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Soviet High Command banned troops from Rape in Germany

-- as admitted by top MI6 official, and West German military's officially-appointed history researcher.


The History of the USSR & the Peoples’ Democracies

Chapter 10, Section 10 (C10S10)


Saed Teymuri


Regarding the orders of the Soviet command on the issue of rape, it is important to introduce Joachim Hoffmann, who as:

a professional researcher since 1960 in the West German Military History Research Office…. (Review of: DIE GESCHICHTE DER WLASSOW-ARMEE written by Joachim Hoffmann, Published in: Slavic Studies, Vol. 46, Issue 2, summer of 1987, p. 310) (IMG)

was viciously hostile to the Soviet Union and the Red Army. Yet, even he could not hide the fact that the Soviet command gave orders to the Red Army, prohibiting rape, theft, and plundering in Germany:

Many prisoners of war informed the Germans that they had received knowledge of the new rules of conduct in February 1945. For example, Major of the Guards of the Superintendent Service Kostikov of the 277th Guards Infantry Regiment of the 91st Guards Infantry Division (39th Army, 3rd White Russian Front), on 17 February 1945, reported that "strict orders have been issued that the German civilian population is to be left alone, nothing is to be stolen, and German women are not to be molested." 7 According to the testimony of one Red Army soldier, Shevchuk, the "shooting of civilians and German prisoners of war," which had been customary in the Red Army until that time, was now "strictly prohibited" in the 44th Motorized Infantry Brigade as of 6-7 February 1945. Similar, quite comparable, prohibitions were also issued with regards to other units.9 When Soviet soldiers wantonly set fire to the city of Gleiwitz, the burning of localities was "strictly forbidden" in that section of the front as well.10 The commander of the 1042nd Infantry Regiment of the 295th Infantry Division, Lieutenant Colonel Chaiko, informed his units that violations of the existing prohibition against plundering would be "severely punished.” Generally, the Soviet command authorities were not stingy about threats of punishment; the military tribunals appear to have intervened occasionally. (‘Stalin’s War of Extermination, 1941-1945: Planning, Realization, and Documentation’, Joachim Hoffmann, 2001, pp. 310-311. Citing Nazi German archival materials: ‘Tovarisci bojcy, serzanty i oficery!’, February 17, 1945; BA-MA, RH 2/2685, March 17, 1945, BA-MA, RH 2/2684, February 2, 1945; BA-MA, RH 2/2688, folder 74, 25.2. folder 5, March 1, 1945.) (IMG)

A US intelligence report confirmed that prior to June 9, 1945,:

Marshal Zhukov … had established a strict regime for the Soviet zone of occupation and had forbidden the Red Army to fraternize with the people. (Chronology of Principal Events Relating to the USSR Part II, OSS, September 25, 1945, p. 313) (IMG)

For those not familiar with the term ‘fraternize’, the Merriam Webster dictionary defines it as:

to associate on close terms with members of a hostile group especially when contrary to military orders’ (Merriam-Webster).

Significant social association with the civilians in territories ‘occupied’ by the Red Army was forbidden.

A British military intelligence report written by Frank Roberts, the anti-Soviet advisor to Churchill and the British minister to the Soviet Union, confirmed that while the Red Army men did commit many crimes during the Great Patriotic War, the Red Army commanders “did more to check” (i.e. prevent) such excesses, and “they appear[ed]” to have had “some success”:

Ever since Soviet troops entered foreign countries and more particularly since fighting ceased and they became occupation forces, the Red army seems, however, somewhat out of hand. Red Army men abroad began to loot and rape and to commit acts of indiscipline not previously observed, and even Red army commanders seem to have been ready to connive at many of the excesses committed, particularly in the early stages. Later on, when they did more to check them, they appear on the whole to have met with some success. But reports reaching this embassy and the tone of the Soviet press suggest that the behaviour and discipline of Soviet troops abroad still leave much to be desired, though in some places they are said to be a good deal worse than in others. (N 14634/558/38, Mr. Roberts to Mr. Bevin, Moscow, No. 767. Confidential, author: Frank Kenyon Roberts, October 19, 1945. Received: October 27, 1945. In: British Foreign Office (1945), p. 327) (IMG)

Somewhat relatedly,:

A general order issued in December 1941 revealed that the supreme command … prohibited the killing of prisoners by combat troops. (Russian Methods of Interrogating Captured Personnel World War II, CIA, the Office of the Chief of the Military History, US Department of the Army, Kermit Stewart (Major, Infantry, US Army), Orland Ward (Major General, USA Chief), September 1951, p. 161) (IMG{Katyn})

It is also worth examining US intelligence reports that came after 7-8 years after the overthrow of the Third Reich. ‘In order to improve discipline’, one CIA document stated, the Soviet command:

issued orders … prohibiting Soviet military personnel from doing the following:

a.     Drinking alcoholic beverages (beer, wine, vodka)

b.    Fraternizing with Germans, visiting German movies, cafes, bars, and homes

c.     Riding in the same trains with Germans or using German trolleys

the [soldiers] greatly resented these restrictions; however, they could do nothing about them.

(Soviet Army Morale, CIA, May 21, 1953, p. 2) (IMG)

According to the CIA, already 7 years after the overthrow of the Third Reich, some 15% of the Soviet Armed Forces in both Germany and the Soviet Union spent time in jail on charges of sexual assault. In East Germany, the percentage of Soviet troops jailed for rape was even disproportionately higher. The CIA document reported:

At least 10-15% of the Soviet Armed Forces … in Germany and in the [Soviet] Union are in prison. This estimate is based on experience with the KONTRAZVEDKA. In Germany the percentage of sentences [against Soviet Armed Forces] is even higher than in the U.S.S.R.

(…). Every day a special railway truck leaves the main transit camp full of soldiers under sentence, who are usually sent under escort of special troops, in one of the Russia-bound transit trains.

The main offences are drunkenness, contact with German women, assaults on women, breaches of theft etc.

(Political Attitude of Soviet Troops in Germany, CIA, December 2, 1953, p. 5) (IMG)

The crack-down on rape continued well after 1945. ‘Every year’ the CIA noted, there were cases of rape, as well as the attempts of the Soviet army commanders to prevent it and punish those responsible:

Officers therefore drink illogically and heavily, look for German women, whom they often assault, and many of them ultimately get bored to death, tired of constant supervision and restrictions, and commit suicide. The usual seasons for officers’ suicide attempts are the May and November festivities. Every year the same story repeats itself. The Army Commanders organise conferences for senior officers, order special precautions, patrols and checks, mobilise the political personnel instructing them to increase “vigilance”: and the results are exactly the same as they were in previous years. In 24 Air Army alone during the three days of the 1952 November festivities, eight officers, all of them young men, committed suicide. In November 1951 one young officer shot dead three of his fellow officers and committed suicide. It was “an officers’ bottle party”. There were also cases when officers, caught by the patrols with German women, fought desperately and used their firearms. In November 1951 a young officer caught by the patrol and apparently afraid of the consequences, killed the German woman and committed suicide before the men of the patrol had time to disarm him. (…). In spring 1952 an Artillery Captain raped a 13 year-old German girl and was sentenced to eighteen years’ imprisonment. In early July, 1953 two captains from units of 37 Air Technical Division gave a lift to two German women. They attempted to rape them in the truck but the women resisted fiercely. The officers shot both women dead and left the bodies on the road. They were sentences to eight years in corrective labour camps. (Political Attitude of Soviet Troops in Germany, CIA, December 2, 1953, p. 6) (IMG)


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