London, Grigory Karasin, described the book, which has yet to be translated into Russian, as "an act of blasphemy" and "a case of slander".

Beevor said: "What the Russians had not realised was the bulk of the material came from Russian archives. It's hard to say it's slander or to say it was all taken out of context." Beevor is a former army officer who has written a number of history books and works of fiction. His breakthrough work was "Stalingrad", a harrowing description of the one of the most brutal battles in history.

An incident in 1943, when a Red Army soldier taunted German prisoners in the ruins of Stalingrad with the words "This is how Berlin is going to look", inspired "Berlin: The Downfall, 1945".

Beevor received many letters from German rape victims saying they were glad their story was being told at last. "All of them say in relief: 'None of us dared tell our story because we didn't think anyone would believe us. You've now told the story.' That was extremely encouraging," he said.

He said it was German men who had suppressed the subject. "For them the worst humiliation was that their wives had been raped and they simply could not talk about it, they forbade their wives from talking about it and it became a taboo." Beevor says the story of the rapes, while important, has attracted more attention than he would have hoped.

Nearly 80,000 Russian soldiers died and more than a quarter of a million were wounded in the fight for Berlin. He said it was vital to understand the suffering of Russian soldiers at the hands of both the Germans and their own commanders. "The last chapters are among the saddest - that those people who survived the war thinking they were going to go back and be treated as heroes then found life was very hard to fit into."

A German Woman Writes A Book.....
(From Der Spiegel)
Gabriele Köpp was repeatedly raped by Russian soldiers in 1945, when she was just 15. Now, at the age of 80, she has become the first German woman to write a book under her own name about the sexual violence she experienced during World War II.

Köpp has now written a book about those 14 days and about the rapes, titled "Warum war ich bloss ein Mädchen?" ("Why Did I Have to Be a Girl?"). The book is an unprecedented document, because it is the first work of its kind written voluntarily by a woman who was raped in the final months of World War II, and who, years later, described the experiences and made them into the central theme of a book.

There is "A Woman in Berlin," the famous confessions of a woman who was raped in World War II, which was first published in the 1950s and republished in 2003. But the woman was unwilling to disclose her identity, and it wasn't until after her death that it was revealed that the anonymous author was a journalist. To this day, there are doubts as to whether she truly wrote the book alone or whether there was a co-author who helped her to distance herself from the horrific events and, with distance, to achieve a voice -- a surprisingly free, confident and even flippant voice. 

Indeed, women have rarely reported voluntarily on their encounters with violence during and after the war. Experts describe this experience as a double trauma: the act of violence itself, and having to keep it hidden. Philipp Kuwert, a trauma expert and head of the department of psychiatry and psychotherapy at the University Hospital of Greifswald in northeastern Germany, began a research project last year on the repercussions of sexual violence in World War II, interviewing 27 women affected by such violence. He already has the results of his study but hasn't published anything yet. "It is one of the first and probably the last study of this nature, because 95 percent of the women who were affected are no longer alive."

No one knows exactly how many women became victims of sexual violence during the war. A figure of 2 million has been mentioned in various studies, but is considered unreliable because of the lack of concrete evidence. Nevertheless, there is no doubt that it was a crime committed against large numbers of women.

The average age of the women in Kuwert's study at the time of their rapes was 16.7, and each of the women was raped an average of 12 times. About half of the women continue to suffer from post-traumatic symptoms, including nightmares, suicidal thoughts and what is known as avoidance behavior, with 81 percent stating that the experiences had a massive impact on their sexuality. An "emotional anesthesia," or the avoidance of strong emotions, was typical for these traumatized women, says Kuwert.

"The motivation to study rape in World War II stems from my age group," says Kuwert. "We are running out of time," he adds, and points out that there are still many questions to be asked. There is documentation, of course, but many of the contemporary witnesses will soon be dead. For Kuwert, the only way to obtain a true picture of what happened is to examine the stories of individual victims.


