The following account was very
interesting, because the victims were among the ranks of the villains. Not
just any villain, but one of the most famous bad guys of history.
What's the idea? Is Holdwater some kind
of secret skinhead... like the by now familiar gag of a black man in a
Ku Klux Klan robe? Any visit to a "white supremacist" site, and it's
plain to see a favorite target is Turks. Makes no difference to them if Turks
are fellow Caucasians... these neo-Nazis speak the same language of hateful
Armenians and Greeks who enjoy lambasting the Turks as "Mongols." (Poor Mongols.)
If ever there were such a thing as an
"evil empire," it was the Third Reich. It's unbelievable there are
neo-Nazis today who have the audacity to deny the Holocaust, because unlike
the Frank Pallone (congressional synonym for the rhyme-word,
"baloney") Armenian "Genocide," the evidence for the
Holocaust is ridiculously incontestable.
Let's not forget, in the shadow of the
Holocaust, the Nazis' crimes were numbingly prevalent in the countries they
occupied... and there is one country that really got iced. We often don't hear
about it, but there were over twenty million Soviet people who died once the
Nazis blitzkrieged their way in. Over twenty million! Beyond the scope
of comprehension... Poor, poor Russian and Soviet people.
So when it was the Russians' turn to get
revenge, they didn't pull any punches. That makes the reverse side of the
equation extremely interesting, because we don't hear about it, and we don't
want to hear about it... the Nazis were monsters, and they deserved a taste of
their medicine, and more.
However, having been born and bred in a
country that sometimes enjoys boiling issues down to black and white
(and what country on earth is an exception to that mode of human nature
behavior?), particularly in the case of Turks where the effects of Turcophobia
through the years have been so rampagingly successful, Americans have been
known to pick Turks as the number one race they love to hate (without
knowing why... they just know Turks are "bad"; this is one reason
why fanatical Armenians and Greeks dutifully negate anything that remotely approaches Turkish
positivism in the media, to perpetrate this "bad"), I reject the
comic book treatment of all Germans during the Nazi period as monsters.
This is why the stir caused by "Hitler's Willing Executioners"
seemed unfair to me. Maybe I'll think differently if I read the book, but the
idea that there is something akin to a human gene that breeds evil is very
And this is why it's very dangerous to
generalize. I have been guilty of generalizing on this site, too. I say the
Armenians are as single-willed a monolithic people as have ever existed... and
the pattern of their lies and deception over the years is so mind-boggling, I
have good reason to arrive at such a conclusion. However, I know the Armenians
can be wonderful human beings; it's mainly the obsessed, fanatical ones we
hear from, and the silent majority (well, in the Armenians' case, it
unfortunately seems to be the silent minority) never make their views known. How many
Armenians do we know who publicly proclaim there was no Armenian
"Genocide"? (I only know of one, and his views may be accessed under
"COMMENT.") Even among those who believe the Armenian
"Genocide" is too much of a "fact," one must still admit
the book is far from closed on the topic, in the neutral world. How could
there be no Armenians who deviate from the monolith? We are all individuals
with independent minds, I'd like to think.
I know the Greeks can be wonderful human
beings as well, several of whom were not just regular friends of mine while
growing up in New York City, but best friends. I am predisposed to be
friendly toward these two Orthodox "pals" of the Turks anyway,
because not only does it make more sense to me to stress what we have in
common rather than our differences, but that is the way I was raised... and I
was no exception; the Turkish way is to be free of hatred. I think the Russian
people are great, too... one of my serious girlfriends was Russian, and
getting an intimate look at New York City's Russian community (Jewish, yes;
but 100% Russian) solidified my already pre-existing positive
"Russo" feelings. (Hmm. Guess I must be more of a proponent of
Locke, rather than Hobbes, without being aware of it. For God's sake, I'm
telling you, people are good!)
