Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Concentration Camp Bordellos

Article by Mareike Fallet and Simone Kaiser @ Spiegel Online:
Concentration camp brothels remain a hushed-up chapter of the Nazi-era horrors. Now a German researcher has probed the dark subject -- and has revealed the meticulous cruelty of the so-called "special buildings."

The prisoners' brothel at the Buchenwald concentration camp opened on July 11, 1943. It was the fourth of a total of 10 so-called "special buildings" erected in concentration camps between 1942 and 1945, according to the instructions of Heinrich Himmler, head of the SS. He implemented a rewards scheme in the camps, whereby prisoners' "particular achievements" earned them smaller workloads, extra food or monetary bonuses.

Altogether some 200 women shared the fate of the Mauthausen prisoners in the camp brothels. In particular healthy and good-looking women prisoners between the ages of 17 and 35 caught the eye of SS recruiters. More than 60 percent of them were of German nationality, but Polish women, those from the Soviet Union and one Dutch woman were transferred into the "special task forces." The Nazis didn't allow Jewish women for "racial hygiene" reasons.

History Today also has a feature on this dark passage of history:
Robert Sommer’s latest book The Concentration Camp Bordello: Sexual Forced Labor in National Socialistic Concentration Camps (Das KZ-Bordell) provides, however, for the first time a comprehensive study of this dark, hushed-up and largely ignored chapter of the history of Nazi Germany. Sommer is a cultural studies scholar based in Berlin. His study will be published in July by Schoningh Verlag, Paderborn. It is the result of a nine-year project based on the study of archives, concentration camp memorial sites and interviews with historical witnesses.


Kelli Piperata said...

nice :D

PrettySiren said...

Hi there, I discovered your blog today and am definitely following -- I love history.

I particularly found this post interesting; I'd never even heard of Nazi brothels and I consider myself a history buff -- proof the topic is practically never mentioned.

Echo of the Past