In my book ‘The In Between’ I write briefly about the crimes against the German (and Eastern European) women, which is a bit of a taboo topic. It’s a tough one, and one that I have been deeply curious about - and disturbed by - for years.
If you follow my work you know that I study, research, and make art about the Germans of WW2. I am massively fascinated with the full range of German experiences leading up to, during, and after the war.
Why? Because they were just like us, then suddenly (or not so) there was a fascist government and all hell broke loose.
I read memoirs written by German soldiers and German Jews. I read about the various elements of the Nazi party. I read about the concentration camp system and its sickening myriad of prisoners. I read whatever I can find about the Germans of that time - and I read about the women.
I’ve spoken with historians about the mass rapes, and I’ve heard varying answers, none of which quenched my curiosity. Perhaps I’ll find some answers in this book.
Why on earth would I read this? One of the reasons is because women always pay a high price for war, but nobody ever talks about it. I applaud the author of this book (before even cracking it open), Miriam Gebhardt, and my thoughts will spend a little time now with the women whose stories fill its pages.
Remembrance is an important factor in ensuring no facet of this horrible war ever happens again.