A Question of Silence: The Rape of German Women by Occupation Soldiers

TitleA Question of Silence: The Rape of German Women by Occupation Soldiers
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1995
AuthorsGrossmann, Atina
Date Published03/1995

The question of rape of German women by occupation, mostly Red Army soldiers during and after World overdetermined. It partakes of intersect and threaten to block each other - so much so that the silence referred to in the title of this paper is at least as much that of the historian trying to figure out how to tell the story as about the events discussed. In this article, the author aims to examine two points that seem to me important when thinking about German history and how feminists might approach the place of these events in German history. First, the massive experience of rape, the fear of rape, and the incessantly repeated stories of rape - both at the time and years later - need to be solidly located within a pervasive German self-perception and memory of victimization so strong and enduring that it continues to surprise many Americans, and especially Jews, as it repeatedly pops up. Secondly, the author aims to read the language of the various rape narratives quoted here as offering clues to the continuing impact within the immediate postwar period of both Weimar and National Socialist population and social welfare policy, and the links and differences between the two.

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