Crimes UnspokenThe Rape of German Women at the End of the Second World War
Crimes Unspoken
The Rape of German Women at the End of the Second World War
Translated by Nick Somers

The soldiers who occupied Germany after the Second World War were not only liberators: they also brought with them a new threat, as women throughout the country became victims of sexual violence. In this disturbing and carefully researched book, the historian Miriam Gebhardt reveals for the first time the scale of this human tragedy, which continued long after the hostilities had ended.

Discussion in recent years of the rape of German women committed at the end of the war has focused almost exclusively on the crimes committed by Soviet soldiers, but Gebhardt shows that this picture is misleading. Crimes were committed as much by the Western Allies – American, French and British – as by the members of the Red Army, and they occurred not only in Berlin but throughout Germany. Nor was the suffering limited to the immediate aftermath of the war. Gebhardt powerfully recounts how raped women continued to be the victims of doctors, who arbitrarily granted or refused abortions, welfare workers, who put pregnant women in homes, and wider society, which even today prefers to ignore these crimes.

Crimes Unspoken is the first historical account to expose the true extent of sexual violence in Germany at the end of the war, offering valuable new insight into a key period of 20th-century history.

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More Info
  • November 2016
  • 240 pages
  • 152 x 229 mm / 6 x 9 in
Available Formats
  • Hardback $25.00
  • 9781509511204
Table of Contents



Chapter 1 Seventy years too late

Wrong victims?

How many were affected

Sexual aggression against men

A word about method

Chapter 2 Berlin and the East – chronicle of a calamity foretold

The great fear

The Red Army comes


One year on

Extracts from police reports

A different perspective

Chapter 3 South Germany – who will protect us from the Americans?

No one’s time

Moderate indignation

A ‘feeling of great insecurity among our soldiers’


A ‘sexual conquest of Europe’?

Unbroken assertion of power by the occupiers

Parallels and differences

Chapter 4 Pregnant, sick, ostracized – approaches to the victims

Victims twice over


The abortion problem

No one’s children

‘The other victims are also taken care of’

First the French, then the public authorities

‘I love this child as much as the others’

Chapter 5 The long shadow

The effects of the experience of violence

The myth of female invulnerability

‘Anonymous’ and the censorship of memory

Duties of loyalty

First feminist protests

Helke Sander’s ‘BeFreier’ and the German victim debate

The past today


Sources and selected literature


About the Author
Miriam Gebhardt is an historian and journalist who teaches at the University of Konstanz
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