After the Berlin Wall

There’s a lot (tens, hundreds…) of various myths about Soviet Union in WW2. Enumeration and, especially, the disproof would take a long long time. Just a few examples to mention — myth that Hitler was defeated mainly not by the Soviet army, but by blizzards and frosts in USSR (i.e bad severe weather); myth that the Russians won only by numerical superiority («they piled up the enemy with corpses»); myth that signing the «non-aggression agreement between the USSR and Germany» on 23 August 1939 was the reason for Hitler to attack Poland and thereby start the WW2 (this is very popular myth, which doesn’t stand up to any criticism); myth that Hitler and Stalin have equal responsibility for starting the WW2 (and, more broadly, that Nazism and Communism are equal); myth about millions of German women who been raped by Soviet soldiers in 1945; myth (not directly related to Soviet Union, but still) that the invasion of the German army in Poland on 1 September 1939 was the beginning of the WW2 (it seems the adherents of this widespread fallacy don’t like (or don’t want?) to remember that there were a plenty enough events long before the date of September 1, 1939 — for example, a partition of Czechoslovakia in 1938 (the notorious «Munich agreement»), Anschluss — annexation of Austria by Hitlerite Germany in March 1938, the invasion of Italy into Ethiopia in 1935 or battles of the Chinese with the Japanese in the same period… — with the same success any of these events can be considered the beginning of the WW2); myth about the so-called «occupation» of the Baltic countries by the Soviet Union after the expelling of the Nazis from there (very popular in these countries myth, expecially in last couple decades)… and many many other myths. Some myth are new, they appeared in late 1980-es or 1990-es (btw, many of these new myths were created not in the West, as we might expect, but in then Russia by a new generation of «historians» who came «on the scene» after the collapse of the USSR), and some myths are very old — like this one about «millions of German women who been raped by Soviet soldiers in 1945».

Let’s view this myth. It was created still in times of the Third Reich, by Goebbels propaganda, so this is not a new one. Very well understandable why and for what purposes this myth was born. First of all let’s note, that it’s not true that there were absolutely no cases of rape of German women by Soviet soldiers. Yes, these cases were indeed. But the scale of these crimes has nothing common with numerals in popular myth — allegedly hundreds of thousands, millions of German women. Some authors are fond of fantasies so much that they cross all boundaries and reach absurdity. For example, some Daniel Johnson who claimed about ~15(!) million(!) of German women who allegedly been raped by Soviet soldiers.

pic_-_myth_15mln

On this regard ALAFF translated a chapter from a book of a famous Russian writer — Armen Gasparyan. He is a serious, well-educated and intelligent specialist who always use concete facts for his researches. Gasparyan is a historian, a member of the Central Council of the Russian Military Historical Society. He is also a very popular radio/TV presenter and a participant of many TV programs of political and social orientation. Gasparyan is the author of more than a dozen books about history. For example, a few of his books: «1941-1945: a slandered war» (2017), «The collapse of the great empire: the mysterious history of the largest geopolitical catastrophe» (2016), «To kill Stalin: the real stories of assassination attempts and conspiracies against the Soviet leader» (2016), «General Skoblin. The Legend of Soviet Intelligence» (2012). Gasparyan specialized on the history of XX century and he is known as a man who expose many historical myths with iron logic based on factual material (official documents from archives, memoirs of historical persons, serious scientific researches etc.). His website with some stuff (short bio, videos etc.).

In 2016 Armen Gasparyan released a book «Russia and Germany — friends or enemies?» (ISBN: 978-5-699-95193-2). The book examines the relationship between Russia and Germany, mainly during the XX century. The main place is given to the period of The Great October Revolution, as well as the events of the WW2.

One of the chapters named «After the Berlin Wall» — it speaks about relations between Russia and Germany after the fall of the legendary Berlin Wall, and in this chapter Gasparyan speaks exactly about popular myth «millions of German women who been raped by Russian soldiers in 1945». ALAFF translated this chaper completely, and supported it with some links. Here you go:


 

After the Berlin Wall.

