Saturday, January 23, 2010

The 'Dishonorable' German Girls

From Der Speigel:
Hitler's Gestapo arrested thousands of women for admitting they had affairs with foreign forced laborers in Germany, despite many confessions being false and made under duress. Men were often executed and women sent to concentration camps for the crime of "racial defilement." Some continued to suffer the consequences long after the end of the war.

Gisela Schwarze, a historian from the western German city of Münster, has spent years investigating cases like hers, digging through the files of special courts in cities like Dortmund, Bielefeld and Kiel. She uncovered Maria K.'s story in a local archive. It unfolded in Asbeck, a village with a wartime population of 850 in the western Münsterland region.

As a result of her research, Schwarze discovered a group of victims of the Nazi regime that has been neglected to this day. It consists of the women and girls who government officials accused of having sexual relations with foreign forced laborers. Some of the romantic relationships did exist, while others were made up, but the punishment was almost always extreme. The women were sent to concentration camps by the thousands, while the men were usually executed.

Historian Gisela Schwarz is the author of the recent German-language book, "Es war wie Hexenjagd. Die vergessene Verfolgung ganz normaler Frauen im Zweiten Weltkrieg." (It Was Like a Witchhunt: The Forgotten Persecution of Normal Women During World War II.)

1 comment:

Keith said...

I wonder if they learn any of this stuff in German schools?!