Sexual and Predatory Magnitude of the Allied Forces After WWII (Part II)
…And Trajectory Implications
“A Russian lieutenant walked into a barber’s shop and proceeded to rape the [German] cashier in front of the customers.” Giles MacDonogh
The evidence is quite clear that raping women and children was a form of revenge for the Allied forces. “One of the French officers is supposed to have said, ‘We are the avengers, the SS of the French Army.’”
The French units “were made up of French soldiers from the 5th Armoured Division, Foreign Legionaries, and Moroccan and Algerian troops from the 2nd Moroccan and the 3rd Algerian Infantry Divisions. From the first the French made it clear that the people were going to be properly punished.
“There would be three days of plunder. A sergeant said that the troops would be released from discipline, and a quartermaster added, ‘In the next few nights no woman will go untouched’…
“The surviving houses were systematically destroyed with benzene: 649 were burned down in this way. It was now open season for any women aged between sixteen and eighty. It is generally said that the Moroccans behaved the worst.”
The French soldiers moved to Stuttgart, where “3,000 women and eight men were raped,” a behavior which infuriated the Americans. In another place called Vaihingen, “A further 500 women were raped…”
Yet revenge was one of their plans, and they were
“anxious to weed out the major Nazis of Breslau. On 7 May the Red Army deliberately started fires in the ruins. What was left of the city was looted.
“On 10 May the library of the university or Leopoldina for which Brahms had written his famous Academic Festival Overture went up in flames; on the 15th it was the turn of the city museum. On the same day the twin towers of one of the city’s great Backsteingotik churches—St. Mary Magdalene—were blown up.”
Acts of revenge reached their fulfillment when the Jews plotted to exterminate the Germans through poisoning:
“The greatest act of lawlessness committed by the Jews in post-war Germany was the attempt to kill a large number of POWs in Nuremberg. Abba Kovner, who had led an armed revolt in the Vilna Ghetto, founded the Nakom (Revenge’) Group and conceived the idea of poisoning the drinking water in the city.
“One member of the group found a job in the waterworks, but David Ben-Gurion refused to allow him to go ahead with the scheme. They turned instead to the camp, where 12,000 POWs were kept, many of them ex-SS or Nazis, and succeeded in poisoning the bread.
“The prisoners suffered terrible pains, but none died. The perpetrators fled to Palestine and resisted all attempts to make them face justice in Germany.”
The Americans were generally considered to be kind, and many blacks in the army (there were 42,000 of them), as Princess Victoria Louise put it, “were friendly and cheerful.” But many others followed in the footsteps of the Red Army, and “were accused of perpetrating several rapes, in one instance of a fourteen-year-old girl in the village of Altwarmbuch.”
In April 28, when the Allies “were doing little to restore” order, “the villages were full of drunken American blacks with women on their arms, looking for beds.”
Between the months of January and February in 1945, there were 402 rape charges reported in the U.S. army; in April, that number rose to 501. Unlike the Red Army, many of those who were convicted of such crimes were executed.
Other atrocities were committed as well. After the war, the Americans joined the Russians in looting German towns and villages. The Soviet forces, of course, started “all sorts of theft.”
During the first two days of August, it is estimated that they stole “1,280,000 tons of materiel and 3,6000,000 tons of equipment.” U.S. soldiers were accused of stealing paintings, and two U.S. officers “of the Women’s Army Corps were tried for stealing $1,500,000 worth of jewelry.”
In some Allied camps, “the prisoners discussed the merits of the different Allies: ‘In general it was best to be with the English.’ That guaranteed ‘decent treatment.’” At a British camp—Scotland Camp 21—one prisoner “was hung up in the latrines.”
Treatment is “decent” only when compared to the other options:
“At one point the British were handing out between thirty and fifty death sentences a month, although a third of them were quashed on appeal…At Bad Nenndorf near Hanover, CSDIC 74 also possessed an interrogation centre where men were tortured…
“The torturechamber was the old pumproom. Here they were beaten, deprived of sleep, threatened with execution or unnecessary surgery. As many as 372 men and 44 women passed through Bad Nenndorf before it closed in July 1947.”
It was so bad at Bad Nenndorf that German-born Jew Lieutenant Richard Langam, along with many others, was accused of abusing the prisoners.
