Historian Claims Allies Raped Almost 1 Million German Women After WWII – Could Delivery Of Croatians For “The Bleiburg Massacres” Share Same Motives?

"When The Soldiers Came" Book By Miriam Gebhardt

“When The Soldiers Came”
Book By Miriam Gebhardt


Today’s generations everywhere cannot nor should they wear the guilt of heinous crimes committed by their ancestors, but today’s generations everywhere should and must expose those crimes and seek justice for the victims of such crimes at least in ensuring that history reflects factual accounts no matter how ugly those accounts are.

The Western world in particular has since World War II lived a popular imagination or perception that in post-war Germany the Allied forces (British, American and French soldiers) were at best behaviour, well-liked and well-meaning. A well regarded academic and historian in Germany, Miriam Gebhardt, has now published a new book casting profoundly disturbing doubt on the accepted version of the Allies’ role in German post-war history. Indeed, the image we have held about the Allies in post-war Germany now stands in alarming contradiction with the reality revealed in Gebhardt’s book.
On 2 March 2015, the DVA branch of Random House Germany published the book “When the Soldiers Came” (“Als die Soldaten kamen”) by Miriam Gebhardt. It represents a new look at the abusers and the victims of the post-WWII Germany, and Gebhardt says she aims simply to expose the horror of criminal actions of rape in that war and after it.
The soldiers who defeated the Nazi German forces National Socialist at the end of World War II also brought new suffering to many women. Countless girls and women (and no few men as well) became the victims of sexual violence – all over the country. In contrast to a widely held belief, it was not just ‘the Russians’ who were the offenders, but also American, French and British soldiers.

Using new source material, Miriam Gebhardt has outlined the extent of the violence during the period of occupation at the end of the war – the first historically founded treatment of this topic. She also impressively describes how these women later again became victims – of doctors who arbitrarily agreed to or turned down abortion; of social workers who put pregnant women into homes. And last but not least of a society that right down to the present day would prefer not to talk about the mass crimes, that would rather just forget about the whole business.”

Miriam Gebhardt

Miriam Gebhardt

The assumption that Western Allied soldiers would not do such a thing turned out not to be true,” she said, to the broadcaster Deutsche Welle. “In the method and violence of rape there was no different between American GIs and the Red Army, as far as I can see.”


The book claims Allied troops raped German women during the Second World War by manipulating them with gifts of items they needed such as chocolate, food, coffee, nylon stockings and cigarettes. Gebhardt tracked down some victims and interviewed them about their ordeal at the hands of British, American and French soldiers. Also, “the author bases her claims in large part on reports kept by Bavarian priests in the summer of 1945. The Archbishop of Munich and Freising had asked Catholic clergy to keep records on the allied advance and the Archdiocese published excerpts from its archive a few years ago,” writes Der Spiegel.


The reports led book author Gebhardt to compare the behaviour of the US army with the violent excesses perpetrated by the Red Army in the eastern half of the country, where brutality, gang rapes and incidents of looting have dominated the public perception of the Soviet occupation. Gebhardt, however, says that the rapes committed in Upper Bavaria show that things weren’t much different in postwar Germany’s south and west.

The historian also believes that similar motives were at work. Just like their Red Army counterparts, the US soldiers, she believes, were horrified by the crimes committed by the Germans, embittered by their pointless and deadly efforts to defend the country to the very end, and furious at the relatively high degree of prosperity in the country.

…Even if it isn’t likely that the Americans committed 190,000 sexual crimes, it remains true that for postwar victims of rape — which was undeniably a mass phenomenon at the end of World War II, there is ‘no culture of memory, no public recognition, much less an apology’ from the perpetrators, Gebhardt notes. And today, 70 years after the end of the war, it unfortunately doesn’t look as though that situation will soon change”.