On the evening of Jan. 25, 1945, Köpp was packing her things, preparing to flee. Her mother told her to hurry, because the Russians were approaching the town, and she said that she would join her later. Köpp wanted to talk to her mother on that evening, but she was silent and barely spoke with her daughter, not even to warn her about the many things that could happen while she was fleeing. "In a sense, she allowed me to run headlong onto a knife," Köpp writes today, as an old woman.

On Jan. 26, 1945, Köpp and her older sister left the house. She would later learn that Soviet soldiers liberated the Auschwitz concentration camp the following day, Jan. 27. The ordeal that was about to begin for Gabriele Köpp had its roots in the crimes committed by her fellow Germans.

She hardly remembers saying goodbye to her mother. In fact, she writes, she has only recently allowed herself to think that there may have been no goodbyes at all.

She boarded a freight train with heavy sliding doors. The city had already come under artillery fire. At the time, she says, she never dreamed that it would be decades before she could return home. Peering through the small windows in the freight car, she realized that the train was traveling south, and not leaving the city in a northerly direction, as she had believed.

She knew that Russian tanks had encircled the south. After a short time, she heard the sound of artillery fire, and the train came to a stop. The locomotive had apparently been hit. The sliding doors were locked, and the only way to get out of the car was to crawl through one of the high windows. She was an athletic girl and managed to pull herself up to the window, and a soldier pushed her through the small opening. Her sister remained behind in the train. She would never see her again.

She fell into the snow, lying flat on the ground at first to protect herself from the gunfire. Other refugees had also managed to escape from the train, and they began running toward a farm and then a nearby village. Köpp followed them. A baker let her into his bakery.

In the village, Soviet soldiers carrying large flashlights searched for girls in the dim light. One of them grabbed Köpp. The next day, she was chased to another house, where she was raped by a soldier, and then by another soldier soon afterwards. The next morning, she was pushed into a barn and raped by two men.

That afternoon, she hid under a table in a room filled with refugees. When the soldiers came to the building, asking for girls, the older women called out: "Where's little Gabi?" and pulled her out from underneath the table. "I feel hatred rising up inside of me," she writes. She was dragged off to a ransacked house. "I have no tears," she writes. The next morning, it was the women, once again, who "pushed" her into the arms of a "greedy officer." "I despise these women," she writes.

It went on this way, "relentlessly," for two weeks. After that, she was taken in at a farm, where she managed to hide from the soldiers.


When Köpp finally found her mother in Hamburg, after being a refugee for 15 months, she wanted to show her the letter. But the mother, who had not expected to see her daughter again, greeted her coldly, holding out her cheek to be kissed.


Rape of German Women At End Of WW2

Mass Rape of German Women When The Country Lost WW2

Brutal Mass Rape of German Women

Rape of Japanese Women By American Soldiers During WW2

Rape By German And Waffen SS Soldiers During WW2

Suggested Reading

german book rapes 1945
Warum war ich bloß ein Mädchen?: Das Trauma einer Flucht 1945 by Gabi Köpp

In Germany, this was the first book published on the sexual violence carried out by soldiers of the Soviet Army in occupied Berlin during World War II.

The author, 80-year-old Gabriela Koepp , broke a taboo of many years by the publication of such a book and was not afraid to put on the cover of the book the title "Why I did not have sex", and also gave her real name.

Note that the Russian government continues to deny the mass violence committed by Soviet troops on German women. Gobi Koepp said she still dreams of these horrors, and never in her life entered into a sexual relationship with men after the truama.

"The bedroom is full of people. They throw me on one of the beds. One of them wants to climb on me.  ... Enraged soldiers tearing at my clothes, but I manage to gain ground. I try to escape. One of them then throws me to the floor and beats me "- she writes in her book.

According to her, the phrase "Frau, Komm" ("Woman, come"), which the Soviet soldiers uttered was very scary for German women at the time. The epidemic of mass violence spread so much that the Vatican had expressed willingness to allow the abortion of some of the victims.