 

There was no recall, the struggle continues

— General von Lampe

 

The unification of Germany, the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the troubled for us days of the 1990s, seemed to have put an end to this story forever. Another era has come. Veterans of the Workers’ and Peasants’ Red Army and Wehrmacht began to meet and discuss the most terrible war in world history. The German press at the first stage favorably wrote about how a democratic society is being built in Russia.

ALAFF remark: Just a few examples of rhetoric in the then German press (Google translator used for translation):

pic_-_german_press_1

Handelsblatt. November, 2001 // Original.

pic_-_german_press_2

Neue Zurcher Zeitung. November 2001 // Original.

pic_-_german_press_3

Die Welt. November 2001 // Original.

Putin was applauded in the Bundestag. It would seem that the confrontation will forever remain in the past. But there were those who categorically did not like it. The worst technologies of the Cold War times are again in use.

The formal reason was the return of the Crimea to Russia. It seemed to me that the German society, which has not yet forgotten what it means to be a «divided nation«, will understand and accept the desire of the Crimeans. Well, actually, it happened. But the politicians decided differently. And at once the classical myth was reanimated — the Bolsheviks raped the whole of Prussia in 1945. The Asian hordes outraged at every German woman five and even more times. Here is a typical example of rhetoric: «Future generations must know the true horrors of the war and deserve to see an unvarnished picture. What was the real scale of the rape? Most often referred to as the figures of 100,000 women in Berlin and two million throughout Germany. These figures were extrapolated from the meager medical records that have survived to the present day«.

Have you assessed? Shuddered? Put yourself in the position of an ordinary German. Since childhood they bring up in you a guilt complex for the crimes of the Nazis. But then they begin to tell you that the victors of Hitler were no better than him. And even worse in some things. Would you believe it? Of course. This news will caress your ears. Not only our parents were the offspring of hell! The Russians committed no less crimes. It is regrettable, of course, that there are not enough documents on this matter survived, but the truth can’t be concealed.

Of course, the mantra «Europe did not know such horror since the invasion of the Huns» was instantly and with undisguised joy caught up by Russian liberals. These ones are generally ready to repeat any abomination, if only to show their rejection of the nation. They absolutely don’t care that a severe punishment was provided in the Soviet Army for rape as a serious war crime. I remind that on January 19, 1945, Stalin’s order was issued. It declared: «The remaining population in the conquered regions, regardless of whether the German, Czech, Poles, should not be subjected to violence. The culprits will be punished according to the laws of wartime. Sexual relations with the female sex are not allowed on the conquered territory. The culprits will be shot for the violence and rape«.

I am an incredibly bad person and I do not like being told about the lack of documents. You know, it is not very difficult to check. Often you even don’t need to go to the archive, write a query, get the treasured folders. It is more than enough of already published documents. Thus, the punishment for marauding and rape was shooting. If members of the military tribunal were in a good mood that day, they could replace it with a penalty battalion or 15 years in camps. There is a report by the military prosecutor of the First Byelorussian Front on crimes committed in Germany in late April — early May 1945. That is, just at the time when every German woman was raped five or more times.

Let’s open this yellowed by the time document. It says that there are 124 crimes registered. We are interested, of course, in rape cases. They were indeed. 72 facts on the seven armies of the front. Each fact means one case with one woman. This raises an unpleasant question: where are millions of raped German women? You should ask it a historian Anthony Beevor, with whose light hand the myth got its modern popularity. But it is doubtful that the author will deign to answer you.

I’ll do it. As always in the case of the Cold War standards, there’s a confuse the innocent with the guilty. There are two important documents on this point. Their authenticity is beyond doubt. The first one is dated of May 2, 1945. The military prosecutor of the First Byelorussian Front Yachenin reports to Moscow: «Violence, and especially robbery and barbarity, are widely practiced by repatriated persons, who follow to the repatriation points, especially the Italians, the Dutch and even the Germans. At the same time, all these disgraces are blamed on our military«.

