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Violence against women in World War II. German invasions and concentration camps [ di Michele Strazza ]

Many German soldiers practiced rape already in the invasion of Poland. Then, during the German campaign in France in May-June 1940 were registered a number of rapes by soldiers of the Wehrmacht at the expense of French women, even though they were duly punished. However, despite the punishment, violence continued to the point that General Gunther von Kluge, commander of the 4th Army, June 27, 1940 signaled in an agenda an "alarming increase in rape cases".
During the C.D. "Operation Barbarossa" by the Nazi invasion of Russia was no lack of sexual violence perpetrated by German soldiers on the basis of a general concept of impunity for crimes committed against civilians, considered inferior race. The only drawback was represented by military discipline and efficiency of the troops. While having at their disposal military brothels, the Nazi troops raped numerous women in the territories conquered many of which then were subjected to forced prostitution in army camps.
The Russian Foreign Minister, Molotov, in a long report sent to the Allies in January 1942, he spoke of "cowardly outraged women and girls in all the occupied territories", describing in detail the violence occurred.
The German soldiers entered houses, taking away women and girls who were then systematically raped. Many of them suffered horrible mutilations such as amputation of breasts and genitals, and then be killed. In Jewish ghettos night raids to kidnap the girls were on the agenda.
Many times, as the German troops will happen also in Italy, in the occupied territories practiced sexual violence in retaliation against resistance attacks.
So June 15, 1944 during a reprisal in the French town of St. Donat were raped 54 women. They were not spared even girls as young as 13 years old.
Although not with great frequency, in the concentration and extermination camps the Nazis rape was allowed. It was directed not only towards Jewish women and girls, but also to the gypsy.
Cecilie Klein tells of a civilian in Auschwitz conducted selection for supply of Jewish young military brothels "where they paid for three months service before being sent to the gas chambers." Another deported the same field, Ruth Elias, so remember:

Once the block appeared suddenly the SS. The door was flung open violently, and the SS came in drunk riding their roaring motorcycles. He put on some music, the SS men began to sing, continued to drink and, excited by the music, became a good mood. Shamelessly they began to pull out from beds Jewish girls who took with them and then rape them. The violence of Jewish girls was allowed. This was not a "racial sin." It 'impossible to describe how sorry state these poor creatures turned back.

After the liberation from the camps women often became the subject of morbid curiosity and were forced "to withdraw in painful silence and remove episodes on which even today can shed light." This is the testimony of a former French deported to Ravensbruck:

The neighbors ran to see "the deportees." I was the attraction of the neighborhood. The first days, when I was very excited, I received all, I answered all the questions. But later I was so bitter that I locked myself in my room and did not want to see anyone. The questions that were put to me, were always the same. "And 'ever it has been raped? (This was the most frequent question. At the end I was sorry to have been spared. My only mistake had been to omit a part of the adventure and this disappointed the audience. Luckily I was able to at least say the violence to the other.) He suffered very? It 'been beaten? E 'was tortured? With what has been beaten? It 'been sterilized? And the Russians-were bad? What, had no other clothes? And if he had his things, as he did? Say, in short, there was homosexuality among the prisoners? And why he is not dead? To the last question I could not answer.


Bartov O., L’Armée de Hitler. La Wehrmacht, le nazis et la guerre, Paris, Hachette Littératures, 1999;
Beck B., Rape: the Military Trials of Sexual Crimes committed by Soldiers in the Wehrmacht, 1939-1944, in K. Hagemann-S. Schuler-Springorum(Eds.)., “Home/Front: the Military, War and Gender in Twentieth-Century Germany”, Oxford, Berg, 2002;
Lotto A. - Bianchi B., Nei campi nazisti, in Bianchi B. (edited by), “Deportazione e memorie femminili (1899-1953)”, Milano, Unicopli, 2002;
Strazza M., Senza via di scampo. Gli stupri nelle guerre mondiali, Potenza, CRPO, 2010.
Documento inserito il: 08/07/2016
  • TAG: seconda guerra mondiale, wehrmacht, strupri, violenze

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