At the end of World War II in 1945, the Red Army was charged with “liberating” Germany. Two and a half million Red Army soldiers entered the country in the Spring of 1945. The Soviets came through the beleaguered country, emptied the concentration camps, and “freed” the people of Germany from the Nazi regime. By May, they had taken Berlin, which was the last of the German cities to fall. By all accounts, there’s was an easy victory. The Nazis had crumbled; the people of Germany were left to fend for themselves. There were hardly any men of fighting age left in the city. It was a city of women and children. Many of these women and their female children were allegedly defiled by soldiers of the Red Army in what is sometimes referred to as “The Rape of Berlin.”
As the Red Army swept through Berlin, and stayed there, many of the soldiers took advantage of the women and girls in the city. Evidence of these rapes has turned up in the oral history of Berlin, the diaries of the afflicted women and the hospital records of the time. It is sometimes said that some of the soldiers of the Red Army would rape girls as young as 10 years old and women as old as 80. There have been reports that some these girls and women were subjected to repeated rapes, gang rapes that included twenty or more men and/or rapes that took place in front of their husbands and/or fathers.
Some estimates say that as many as 130,000 women and girls were raped in Berlin alone (this number does not account for repeated rapes). An estimated 10% or 13,000 of these women allegedly committed suicide as a result. Even more women reportedly had abortions. Some sources claim that as millions of abortions took place in Germany during the years that the Red Army spent raping the country’s women. However, this is no indication of precisely how many women were raped, as there are too many variables. Some of these pregnancies could have been the result of consensual sex or repeat rapes. Furthermore, some women may have carried the babies who were conceived in rape to term or did not get pregnant at all.
The people of Berlin reportedly shared there fate with many cities that suffered this sort of degradation. It has been speculated that the Red Army was retaliating for the similar treatment their women had suffered at the hands of the Nazis. It is true that the Nazis raped women during their invasion of Russia. However, that would not explain the alleged raping of non-German females by soldiers of the Red Army. Another possible motive that has been suggested is simple celebration. While rape is obviously a horrible way to celebrate, it is possible. Now, it is very important to note that there is no evidence that this alleged mass rape was sanctioned by commanders of the Red Army. On the other hand, there is no evidence that it was discouraged, either.
Since the rapes in Berlin have been made public, members of the Red Army have denied it and many Russians have denied it. Complete denial has been employed, as well as claims that no sexual relations occurred that were not with willing partners. In short, the women in Berlin were eager to have sexual relations with members of the invading army. That does not really make sense. It never having happened sounds more feasible than that and there certainly is evidence that something happened. However, on what scale, it is hard to tell.
Messerchmidt, James W., The Forgotten Victims of WWII: Masculinities and Rape in Berlin, 1945, retrieved 8/5/10, usm.maine.edu/crm/faculty/jim/raphael.htm
Johnson, Daniel, Red Army troops raped even Russian women as they freed them from camps, tinyurl.com/6nqwsq