Rape By German And Waffen SS Soldiers During WW2

German soldiers Russian women ww2

"Soldiers are rapists"

We have discussed extensively on the rape committed by Russian, American and French soldiers on German women during and after WW2. We largely believed that men of the Wehrmacht were not so amorous and brutal when dealing with women in lands they conquered. A silly illusion. These men were as immoral and boorish as the Russians and Japanese. In fact having sex was encouraged by their commanders as matter of policy. Amorous and lustful men made better fighters and killers, the thinking went.

French women were brought into Wehrmacht brothels and forced into prostitution. There is evidence that sexual violence was institutionalized in the German army.

Of the more than 17 million Wehrmacht soldiers until 1944 just 5349 were punished for "moral crimes". Overall, however, military sentences were passed against some 1.5 million members of the Wehrmacht  for desertion or self-mutilation. The small number of sanctioned sexual offenses provides little information about the actual extent. Rather, rape was either not displayed, or they only played a "minor role" in the eyes of the military judge.

There were rapes as this led the commander of the 14th Army in September 1939, to urge his commanders after the invasion of Poland to take action against the "mistreatment of defenseless" and to "rape". In September 1941, when the Wehrmacht was in the Soviet Union,  Field Marshal Günther von Kluge in a command ordered to maintain the "discipline" after the increase of rape.

A major factor in the low number of convictions is that enemy people were considered outlaws on the orders of Hitler which prevailed since May 13, 1941, which forbade persecution of German soldiers for "actions committed by members of the Armed Forces against enemy civilians". 

Polish women work German soldiers brothels
Polish women being lifted by the Germans to work in brothels for German soldiers

And what about German soldiers and the SS men? A German war veteran will tell you that Germans do not commit rape.

Nevertheless, there were so many cases of rape committed by SS men that the complaints from the top echelons of the Wehrmacht reached even the Führer’s headquarters. War records prove that rape was also committed by members of the Wehrmacht. In order to control the spread of venereal diseases, brothels were set up for the Wehrmacht (approx. 500 throughout the war) and for SS officers where hundreds of girls and prostitutes, mostly of Polish and Russian origin, were forced to work "Whore for Hitler's troops" was tattooed on these young women. (after March 1942, Jewish women were no longer allowed to work in brothels). Forced prostitution and rape were common in concentration camps, female prisoners being mainly the victims. Documents presented at the Nuremberg Trials in 1946 prove the fact that systematic acts of rape were committed by the German conquerors.

"Rape by SS men was common, There were complaints that Wehrmacht soldiers too raped."

In World War II, the German military brothels were set up by the Third Reich throughout most of occupied Europe, for the use by their soldiers in the Wehrmacht and for the SS officers. These establishments were sometimes set up via existing brothels which they took over in the West, but generally organized as new, especially in the East. Until 1942, there were 500 brothels of this kind in Western and Eastern Europe. Operating in hotels confiscated by the Nazis, these self-evident war-rape sites used to serve travelling soldiers and those withdrawn from the front. In combination with the German concentration camp brothels, it is estimated that at least 34,140 women were forced to serve as prostitutes during the Third Reich. In most cases, especially in Eastern Europe, the women were being caught on the streets of occupied cities in Łapankas (Nazi German military kidnapping raids against civilians) and forced to serve as prostitutes thereafter.

German soldiers occupied Russia WW2

Russian Foreign Minister V.M. Molotov read into the record an interim war report that told of mass rape occurring as the Germans pushed through the Soviet Union:

Women and young girls are vilely outraged in all the occupied areas. In the Ukranian village of Borodayevka, in the Dniepropetrovsk region, the fascists violated every one of the women and girls. In the village of Berezovka, in the region of Smolensk, drunken German soldiers assaulted and carried off all the women and girls between the ages of 16 and 30. In the city of Smolensk the German Command opened a brothel for officers in one of the hotels into which hundreds of women and girls were driven; they were mercilessly dragged down the street by their arms and hair. Everywhere the lust-maddened German gangsters break into houses, they rape the women and girls under the very eyes of their kinfolk and children, jeer at the women they have violated, and then brutally murder their victims ...


"German Wehrmacht soldiers, members of the SA and the SS and the police battalions were the ones who raged equally cruel and patriarchal in all the occupied countries of Europe"
Barbara Johr.

The Foreign Ministry of the Polish Government in Exile issued a document on May 3, 1941, describing the mass kidnapping raids conducted in Polish cities with the aim of capturing young women for sexual slavery in new brothels attended by German soldiers and officers. At the same time, Polish girls as young as 15, classified as suitable for slave labor and shipped to Germany, were sexually exploited by German soldiers usually at their place of destination.

 The Swiss Red Cross mission driver Franz Mawick wrote in 1942 from Warsaw about what he saw:
"Uniformed Germans ... gaze fixedly at women and girls between the ages of 15 and 25. One of the soldiers pulls out a pocket flashlight and shines it on one of the women, straight into her eyes. The two women turn their pale faces to us, expressing weariness and resignation. The first one is about 30 years old. "What is this old whore looking for around here?" – one of the three soldiers laughs. "Bread, sir" – asks the woman. ....."A kick in the ass you get, not bread" – answers the soldier. Owner of the flashlight directs the light again on the faces and bodies of girls. ... The youngest is maybe 15 years old ...... They open her coat and start groping her with their lustful paws. "This one is ideal for bed" – he says.". 