ALAFF remark: The whole title of this document dated of May 2, 1945 sounds as «Report of the military prosecutor of the First Byelorussian Front to the Military Council of the Front on the implementation of the directives of the Supreme Command and the Military Council of the Front on changing attitudes toward the German population», and its full text can be found, for example, here (in Russian). It’s worth to mention some more information from this document. For example, the military prosecutor reports to the Headquarters:

«There are cases when the Germans are engaged in provocation, declaring a rape, though this did not happen.
I myself have fixed two such cases.
No less interesting is that our people sometimes even without a checking report about the rapes and murders that took place, while in the verification it turns out to be a fiction.

This kind of fact deserves interest: when I was in the 3rd Shock Army on April 27, it was reported that the commander of the 85th Tank Regiment Chistiakov being drunk brought a German women to his place, raped them, and when the cry of some German woman caused our soldiers to step into the house where Chistyakov was, he gave the order to use a self-propelled weapon and started shooting, killing 4 people and injuring 6 of our soldiers.
I ordered the deputy military prosecutor of the army and the military investigator to immediately go to the scene.
On April 29, the army prosecutor sent me a cipher message informing that this fact was not confirmed«.

Usually, when I mention this document to the supporters of the myth about the «raped Prussia,» they immediately roll their eyes and begin to perform the vampuku: Soviet reports are absolutely impossible to believe, it was important for the prosecutor to blame the decaying West for everything, otherwise a man from the special committee will come to him and send him to the GULAG. I calmly listen and ask a very simple question: do they know the content of Beria’s report to Stalin, made at the same time? Usually there is silence in responce. Meanwhile, the report has important details to understand the entire story: «In Berlin there is a large number of prisoners of war liberated from the camps — Italians, French, Poles, Americans and Englishmen, who take personal things and property from the local population, load this stuff on carts and go to the West. We take measures to confiscate a robbed property from them«.

And do not tell me now that in this way Lavrentiy Pavlovich tried to hide the truth from Joseph Vissarionovich. Comrade Stalin was a very unkind man in this respect and extremely did not like being deceived. The fate of those who tried to mislead the Soviet leader was sad. But it’s not the point. Both Stalin and Beria knew perfectly well: the myth about «raped Prussia» is fully a product of the activities of the Reich Ministry of Public Education and Propaganda. In other words — product of Goebbels’ department. And it’s not just some official who showed zeal, but it was he himself. Personally.

It’s elementary to prove. In March of victorious for us year of 1945, Goebbels writes in his diary: «In the person of a Soviet soldiers, we are dealing with steppe bastards. This is confirmed by information received from the eastern regions about atrocities. They really cause horror. In some villages and towns, all women from ten to seventy years old were subjected to countless rapes. It seems that this is done on orders from above, since the behavior of a Soviet soldier can be seen as an explicit system«.

Goebbels’ diary is a very important historical source. It allows to understand and trace the formation of Nazi propaganda from the first steps to the collapse of the Third Reich. It is not accidentally i pay your attention to the propaganda factor. Goebbels regarded his diary as an important part of this process. He brought in there not only his thoughts on the current state of affairs, but also proposals for discussion with the Fuhrer. The case of «raped Prussia» is a vivid example of this.

The Minister of Propaganda expounded his views to Hitler. And the Fuhrer immediately addresses the population: «You, the soldiers on the Eastern Front, for the most part already know what destiny is prepared for German women, girls and children. While oldmen and children will be killed, women and girls will be reduced to the status of barracks prostitutes. The rest will go to Siberia«.

What we have here is the classic appeal to bitter resistance to the end. It is based on the simplest narrative: «For the sake of our mothers!». And any adequate person understands this perfectly. Never mind, in those years, or now. But this does not mean at all the no less strange assertion that the Soviet Army did not commit a single crime in Germany at all. According to the documents of the military prosecutor’s office, more than 4 thousand soldiers and officers were court-martialed for outrage against the peaceful population. Several demonstrative trials were carried out, which naturally ended with the issuance of death warrants.

Today, when many in the West seek to reconsider the results of World War II, Goebbels’ myth got a second life. There’s a need to show our great-grandfathers and grandfathers as inveterate Asian horde, a bunch of murderers and rapists, and thus equalize the USSR and the Third Reich. All attempts to demonstrate genuine documents to the propagandists of «raped Prussia» have so far failed. This is a matter of faith for them, and they do not want to listen to anyone.