“Lord Pakenham expressed his concern about the accusation that the British were treating prisoners in a manner ‘reminiscent of the German concentration camps.’ Following the court martial Bad Nenndorf was closed down.”
German prisoners suffered similar brutalities in the French camps, whose revenge reached its zenith by starving the prisoners.
“Very soon after the end of the war the Red Cross reported that there were 200,000 prisoners on the brink of famine in France…officially 21,886 German POWs died in France…
“Salomon cites one case of an elderly Alsatian German historian who starved to death in a French ‘dungeon.’ In another camp in the Sarthe, prisoners had to survive on 900 calories a day. In the prison hospital an average of twelve POWs died daily.”
The Russian camps were the worse. At least 1,094,250 “soldiers perished, half of them before April 1945. Sometimes it was the majority: of the 90,000 soldiers taken prisoner at Stalingrad, only 5,000 returned home.”
Berlin suffered more damage than any other city. Anything the Russians did not steal there, “they destroyed.” But property damages were nothing compared to the women who were raped. Richard J. Evans himself admits,
“Rape was accompanied by torture and mutilation and frequently ended in the victim being shot or bludgeoned to death. The raving violence was undiscriminating. Often, especially in Berlin, women were deliberately raped in the presence of their menfolk, to underline the humiliation.”
A Victim of Allied Forces
It is estimated that 100,000 women were raped in Berlin alone.MacDonogh says that a conservative number of women who were raped there was 20,000.
“The worst cases involved very young children or elderly ladies, and the victims were often killed afterwards. Sometimes they took their own lives. In one instance soldiers raped the sisters who worked as nurses in the military hospital, infecting them with syphilis at the same time.”
One woman, Ruth Friedrich,
“was spared, largely because her lover, the conductor Leo Borchard, spoke fluent Russian. She visited a friend who had been raped by seven soldiers, ‘once after the other, like beasts.’
“‘We need to commit suicide…we certainly can’t live like this,’ the friend said…The Russians took bodily possession of German soil, bit by bit; and bodily they consumed German flesh, night by night.”
The only escape for the women was suicide by poisoning, “and there was much discussion of the best and most painless way to quit life. The discussions had started before the Russians arrived…There were instances of mass suicide by poison.”
There were other widespread instances of women hanging themselves in attics. As rape became routine, it became clear that “it could eventually be laughed off.” One woman, a widow,
“was over fifty when she was raped by an unbearded boy. He later paid her a compliment, saying she was considerably tighter than the women of the Ukraine.”
Another woman, “a victim of a savage rapist who had not only cracked her skull but knocked out most of her teeth, lost her middle-class prudishness with the experience.” One eighteen-year-old “had been raped sixty times.”
Most of the German men could do nothing, and those who tried found themselves bleeding to death while their wives were raped in front of them. Following the rapes were countless unwanted babies. Ruth Friedrich observed that “there would be an epidemic of babies in six month’s time ‘who don’t know who their fathers are, are the products of violence; conceived in fear; and delivered in horror.” She then asked the question, “Should they be allowed to live?”
But that was only the tip of the iceberg: women had to cope with syphilis and gonorrhea without antibiotics.Those who decided that they would not commit suicide and found themselves pregnant came to one conclusion: abortion.
But that again was troublesome: “Abortion was a crude business, normally carried out without anesthetic,” and the cost for performing one was quite costly.
“Many women performed the act on themselves, with inevitable consequences. Despite the massive incidence of abortion, it is estimated that between 150,000 and 200,000 ‘Russian babies’ survived to see the light of day.”
MacDonogh writes that “the daily threat of rape petered out only when the Western Allies arrived in July, and when the Soviet authorities realized that it was damaging their chances of political success among the civilian population.”
But the damage was already done, and by this time Berlin was already referred to as a “‘city without Eros.’”When other groups came in, they described Berlin as “a picture of hell.”
Yet there were instances where the American Allies were involved in rape as well. Margret Boveri, a journalist who worked in the United States,
“recounts the case of an estate-owning family on the edge of Berlin who were out walking when the Russians arrived and so ran back to the house petrified with fear as to what the soldiers would do to their daughters and their friends.
