German woman breaks silence about Red Army rapes





An 80-year-old German woman has broken an old taboo of silence over the rapes she endured at the hands of Soviet soldiers in the second world war with a searing book about the crimes of the Red Army as it marched towards Berlin.

"Why Did I Have To Be A Girl" by Gabriele Koepp is the first book published about the rapes under a victim's real name. Mrs Koepp was one of an estimated two million German girls and women raped by Soviet soldiers, encouraged by their leader Josef Stalin to regard the crime as a spoil of war after Hitler's invasion had left 26 million Russians dead.

"Frau. Komm," was a phrase that women dreaded hearing from Red Army soldiers. In the weeks after the city fell the rape epidemic was so bad that even the Catholic church countenanced abortion for some victims.

Even today, Mrs Koepp has trouble sleeping. "I was hardly more than a child. Writing this has not been easy, but I had no choice: who else would do it?"

comments powered by Disqus
History News Network