Gebhardt begins her book with: “At the very least 860,000 women and girls – and also men and young boys – were raped by the occupying Allied soldiers and their helpers. It happened everywhere …” :

Excerpt From Miriam Gebhardt's book "When the Soldiers came"

Excerpt From Miriam Gebhardt’s book
“When the Soldiers came”

Gebhardt said she arrived at that number of sexual assaults by estimating that of the so-called ‘war-children’ born to unmarried German women by the 1950s, five percent were products of rape. She also estimates that for each birth, there were 100 rapes, including of men and boys.

As a matter of interest, while Gebhardt claims 190,000 rapes committed by American GIs the US criminology professor Robert Lilly (“Taken By Force”), who examined rape cases prosecuted by American military courts, arrived at a number of 11,000 serious sexual assaults committed in Germany by November 1945.

Gebhardt’s book paints a much darker picture than what is often seen in cinema and literature of the Allied troops who liberated Germans from the Nazi regime and thus could take time for people to fully absorb, Robert Lilly said.
It will be resisted to some extent. There are American scholars who will not like it because they may think it will make the war crimes committed by the Germans less bad,” Lilly said.

I don’t think it will minimize what the Germans did at all. It will add another dimension to what war is like and it will not diminish that the Allies won.”

Bleiburg, Austria, May 1945 Fleeing Croats delivered by the British to communist Yugoslavia slaughter

Bleiburg, Austria, May 1945
Fleeing Croats delivered by
the British to communist Yugoslavia


While it has been said that comparatively the least number of rapes of German women (Gebhardt claims that 45,000 women) were perpetrated within the British administered parts of the post-war “German State” (including Austria as it was regarded by Nazi Germany as a constituent part of German state and so, Austria like Germany was divided into similar model of Allied Forces occupation zones) one wonders whether similar motives and mindsets that are believed to have fueled the widespread rapes elsewhere in the German State actually contributed to the genocidal peril when in May 1945 hundreds of thousands of Croats (unarmed soldiers, civilian men, women and children) fleeing Tito’s communist Yugoslavia with the promise of the Allies for protection as refugees were forcefully sent back by the British to the communist Yugoslavia to be murdered en masse either at Bleiburg in May 1945 or thereafter by Tito’s communist operatives. Certainly a motive of retribution does seem to have played a part in the victimising of many innocent people in both cases. This sad thought enters my mind as I begin mournfully to prepare for the 70th anniversary of those heinous massacres of innocent Croatian lives at Bleiburg and elsewhere in the aftermath of WWII. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)


  1. Even the American Military Court number of 11,000 is dreadful enough.

  2. Details of atrocities in European wars are very disturbing and what guarantee do we have they won’t be committed again? And they’re not all confined to the distant past, one only has to think of what happened in the nineties.

    Thank You, Ina, for another fine post.

    Big Hugs


    • We have no guarantees they won’t happen again – politics are either a dark or a bright force and it’s the dark one that’s capable of utter evil. The nineties were a horror for many…today we see it in Africa in Middle East…seems no end but I think, John, that the advances in communication technology have given us an enormous advantage over those who lived thirty or more years ago – today while we cannot stop atrocities we can learn of them more thoroughly and in that our moral fiber hopefully gets new energy to have a better future.

  3. it saddens me greatly to read of this.

    • Me too, psychologistmimi. I wrote it with profound sadness, regret as though it happened to me and of course it did not but it must be said, we all must be aware and stay aware that many innocent individuals suffer and have suffered simply because of some concept of “association” or living somewhere where dark things happened without the individuals’ part in it…

