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Red Army Raped Every German Woman, Says Author

Thursday, 02 May 2002 12:00 AM

Beevor describes how Natalya Gesse, a close friend of the scientist Andrei Sakharov, 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. It was an army of rapists."

"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," says Beevor.

The author describes how the German women 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 places of other girls in a desperate bid to save her own daughter. Older Berliners still remember the screams every night," Beevor describes.

Beevor estimates that rape victims from Berlin's two main hospitals ranged from 95,000 to 130,000, one doctor deducing 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," Beevor says, maintaining that at least 2 million German women are thought to have been raped, and a substantial minority, if not a majority, appearing to have suffered multiple rape.

In Berlin, says Beevor, 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.

Attempting to explain the grisly phenomenon, Beevor suggests that ill-educated Red Army soldiers suffered from sexual ignorance and utterly unenlightened attitudes toward women – fostered by the Soviet state's attempts to suppress the libido of its people.

Beevor suggests that this ignorance "combined with the dehumanizing influence of modern propaganda and the atavistic, warring impulses of men marked by fear and suffering."

And the author maintains 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 labor.

Beevor surmises that the rape of Soviet women and girls seriously undermines Russian attempts to justify Red Army behavior on the grounds of revenge for German brutality in the Soviet Union.

The author concludes, "If anything, the events of 1945 reveal how thin the veneer of civilization 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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Beevor describes how Natalya Gesse, a close friend of the scientist Andrei Sakharov, 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. It was an army of rapists. The subject...
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2002-00-02
Thursday, 02 May 2002 12:00 AM
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