Western allies raped hundreds of thousands of German women, writes German historian Miriam Gebhardt in a book published under the name “When the soldiers came” (Als die Soldaten kamen) and which received both praise and criticism in Germany.
“At least 860,000 women and girls, but also men and young boys, were raped by ally soldiers after the fall of the Third Reich and in the postwar period. It happened everywhere,” writes Gebhardt, noting that US soldiers were the ones who did it the most.
The book strongly echoed in Germany, where information on such crimes was known before but was almost exclusively ascribed to Soviet soldiers.
Rapes committed by American soldiers over French women after the landing in Normandy in 1944 were also documented, but globally the Western allies – the Americans, French and British maintained an impeccable reputation of winners over Nazi barbarism.
In contrast, the image of Stalin’s troops which entered Berlin and whose soldiers “attacked the women who were treated as toys for sexual abuse, were long etched in the minds and investigations of the Germans,” the writer explained at a press conference in Berlin.
“In other parts of Germany, and this was not known earlier, or was not spoken about, some other soldiers in similar way raped German women,” she said, based on the information based on the data of so far unexplored military documents, testimonies from priests, requests for abortions and the like. Documents also speak about “the hunt for women and young girls”, who were often killed after being raped, often in the middle of the street in a German town or village.
Based on Gebhardt’s estimate of about 860,000 raped German women about 270,000 were raped by the soldiers of Western armies: 190,000 American, 50,000 French and about 30,000 rapes were committed by British soldiers. Soviets committed at least 590,000 rapes, writes the historian, recalling that until now it was believed that the number of their victims was between 1 and 2 million raped persons.
Originally published on April 2015
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