War Crimes: Mass Rape Post World War 2 (Part 2)

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Continued from “War Crimes: Mass Rape Post World War 2 (Part 1)


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We all have read about wars in length. But have you ever tried to find out, what happened after those wars got over? No!

So, Team Explicit Facts has attempted to explore the unchartered waters of the post-war scenario continued from Part 1.

Let’s dive into the topic, without wasting any more time.

Rape of German Women was an “Act of Revenge”

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 Gutenberg 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 that 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 in the extreme onslaught of January and February.Surrender With A Hope for Protection

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.”

Nightly Screams

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.

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.”

Wartime Rape vs Wartime Prostitution

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.

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History of Law Against Sexual Assault During World War 2

The Nuremberg and Tokyo Tribunals became the first international courts of real significance.

The victorious Allied powers established them in 1945 and 1946, respectively, to prosecute the major war criminals of the European Axis powers (in fact only Germans) and of Japan for crimes against peace, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.

The possibility of prosecuting sexual violence as a war crime was present, because of the recognition of war rape as a serious violation of the laws of war in the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907 assertion that “[f]amily honour and rights [and] the lives of persons…must be respected.”

While the Nuremberg Tribunals failed to charge Nazi war criminals with rape, witnesses testified about it occurring.

Previous war crimes trials had prosecuted for sex crimes, hence war rape could have been prosecuted under customary law and/or under the IMT (International Military Tribunals) Charter’s Article 6(b): “abduction of the civilian population….into slavery and for other purposes” and “abduction unjustified by military necessity.”

Similarly, it would have been possible to prosecute war rape as a crime against humanity under Article 6(c) of the Nuremberg Charter: “other inhumane acts” and “enslavement”.

However, notwithstanding evidence of sexual violence in Europe during World War II, a lack of will led to rape and sexual violence not being prosecuted at the Nuremberg Tribunals.

The International Military Tribunal for the Far East did convict Japanese officers “of failing to prevent rape” in the Nanking Massacre, which is known as the “Rape of Nanking”. 

The tribunal, in Tokyo, prosecuted cases of sexual violence and war rape as war crimes under the wording “inhumane treatment”, “ill-treatment,” and “failure to respect family honour and rights.”

According to the prosecution, in excess of 20,000 women and girls were raped during the first weeks of the Japanese occupation of the Chinese city of Nanking.

The War Crimes Tribunal in Tokyo included accounts of sexual violence crimes in the trial testimonies as well as public records. On a national level, a commander of the 14th Area Army, General Yamashita, was convicted for, inter alia, “rape under his command.” 

Some 35 Dutch comfort women brought a successful case before the Batavia Military Tribunal in 1948.

It is well known that brutal mass rapes were committed against German women; both during and after World War II.

According to some estimations over 100,000 women were raped by Soviet soldiers in Berlin during and after The Battle of Berlin.

The phrase “from eight to 80” was used to describe potential victims of Soviet mass-rape.

“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.” Rape was regarded by men in the Soviet army as a well-deserved form of punishment, whether the civilians had anything to do with the war or not.

In total, historians estimate that over two million German women were raped.

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