However, the idea of this site is to
provide the Other Side of the Falsified Genocide. And in order to help make
that case, it is just one kick in the head to see how the Orthodox folks go
violently nuts when they get the upper hand. It's been historically true with
the Greeks, true with the Serbs, and especially true with the
Armenians... when we look at the massacres and crimes they committed in the 19th Century, the World War I era, the World War II era, and the 1990s era. However, the
ones who helped showed them the model to follow were the Russians. As an
imperial power, they just went bananas during periods of their ethnic cleansing history...
and we rarely hear about the victims,
even when the Russians behave abominably
By 1900, approximately 1,400,000 Turkish and Caucasian Muslims had
been forced out by Russians. One third of those had died, either
murdered or victims of starvation and disease. Between 125,000 and
150,000 Armenians emigrated from Ottoman Anatolia to Erivan and other
parts of the Russian southern Caucasus.
This was the toll of
Russian imperialism. Not only had one-and-a-half million people been
exiled or killed, but ethnic peace had been destroyed.
Rape was used as a genocidal weapon by
the Serbs during at least the Bosnian chapter of the Yugoslavian crack-up, and
certainly Armenians used this "tool" during their hateful
extermination process during the World War I era... since "getting
sullied" is particularly devastating to a Moslem woman. (It's a cultural
matter; Bosnians were not particularly religious.) Particularly since the
Bosnian conflict, rape has been officially put on the table as an ethnic
cleansing method. (In the case of many Moslem women, being "unclean"
can put a halt to future sexual activities; among women in general, the
violent assault can result in a psychological rejection of sex. Result: dead
halt to procreation possibilities.)
The motivation for the Russians (not
just the Russians, of course; there were non-Orthodox people in the Soviet
Army, including Moslems. However, the Russians were in charge) in the
following episode was not ethnic cleansing, but revenge. However, the
systematic pattern involved makes it more profound than simply isolated cases
of vindictiveness, here and there.
Is revenge justifiable, even when the
crimes committed by the original perpetrators were supremely horrendous? It's
easy to speak high and mightily, and bring up civilization as the principle
that separates us from the animals (although since animals kill only for food,
in a sense, they can ironically be more civilized), but we all can be
susceptible to revenge. However, systematic revenge is a whole different ball
of wax... especially in the hands of professional soldiers. Consider: post
W.W.I Turkish nationalist troops had every reason to be revengeful for the
terrible crimes of the Armenians, but true eyewitness reports indicate
Turkish soldiers did not go on a revenge spree. While the general concept of soldierly
lawlessness certainly must not have exempted them completely, one cannot argue
about the absence of a systematic pattern of unlawful behavior... when
the clean fighting Turks could have easily justified their time to get even.
While we can simple-mindedly look the
other way because the victims in the account were "Nazis," on closer
inspection we are reminded the victims were no less human beings than you or
rape victims find a voice at last
After 50 years a UK author has enabled countless
to admit their ordeal at the hands of Soviet troops.
Kate Connolly reports from Berlin
The Europe pages - Observer special
Sunday June 23, 2002
A best-selling book has prompted victims of one of the
twentieth century's most tragic dramas to break their
German women have come forward after 50 years to speak
of their appalling treatment at the hands of Soviet
soldiers, who raped their way across Germany for four
years from 1945. Their ordeal has been revealed thanks
to Antony Beevor, whose book Berlin: The Downfall 1945
came out in the UK to great acclaim last month.
In his book, Beevor, a Sandhurst recruit turned
writer, uses previously unpublished material from
Russian archives in Moscow to describe vividly the
horrific suffering of an estimated two million German
women and girls who were gang-raped by drunken Soviet
soldiers as they made their way across the country
with the aim of forcing the Nazis to retreat.
Among the victims were women who became prominent
figures, including Hannelore Kohl, wife of the former
Chancellor, Helmut. Mrs Kohl, who committed suicide
last year, was raped along with her mother at the age
of 12 as they failed to escape on a train bound for
Beevor's book has unleashed an emotional response from
scores of victims, mainly living in Britain, and their
relatives, who have contacted him to express their
gratitude that the story of an entire generation is
finally being told.
'I was carrying out orders to bury some dead Hitler
Youth boys when they found me,' Martha Dowsey says
gently and slowly with a heavy German accent. 'Six Red
Army soldiers with blackened faces held me down on the
ground close to the graves and raped me one by one.'
She repeats over and over: 'I'm not lying, I'm not,
you must believe me.'
The housebound 81-year-old is understandably nervous
about telling her story, not least because it has
taken decades for her to find anyone either in her
adopted home of Britain or Germany who would believe
her experiences of life in post-war Berlin as Stalin's
troops marched in. For years the Red Army soldiers
were seen as the heroes who freed Germany from the
shackles of the Nazis.
