Camp Brothels: Forced Sex Labour in Nazi Concentration Camps

TitleCamp Brothels: Forced Sex Labour in Nazi Concentration Camps
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsSommer, Robert
EditorHerzog, Dagmar
Book TitleBrutality and Desire: War and Sexuality in Europe's Twentieth Century
Pagination168-196
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
CityBasingstoke, UK ; New York
Abstract

When we speak of Nazi concentration camps we think of mass annihilation, terror, and starvation. The image of piles of corpses in Bergen-Belsen and the crematories of Auschwitz has burned itself into our collective memory. In the final years of the existence of the vast concentration-camp system in the ‘Third Reich’, the Nazis installed a system of brothels which only prisoners were allowed to attend. It is not surprising that the establishment of such prisoner brothels has for many years been almost completely ignored by historians. Books and movies have referred to brothels for SS guards in which Jewish women were raped, but the notion of brothel barracks created for prisoners seems completely absurd. Since the 1990s, various scholars have begun to discover the so-called Sonderbauten (special constructions), which was the SS euphemism for these brothels.

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