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1945 - Women as Spoils of War

April 22, 2024

In early 1945, at least 860,000 women and girls in Germany were sexually abused by Allied soldiers. The victims, and the children they bore after being raped, suffer trauma to this day.

1945 - Women as Spoils of War
A Russian occupation soldier attempst to take away a Berlin woman's bicycleImage: akg-images/picture alliance

Many remained silent throughout their lives and took their stories to their graves.

The German army rampaged through mainland Europe for six years until early 1945, when World War Two was brought to an end on the continent and the Nazi regime was defeated. But there’s a chapter in this story that’s been largely forgotten to this day: Hundreds of thousands of women and girls in Germany were sexually abused by Allied soldiers. Many remained silent out of shame and fear, particularly when the perpetrators were members of western armies.

1945 - Women as Spoils of War
Image: MDR

The documentary hears the stories of some of these victims, talks to their children and grandchildren, as well as historians to reveal how the trauma has affected them throughout their lives. The documentary also shows how important it is to confront the taboo head on: After all, sexual violence against women and girls is still very much part of modern warfare.

Broadcasting Hours: 

DW English

WED 08.05.2024 – 01:15 UTC
WED 08.05.2024 – 04:15 UTC
WED 08.05.2024 – 18.15 UTC
THU 09.05.2024 – 09:15 UTC
THU 09.05.2024 – 15:15 UTC
THU 09.05.2024 – 21:15 UTC
FRI 10.05.2024 – 12:15 UTC
SAT 11.05.2024 – 02:15 UTC
SUN 12.05.2024 – 08:15 UTC

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