“They found to their surprise that the Russians had touched nothing and had been exceptionally polite. When the Americans arrived, however, one of the girls was so brutally raped that it took her years to recover from the shock.”
Even when the instances of rape slowed down for a time, the Allies treated the Berliners as “former Nazis. No distinction was to be made between good Germans and bad Germans, so the good Germans began to muck in with the bad.”
Starvation was rampant. In Breslau, for instance, “The Russians and the Poles had made it clear they were not in a position to feed the Germans.”
There were about 42,000 Germans living in Prague in 1945. On May 5th, at 11 in the morning, the Revolution began.
“The insurgents captured the radio station and began broadcasting the slogan (Death to the Germans! Death to all Germans! Death to all occupiers!). There was no mercy for old men, women or children—even for German dogs.”
No one was spared, and
“many of the city’s most notable Germans were put to death during this bloodletting. Professor Albrecht, the last rector of the German university, was arrested at the Institute for Neurology and Psychiatry. He was beaten up and hanged outside the lunatic asylum. The director of the Institute for Dermatology suffered a similar fate.”
Concentration camps closed for Jews, Catholics, and homosexuals were being reopened for the Germans. In Brux, a small town in Czechoslovakia, which had about 30,000 inhabitants, “of whom two-thirds were Germans,” it is estimated that there were thirty camps. Many of the prisoners, who suffered from diseases such as tuberculosis, in those camps were shot. Some “hanged or poisoned themselves, others vanished.”
At many of those camps, Germans “had to strip. Any good clothing was carted off and they were given rags that had belonged to those who had already perished; very often they were covered in blood.”
The longer the Red Army stayed in Eastern Europe, the more dreadful they became to the Germans.
“Anyone found to have [an SS tattoo] was stripped naked and beaten to a pulp. One young, blond boy put up a fight. They prized open his legs and destroyed his genitals before beating him to death.”
Another SS man “was so badly beaten that he had to be taken away to hospital where he died without regaining consciousness.” At one point the occupying army had one man’s face “pushed in his own excrement until he died from that and other beatings.”
On another occasion, eighty Germans, who had nothing to do with the Nazis, were killed in the Jewish cemetery.
“Beatings were a matter of course and the work was grueling enough: eighteen hours a day at the hydrogenation works with six hours’ sleep. Work was a two-hour march away, and a two-hour slog home. The march was all part of the planned humiliation.”
One German nobleman Alexander Thurn und Taxis “was thrown into a wild concentration camp with his family. He and his two sons had to watch while his wife, her mother, and the governess were repeatedly raped. When the sport was over he was marched off to a Russo-Polish run Auschwitz.”
Four days later, the Red Army arrived in Prague, and “Germans were told to bow when they saw a Soviet car.” Then real concentration camps began. “Germans were beaten bloody with iron bars and lead pipes by a civilian mob and made to remove their shoes and run over broken glass.”
Men and women were forced to clear the barricades, which were made of iron bars and barbed wire. Women’s hair
“was cut with bayonets and they were stripped of shoes and stockings. Both men and women died from the beatings.
“A large crowd of Czechs stood by and cheered whenever a woman was struck or fell…As [the women] were driven off, one woman heard a Czech tell another, ‘Don’t hit them on the head, they might die at once. They must suffer longer and a lot more.’”
One woman, Helene Bugner,“was unrecognizable to her children” at the end of a day. Another, Marianne Klaus,
“saw her husband alive for the last time on the 9th. She received his body the next day—the sixty-six-year-old had been beaten to death by the police.
“On the same day she saw two SS men suffer a similar fate, kicked in the stomach until blood spurted out; a woman Wehrmacht auxiliary stoned and hanged; and another SS man hung up by his feet from a lamppost and set alight.
“Many witnesses attested to the stringing up and burning of Germans as ‘living torches,’ not just soldiers but also young boys and girls…Germans were torched in rows on lampposts.”
German prisoners were placed in locations such as the Ministry of Education, the Military Prison, the Riding School, the Sports Stadium, and the Labour Exchange. German men, women, children, and babies were shot on the 5th in the courtyard.
“Alfred Gebauer saw female SS employees forced to roll naked in a pool of water before they were beaten senseless with rifle butts.”