Crimes unspoken : the rape of German women at the end of the Second World War

TitleCrimes unspoken : the rape of German women at the end of the Second World War
Publication TypeBook
Year of PublicationN/A
AuthorsGebhardt, Miriam
Number of Pages252
PublisherPolity
CityCambridge; Malden, MA
Abstract

The soldiers who occupied Germany after the Second World War were not only liberators: they also brought with them a new threat, as women throughout the country became victims of sexual violence. In this disturbing and carefully researched book, the historian Miriam Gebhardt reveals for the first time the scale of this human tragedy, which continued long after the hostilities had ended. Discussion in recent years of the rape of German women committed at the end of the war has focused almost exclusively on the crimes committed by Soviet soldiers, but Gebhardt shows that this picture is misleading. Crimes were committed as much by the Western Allies -- American, French and British -- as by the members of the Red Army, and they occurred not only in Berlin but throughout Germany. Nor was the suffering limited to the immediate aftermath of the war. Gebhardt powerfully recounts how raped women continued to be the victims of doctors, who arbitrarily granted or refused abortions, welfare workers, who put pregnant women in homes, and wider society, which even today prefers to ignore these crimes.