In the Soviet Union women were kidnapped by German forces for prostitution as well; one report by International Military Tribunal writes "in the city of Smolensk the German Command opened a brothel for officers in one of the hotels into which hundreds of women and girls were driven; they were mercilessly dragged down the street by their arms and hair.


This is from the secretly recorded tapes of the conversation between captured German soldiers in a Britain prison. It appears in the book Soldaten by Sonke Neitzel

In one section a passage attributed to Reimbold reads: 'In the first officers' prison camp where I was being kept here, there was a really stupid guy from Frankfurt , a young lieutenant, a young upstart. 'And he said: 'Oh, we caught this female spy who had been running around in the neighborhood.

'First we hit her in the t**s with a stick and then we beat her rear end with a bare bayonet. Then we f***** her, and then we threw her outside and shot at her. When she was lying there on her back, we threw grenades at her. 'Every time one of them landed near her body, she screamed.'

'And just think, there were eight German officers sitting at that table with me, and they all broke out laughing.'  

German soldiers French brothel ww2 Paris

German soldiers throng Brothels in Occupied France
Brothels in Occupied France

France surrendered on June 22, 1940. It provided many brothels for the German occupiers. In the second half of July, two orders were issued for the suppression of street prostitution and the establishment of brothels for the Wehrmacht. Nazis confiscated existing brothels, put in its own staff, adhering to the criteria of Aryan racial purity. Officers were not allowed to go to these places, they were put up in hotels. Thus Wehrmacht commanders wanted to stop the spread of homosexuality and sexually transmitted diseases in the army to increase the incentives for soldiers, prevent intimate relationships on the side, for fear of espionage.

The leaders of the Wehrmacht established a thoroughly bureaucratic system of around 100 new brothels already before 1942, based on a existing system of government controlled ones. The soldiers were given official visitation cards issued by Oberkommando des Heeres and were prohibited from engaging in sexual contact with other French women. In September 1941, General von Brauchitsch suggested that weekly visits for all younger soldiers be considered mandatory to prevent any "sexual excesses" among them. The sex workers had a scheduled medical check-up to prevent the spread of venereal diseases. The order to regulate the soldiers' sex life was issued on 29 July 1940. From that point on, free prostitution was forbidden and persecuted by the police. As before, the prostitutes were paid a nominal fee. The soldiers had to bring up the money themselves from their regular pay.
German soldiers with Russian women

Germans with French girls

There is systematic evidence of rape by German soldiers, including documents that were presented in 1946 at the Nuremberg trials. " (Quoted from: emergency . S., 24) The broad enabling brothel visit was seen as an important strategic measure war, to help "morale", ie the willingness to fight and kill should be maintained or increased. This concession by the Wehrmacht to the "needs" of the soldiers besides promoting loyalty to the fascist system also curbed the wehrkraftzersetzenden  by STDs through commitment to condom use in brothel visit. The brothel system also lessened chances of German soldiers moving towards homosexuality.

German soldier embrace French girl

Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Eichwede and Prof. Jan Phillip Reemtsma citing Russian historian and German sources, say that more than a million children were conceived in Russia, most because of rape. Based on biological realities  it can be said statistically that about one in ten sexual intercourse resulted in a  pregnancy. Consequently, it must be assumed that approximately 10 million rapes were committed by German soldiers alone on Russian soil.

In Norway, Denmark, Belgium, the Netherlands and France, some 200,000 children were born  because of the presence of German soldiers during occupation.

Due to the high incidence of rape, homosexuality and disease among soldiers, on September 9, 1939 the Minister of the Interior Wilhelm Frick decreed the establishment of brothels in the occupied territories.


Rape of German Women During WW2 (Eyewitness Account)

Rape of German Women When The Country Lost The War

Mass rape of German Women

Rape of Japanese Women By American Soldiers (WW2)


Further Reading

Brownmiller, Susan :  Against our will. rape and male dominance
The book in German (Gegen unseren Willen. Vergewaltigung und Männerherrschaft)

Fischer, Erica : Am Anfang war die Wut. Monika Hauser und Medica mondiale. Ein Frauenprojekt im Krieg, Köln 1997. 

Heer, Hannes (Hrsg.) : "Stets zu erschießen sind Frauen, die in der Roten Armee dienen" Geständnisse deutscher Kriegsgefangener über ihren Einsatz an der Ostfront, Hamburg 1995. 

Herman, Prof. Judith Lewis : Die Narben der Gewalt, München 1994. 

Keller, Nora Okja : Die Trostfrau, München 1997. 

Müller-Hohagen, Jürgen : Geschichte in uns. Psychogramme aus dem Alltag, München 1994. 

Notruf für Frauen (Hrsg.) : Frauen und Krieg. Vergewaltigt-Verleugnet-Verschwiegen. Dokumentation zur Fachtagung, Kiel 1996. 

Paul, Christa : Zwangsprostitution. Staatlich errichtete Bordelle im Nationalsozialismus, Berlin 1994. 

Sander, Helke; Johr, Barbara (Hrsg.) : BeFreier und Befreite. Krieg, Vergewaltigungen, Kinder, München 1992. 
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