Here we could put an end to this matter, but 2016 brought a fresh stream into the ideological confrontation. The German newspaper Die Welt informed its readers: «The parade in Moscow in June 1945 was organized as an ultimate affront to the Wehrmacht. 200 German standards were thrown into the mud. However, some of them did not deserve such humiliation«. I don’t know what about others, but I’ve been waiting for this for a long time.

That very parade for all of us is one of the symbols of victory over Nazism. The throwing of the standards of the defeated army is its culmination. This was the moment of the highest triumph of the will of the nation, which won seemed to be an indestructible army. And of course, being in the constant process of reviewing history they could not handle without it. Btw, the Soviet agitprop is guilty for this too.

For many years the full list of the Wehrmacht, SS and NSDAP flags thrown to the Mausoleum was unavailable. The winners felt so disgustingly that after the enemy’s flags they threw gloves in which they carried these flags. Believe me, even today you have to make efforts to find out whose flags these were. It is relatively easy to define only the first row. While working on this book, I specially spent the time to make at least an intermediate result in this story.

pic_-_third_reich_flags_mausoleum


The flags of the defeated Reich were thrown to the Mausoleum. June 24, 1945.

So, in a well-known photograph there are:

  1. The shaft of the flag of the «Leibstandarte SS Adolph Hitler» division, sample of 1935.
  2. Infantry flag, sample of 1935.
  3. Tank (possibly — artillery) standard, sample of 1935.
  4. Flag of the infantry unit, sample of 1935.
  5. Jaeger (possibly — mountain Jaegers) flag, sample of 1935.
  6. Cavalry standard, sample of 1860.
  7. Infantry flag, sample of 1935.
  8. Cavalry standard, sample of 1935.
  9. Sapper flag, sample of 1935.
  10. Flag of the Luftwaffe units, sample of 1935
  11. Infantry flag, sample of 1935.
  12. Jaeger flag, sample of 1935.
  13. The Landwehr flag, sample of 1860.
  14. Infantry flag, sample of 1935.
  15. Standard of artillery units, sample of 1935.
  16. Flag of the SS units.
  17. Infantry flag, sample of 1935.
  18. Standard of Light Cavalry, sample of 1890.
  19. Tank (possibly — artillery) standard, sample of 1935.
  20. Flag of the Luftwaffe units, sample of 1935

In total, 178 flags were thrown. Of these, 26 regimental flags, the rest — the flags of battalions and artillery divisions. This symbolic act was carried out by the consolidated battalion, which closed the passage of troops on the parade. Ten lines of twenty people each. German flags were carried so low that they dragged along the paving stones.

Some liberal reader will tell me: you see — there are flags of the times of the German Empire on the list. They collected everything was possible, and threw out indiscriminately. It seems that even the Russian tricolor was there. Well, I’ve heard all this many times. There were no any Russian flags on that day. As for the standards of the XIX century, they passed to the Wehrmacht units by inheritance. And now we come to the main thing: was this act the desecration of flags, as the German newspaper claims?

Let us recall that according to the results of the war, every fifth of the 70 million Soviet citizens who were under occupation did not live to see the Victory. This is according to the most conservative estimates. The Extraordinary State Commission for the Establishment and Investigation of the crimes of the German fascist invaders and their accomplices has recorded 54,784 acts of atrocities against civilians in the occupied Soviet territories. Including: the use of civilians in the course of military operations, the forcible mobilization of civilians, the shooting of civilians and the destruction of their homes, rape, hunting for people for German industry.

The Wehrmacht and the SS are fully responsible for all this. The verdict of the Nuremberg tribunal has not been canceled. That’s why the wording «desecration of flags» itself is sacrilegious in relation to the price that our country paid for the victory over Nazism: 27 million priceless human lives.  Too bad that some German journalists are not able to understand this. But you can’t buy in the pharmacy what God did not give you (ALAFF remark: it’s a Russian proverb, in this case means lack of understanding which you can’t buy because it’s not a product).

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