As the Soviet Red Army marched past the borders of the Soviet Union they mass raped nearly every female between the ages of 8 and 80, including the victims freed from Nazi concentration camps.
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The rape of Berlin
The USSR's role in the defeat of Nazi Germany is seen as the nation's most glorious moment. But there is another story - of mass rapes by Soviet soldiers of German women in the dying days of the war. The Russian media dismiss talk of the rapes as a Western myth, though one of many sources that tells the story of what happened is a diary kept by a young Soviet officer. Vladimir Gelfand, a lieutenant, wrote with frankness from 1941 through to the end of the war. The unpublished manuscript paints a picture of disarray in the regular battalions - miserable rations, lice, routine anti-Semitism and theft, with men even stealing their comrades' boots.
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Being violated by the Red Army soldiers: The first German woman to write a WW2 book on the subject under her own name
On Jan. 26, 1945, Gabriele Kopp got on a train to flee from the Soviet Red Army. Unfortunately the locomotive was hit, and the Germans run to a village. Soon Russian soldiers emerged, searching for girls: That day 15-year-old Gabriele was violated twice by a Red Army soldier. The next morning she was "taken" by two men. That afternoon, she hid under a table in a room full of refugees. When the Russian soldiers entered, the older women pulled her out and into the arms of a "greedy officer." It went on like this for 2 weeks - as she retells in "Warum war ich bloss ein Madchen?" ("Why Did I Have to Be a Girl?").
How liberated Auschwitz survivors were assaulted by Red Army soldiers
When liberation came, it came quickly. One night in January 1945 inmates at Auschwitz-Birkenau were awoken by an explosion. The Nazis, about to leave, had blown up the crematoria, for fear that the Soviet Army would discover them. At the time millions of civilians were travelling to escape from the Soviet advance. And the liberated Auschwitz survivors joined that migration. One of them was Helena Citronova, who soon learned that Soviet soldiers lurked in the darkness: "They were... totally drunk. Red Army soldiers looked for cute girls... There were cases where they were raped to death."
Life in Berlin after the World War II ended - Avoiding the Red Army soldiers
Ursula Strumm's family returned to Berlin when their father purchased a restaurant. With bombs raining from the sky all the time, and the Soviet Red Army closing in on Berlin, time for the Berliners was very short indeed. And one day, hiding in a basement, they heard someone walking in the restaurant and knew that the Russian soldiers had arrived. A soldier descended the stairs and grabbed Gertrud, Ursula's 13yo sister, to violate her. "I gave the man a pack of cigarettes. He was so mad he tore them up and threw them at my feet and left," Ursula, then 10 years old, recalls. The only way to stop the Russian soldiers violating Gertrud was to pretend she had scarlet fever.
Soviet sources: The Red Army violated every German female from 8 to 80
"Red Army soldiers don't believe in 'individual liaisons' with German women. 9, 10, 12 men at a time - they violate them on a collective basis," wrote Zakhar Agranenko, an officer of marine infantry, in his journal in East Prussia. The Soviet armies advancing into East Prussia in 1945 were a mix of modern and medieval: tank troops in padded black helmets, Cossack cavalrymen with loot strapped to the saddle, lend-lease Studebakers and Dodges next to horse-drawn carts. Soviet war correspondent Natalya Gesse saw the Red Army in action in 1945: "The Russian soldiers were violating every German female from 8 to 80. It was an army of rapists."
Germany looks to Russia for clues on WWII massacre in Treuenbrietzen by Red Army
For decades the inhabitants of Treuenbrietzen kept quiet about a WW2 massacre. And many still have no wish to face the past. The killing and violating of 1,000 German civilians took place after Soviet Red Army soldiers occupied the town, 40km from Berlin, in April 1945, in the last days of the war. Under East German communist rule, it would not have been wise to refer to the matter. A request for information was sent on to Russian authorities. "It's our last chance to find those responsible. We've already gone through all the relevant German documents. Maybe something can be found in Russian military archives... orders, or reports, or photos," said Christoph Lange.
Stalin's army of rapists: The brutal Red Army war crime that everybody wanted to forget
In "World War Two: Behind Closed Doors" Laurence Rees remarks that although violation of women was officially a crime in the Red Army, Stalin excused it as a reward: "people should understand it if a soldier who has crossed thousands of kilometres through... death has fun with a woman or takes some trifle". It was not helping that Lavrenti Beria - chief of NKVD, which handled reports of Red Army soldiers violating women - was a serial rapist who abused hundreds of school-aged girls in his dacha. In one case, a Berlin lawyer, who had protected his Jewish wife during the Nazi-era, was shot trying to protect her from the Red Army. As he lay dying, he saw his wife being gang-raped.
A Woman in Berlin: WWII movie opens old wounds over Red Army rapes
The phrase "Komm Frau!" sends chills down the spines of elderly Germans. It was the command of Russian soldiers as they pillaged German cities, searching for women to rape. The postwar horror is about to be let out in a new film, A Woman in Berlin, likely to stir bitterness against the Russians. The film is based on a diary of Marta Hillers, who began to write it in a cellar on April 20, 1945. Within days of the Soviet occupation she had been "taken" several times by Red Army soldiers. When the German soldiers returned from the lost war, they did not want to know about the violating of their wives, daughters and mothers - or about the Russenbabies.
Lost Red Army Children - "being made pregnant by force"
More than 60 years after the end of World War II, the children of Red Army soldiers, "Russian children," born in eastern Germany during the Soviet occupation are now searching for their fathers. 61yo Jan Gregor can still remember "every word my mother said on the day she decided to tell me the truth." He knew what she meant when she talked about "being made pregnant by force" - violated by 4 Red Army soldiers during the final days of WWII. For decades this was a taboo subject in eastern Germany; initially the Soviet Occupation Zone. For 40 years in the GDR posters sang the praises of the "Soviet-German Friendship" and violation of women did not fit the image of the heroic Soviet army.
German women seized during World War II seek recognition
A group of elderly women met - some from western Germany, others from the former communist east - have been meeting in Berlin once a month since 1996. They share memories and above all struggle to have their past recognized. All of them had been seized by Red Army soldiers during the spring of 1945 and transported to Siberia, where they spent years in labor camps. When the Red Army started its offensive toward Berlin in 1945, tens of thousands of Germans tried to cross the Oder River to flee westward. "The Russians came. They pointed at us and shouted out, 'You, you, and you. You come with us.' They grabbed us. They did terrible things to us."
The embodiment of German suffering in World War II
A woman stands in the forest, shivering from the cold. She has just been violated by Russian Red Army soldiers and has been separated from her baby son, who may be dead by now. It is Jan 1945. She is German, married to a German, surrounded by other uprooted Germans. The Soviet forces are advancing toward Berlin and forcing millions of Germans in the eastern territories of the Third Reich to proceed in long columns southwest, back to their homeland. Some see this woman as the embodiment of German suffering in World War 2. But her son Hans-Ulrich Treichel does not agree with the comparison to mass extermination by Nazis.
Red Army troops violated even Russian women as they liberated them from camps
The Red Army's orgy of rape in the dying days of Nazi Germany was conducted on a much greater scale than previously suspected, according to the military historian Anthony Beevor. Beevor, the author of the best-selling Stalingrad, says advancing Soviet troops violated large numbers of Russian and Polish women held in concentration camps, as well as millions of Germans. The extent of the Red Army's indiscipline and depravity emerged as the author studied Soviet archives. Beevor - who served in the 11th Hussars elite cavalry regiment - says details of the Soviet soldiers' behaviour have forced him to revise his view of human nature.