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Marta Hillers, Berlin, Machismo and Rapes in 1945

Paraphrased from The Ruins of the Reich, by Douglas Botting, Crown Publishers, Inc.,  pp. 71-72.

An anonymous young German woman was being raped but eventually found a Red Army major who protected her from his men. She expected no protection from Germany's men. The majority of them were cringing, afraid to show themselves in the streets, knowing that if they tried to prevent Russian soldiers from raping their wives and daughters they would be shot. Instead, they hid themselves and did nothing. It was the women of Berlin who were the heroes. They braved the artillery fire to forage for food and water in the streets. It was they who fed the family, cleaned what mess they could, looked after the sick, hid their young girls and took the brunt of Russian brutality. Some women in Berlin were now looking down on their men as the weaker sex and felt disappointed in them and even sorry for them, and the anonymous diarist was among them. She wrote that "The man-dominated Nazi world glorifying the strong man is tottering and with it the myth of 'man.' ...In former times and wars men could boast that the privilege of killing and being killed for the Fatherland was theirs. Today we women have a share in it." This, she wrote, "changes us" and "makes us rebellious."

June 23, 2011

The above paragraph was written in the year 2000. In his book published in 2011, Berlin 1961, Frederick Kempe devotes pages 14 to 18 to the woman and identifies her as Marta Hillers. Kempe writes that "between 90,000 and 130,000 Berlin women had been raped during the last days of the war and the first days of Soviet occupation" – females "between the ages of twelve and eighty-eight." He adds that "some 40 percent of the women were raped on multiple occasions." Twenty percent of the rape victims became pregnant and half of them had abortions, "often without anesthesia."

Hillers wrote a book titled A Woman in Berlin (Eine Frau in Berlin). She died in June 2001 at the age of ninety.

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