15 October, 2013 00:00

Statue marking the rape of German women by Russian soldiers torn down http://dailym.ai/165IMYd

It is true that through the years art has told of terrible atrocities and stories so controversial often left unapproachable by other means.  The one thing I like about the Daily mail on line,  and yes I know of it’s bad reputation, is that you can easily view the comments and get a generalized idea to what a number of peoples consensus is on any given issue, especially difficult issues such as this one. One of the more popular comments agrees that this subject should be given more attention and seems glad that this subject is being brought to the forefront of debate over the use or should I say none use of an artists statue. The commenter with the most ‘likes’ says “Stalin gave the Red Army 24 hours do Rape as they pleased, they used it as a weapon. Women’s backs were broken purely by the force of the almost constant rape they sustained. One of the most awful things of the war, but one that is also largely ignored. And they were our Allies!” Is it right therefore to use art as a way of depicting such heinous crimes or is it just bad taste? What if it was an ordinary photo, a picture telling a thousand words, isn’t this arts original sole purpose and meaning?

Controversial: The statue of a Soviet soldier raping a pregnant woman was removed in Poland's Gdansk


It is believed that as many as 2 million women were raped by Red army officers, many of them several times over.

Many had to have abortions or be treated for the syphilis they caught from being raped by different men.

Children born out of the abuses were called Russenbabies and most were abandoned and left to die.

Stalin explicitly condoned rape as a method of rewarding the soldiers and terrorising German civilians.

His Police chief Lavrenti Beria was himself a serial rapist, a number of testimonies exist detailing how women and girls were grabbed off the streets and bundled into his limousine.

It is believed that more than 100 school-aged girls and young women were drugged and raped by Beria who ran the NKVD, the feared forerunner to the KGB.

The Red Army’s atrocities against women in Dresden in the spring of 1945, a city that had already suffered heavily from Allied bombing, were carried out in a particularly sickening and systematic manner.

Women were dragged out of their homes and raped in the street in front of their husbands who were forced to watch. Then more often than not the men were shot.

As well as the estimated two million rapes in Germany, there were between 70,000 and 100,000 in Vienna and anywhere from 50,000 to 200,000 in Hungary, as well as thousands more in Romania, Bulgaria, Poland, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia.

There are even accounts of women who had been liberated from concentration camps, emaciated and still wearing prison uniforms, being raped by Russian soldiers.

Richard Evans, Professor of Modern History at Cambridge, wrote a book on the topic in which he recounts the extreme violence of many of the encounters. He wrote: ‘Rape was often accompanied by torture and mutilation and frequently ends in the victim being shot or bludgeoned to death. The raging violence was undiscriminating.’


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