But for Martha, and hundreds of thousands of others,
they were anything but. 'They were destructive and
evil and almost ruined my life. I never told my
children — they would not have understood - and my
husband knew something terrible had happened to me,
but was kind enough never to ask,' she says from her
home in Clapham Common, south London.
Only now has Martha Dowsey née Schröder gathered the
courage to speak, thanks to Beevor's book. The victims
— considered by the Russians, Beevor says, to be
'casual rights of conquest' in return for crimes
committed by the Wehrmacht in Russia — were as young
as 12 and as old as 80 or more. Thanking him for his
book, one woman living in Little Hampton, West Sussex,
said: 'I have so many memories. I'd thought of writing
an autobiography, but people would not believe the
things I have survived... I think I was a little
Beevor said he had been stunned by the response. 'A
lot of these women have obviously barely talked about
this maelstrom of horror they experienced, and
suddenly they've been plunged into discussing things
they haven't even been able to tell their closest
family members,' he said.
One German woman, Jutte from Preston, wrote to him:
'Often I was tempted to talk about it, but I realised
that no one would believe me or would interpret my
story as excessive self-pity. What you have written is
a way of showing how suffering can be endured.'
A woman whom Beevor visited in Berlin told him she had
garrotted a soldier with his gun as he had tried to
rape her mother. 'Only later,' said Beevor, 'did I
realise that she was the one who had been raped and
had invented the story because she was so traumatised
and was desperate for it to be true.'
In their letters the women confirmed the accounts in
Beevor's book of how, rather than befall the same fate
as their neighbours, many tried to kill themselves and
their children by cutting their wrists. Others hanged
themselves. Reports say classrooms of schoolgirls
committed suicide en masse.
Beevor details the horrific consequences of events
that resonated for years, affecting women's attitude
towards sex and causing huge social problems between
men and women.
By the late 1940s — the rapes went on for three years
or more — the Soviet troops had left behind them a
broken people. According to some reports, 90 per cent
of Berlin women were infected with venereal diseases,
while Beevor cites one doctor who said that, of the
100,000 women estimated to have been raped in Berlin,
a tenth of them died, mostly from suicide. The
mortality figures for the approximately 1.4 million
raped in East Prussia, Pomerania and Silesia, he says,
are believed to have been much higher.
Of those who became pregnant, an estimated 90 per cent
had abortions. Those who did give birth often gave
their children up for adoption because of the shame.
In 1946, 3.7 per cent of children born in Berlin had
Russian fathers. Even now, says Helke Sander, a German
left-wing activist and author of The Liberator and the
Relieved, an extensive 1992 study of women who were
raped, the consequences are still felt.
'There are women who have never been able to talk
about it and whose husbands forbade it. There are
their children, who are finding out for the first time
that they are the product of rape, and there are those
who attempt to look in vain for their fathers.'
Beevor has shed considerable light on a chapter in
German history, the extent of which has remained
largely unknown outside Germany and which in the
country continues to be a taboo subject.
In Russia, Berlin: The Downfall has been thoroughly
denounced. Its ambassador to Britain called it 'an act
of blasphemy'. When it is published in Germany in the
autumn, Beevor has been warned it is likely to cause a
storm. The daily Die Welt has already described it as
'an epic shock' that reveals 'a previously unknown
chronicle of the rape atrocities which took place as
the Red Army made its way from East Prussia to
Having already been denounced in Russia, Beevor is
prepared for the diplomatic row the book is capable of
unleashing between Berlin and Moscow. 'This is a
subject of huge delicacy, and there's tremendous
reluctance on the part of the German government to
bring this up and thus upset the new relationship with
Putin and the Kremlin,' he says.
But it will also hit the market as Germany finds
itself in the thick of a 'normalisation' debate in
which it attempts to take a broader approach to its
history. Die Welt says that after 'half a century of
inner chill', during which Germany has attempted to
reflect on and atone for its Nazi past but has paid
scant regard to the way ordinary citizens suffered,
Beevor's book is proof that to move forward Germans
need to reassess themselves not just as persecutors,
but also as victims.