Take a glimpse into the past with these 7 of the most iconic photos in history and learn the full and fascinating stories behind them!
Soviet soldiers harassing a woman
As historian Susan Brownmiller noted, “rape is seen as the act of a conqueror, directed at the “bodies of the defeated enemy’s women”.
This photo vividly depicts the aftermath of World War II and the brunt revenge aimed at German women. As Germany was occupied by Allied troops in the final stages of the war, mass sexual harassment and assaults took place against German female civilians, especially in the area occupied by the Red Army. It has been estimated that the number of women raped by Soviet soldiers during those times was around 2 million, many of them victims of repeated rapes.
In Berlin alone, at least 100,000 women are believed to have been sexually harassed and raped, as it appears from the staggering numbers of abortions in the following months and contemporary hospital reports. Around 10,000 women died in the subsequent period and overall, 240,000 women are believed to have died in connection with sexual assaults in Germany in what was described as the “greatest phenomenon of mass rape in history”.
Rape victims were not only Germans. At least 1.4 million women were raped in East Prussia, Pomerania and Silesia and young Russian, Belorussian and Ukrainian women who had been deported to Germany by the Wehrmacht for slave labor also became victims of rape.