Earlier this topic was raised only in one book, "A woman in Berlin", whose author chose to remain anonymous. The woman died in 2001 aged 90 years. In 1950 the book was published in Britain and the U.S., but the German edition was banned.

2008 saw the German film "The Woman in Berlin" . The plot of the film revolved round bomb shelter in Berlin according to German journalist Marta Hillers. She says that during the first few days after the capture of Berlin she was repeatedly raped by Soviet soldiers. The same fate befell many hundreds of thousands of German women.

In an interview with Der Spiegel Koepp stressed that she considered herself bound to tell about the atrocities of the Soviet Army on behalf of all the victims, because "there was no longer anyone else to do it."

In 1945 she was only 15 years old.

According to experts, each of the victims  whose ages ranged from 9 to 90 years old, on an average of were raped 12 times - in 1945 in Berlin, by some 5 million Soviet soldiers. For many women aged 80 to 90 years, this act of violence proved fatal.


film woman in berlin

"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.

Sexual Violence in Conflict Zones: From the Ancient World to the Era of Human Rights


"[Sexual Violence in Conflict Zones] makes a significant contribution to our understanding of the relationship between sexual violence and periods of conflict."
Brutality and Desire: War and Sexuality in Europe's Twentieth Century
brutality desire war sexuality europe
Tracing sexual violence in Europes twentieth century from the Armenian genocide to Auschwitz and Algeria to Bosnia, this pathbreaking volume expands military history to include the realm of sexuality. Examining both stories of consensual romance and of intimate brutality, it also contributes significant new insights to the history of sexuality.
fall of berlin book antony beevor

This is a well researched and written account of the fall of Berlin. It fills a void somewhere between Cornelius Ryan's "The Last Battle" (excellent for the casual historian) and Read and Fisher's "The Fall of Berlin" (a more detailed and lengthy account). It's a good mesh of historical background and personal experiences from the battle. Most of the criticisms I have read about the book seem more motivated by a "Politically Correct" approach to history than by the truth. German atrocities throughout the war are well documented and are not the focus of this book. The Red Army DID(by all accounts save their own) engage in widespread rape and looting in eastern Germany and Berlin. Beevor gives a balanced account - he does not glorify German resistance, Nazism, or the Soviet advance. He simply tells what happened. Rape is a predominant theme in the book, but it was a predominant concern of the German women, and a fact of the war. This is a solid piece of work on one of the greatest human dramas in history. Don't let those with a hidden agenda steer you away from this book.

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May 1945 - If hell on earth existed, than it existed in Prague after May the 5th. 1945. Old men, women and children were beaten to death and maimed. Rapes, barbaric cruelties, horror-scenarios of hellish proportions - here they had been let lose.

- Ludek Pachmann, Czech Chess-Grand Master and publicist, forty years after the fact.

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"History is a guide to navigation in perilous times. History is who we are and why we are the way we are."

History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.


HISTORY, n. An account mostly false, of events mostly unimportant, which are brought about by rulers mostly knaves, and soldiers mostly fools.
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Snippets from History

This short but important battle played a key role in the decision to use atomic bombs when attacking Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The battle showed just how far Japanese troops would go to defend their country.

Snippets From History

Paulus didn't give the order to 6th Army to surrender, but his troops no longer had much fight left in them. Resistance faded out over the next two days, with the last die-hards finally calling it quits. One Red Army colonel shouted at a group of prisoners, waving at the ruins all around them: "That's how Berlin is going to look!


History is Philosophy teaching by examples.


"Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it."
-- George Santayana

Points to Ponder: Why Is China Unstable?

The aim of individuals in any society is money and power. Societies that give equal chance to all its members to get them will be the most stable. That is why democracies are more stable than other systems of governance.

China after Deng's reform gave the chance to get rich but power is in the hands of an elite; the Communist Party of China. Membership to the party is at the whims of the local party bosses. This leaves out many people who crave political power dissatisfied and disgruntled. There in lies the roots of instability. The Party suppressed these demands once at Tiananmen in 1989. But force is hardly the way to deal with things like these.

READ MORE: Tiananmen Square Massacre