  4. Sometimes I hate being a member of our species….

  5. Very disturbing Ina. Your writing is always so poignant.

  6. David B. says:

    From Facebook: Gebhardt smashes her own credibility when she equates the giving of “chocolate, food, coffee, nylon stockings and cigarettes” to sexual violence and rape. This puts any man who has ever brought flowers to a lady in the category of a rapist, or who has ever courted her with dinner, or any trivia of courtship such as men do and as women seem to enjoy, in the category of having committed a violent crime regardless of his motives or courteous and proper behavior. Gebhardt’s premise denigrates women by suggesting that they are not capable of discernment and of making decisions regarding their own well being and desires. Worse, by proceeding thusly, she joins the ranks of the perpetrators of those who actually committed crimes of physical force and violence by obfuscating the data. Gebhardt’s premise is reprehensible and her conclusions are dubious. I would recommend great care in drawing any conclusions from her presentation. Now then, as to an attitude on the part of some of the Allies concerning a desire to summarily punish all whom they somehow conceived were responsible for the war, there is better evidence, solid evidence, damning evidence supporting your premise in that regard, to be gleaned from the first hand accounts of various Croatians who were, or who were accused of being, complicit in the Nazi business and who were held in various camps such as in Italy, and whom subsequently found a way to refuge in states such as Argentina which were not so particular about these matters. Men, women, and children who clearly had no part in the NDH were caused to suffer greatly at the hands of the Allies for the “crime” of having been suspected of maybe having had family members who were possibly involved in the affairs of those years. The communists made matters unbearably worse for many innocents as well. The evidence I cite may be found in the copious bowels of the data accumulated and published by Studia Croatica and takes a bit of reading to locate. While I take issue and offense with Gebhardt, your conclusions regarding the Allied behavior at Bleiburg and elsewhere Ina Vukic are indisputably correct.

    • I fear you might have missed the point or the power play that occurred, as Gebhardt says, with “gifts” of chocolate, food, nylons,coffee etc – these were “emergency” needs and those emergencies were abused and in cases of rape it’s easy to see the peril, David B. Was it like “Greeks bearing gifts” in those cases where rape eventuated? Gebhardt went about exposing truth and her numbers may be off a bit but not the truth as others in the West have shown similar things before. What you say re Croats stacks up with Gebhardts contemplation on possible motives for the atrocities …

  7. They say that the Victors write the History. How true when so many years have passed before someone uncovers things about the brave allies they’d rather not be seen.
    While I’m glad the German regime was crushed, and I can understand the bitterness of the brave soldiers who’d been forced to fight and whom had seen the atrocities of the concentration camps, there’s no excuse at all for the base and cruel behaviours inflicted upon a civilian population in Germany.
    To all German women and the children of the rapes I apologise.
    To the families and the memories of the Croats returned to Tito’s Yugoslavia who faced death I apologise.
    When will we ever see signs of the humanity of which we’re supposed to be capable instead of all this continuous killing? I’m ashamed of the human race and despair of it.
    Thank you for a fine post Ina.
    xxx Hugs Galore xxx

    • Perhaps, David – if everything that went on or goes on, whether good or bad – gets known then perhaps humanity might be fueled into an “auto-correct” mode of its morality and limits to “do not do!” may not be as blurry. Thank you so much for your comment and hugs, hugs

  8. Eye opening and disturbing, but well done.

  9. Sometimes the past is so difficult to read about… but by being aware of it we can do our best to never let horrific acts like that happen again..

  10. Very interesting, yet sad blog. It is important for people to know these things. Thank you for sharing!

    • Thank you, Marlena – I too feel it is most important to know the truth even if it does hurt it will help heal the world for a better future one way or another

  11. Not that I doubt the story, and most certainly not to justify such despicable acts, but I’m sure the Germans did their fair share of Rape during their european occupations, not to mention other known atrocities. One must remember when one points a finger, three are pointing back.

    • Oh, no doubt about the Germans deeds, Kev – however not all Germans participated in the Nazi crimes and yet when “liberation” came all were considered and treated as having participated. It is understandable that human nature will often act with vicious retribution or revenge but if one does it one cannot make it an excuse for victimising innocent people just because they lived “next door” to someone who committed crimes etc. My sadness for humanity out of WWII is that some criminals and crimes were treated as such while others were concealed and if discovered – justified on some political ground etc. May we never see such times again and I for one am so grateful that the concept of war crime exists these days or since WWII.

      • Well put, Ina. You’re absolutely right and it’s so easy to generalise and put everyone in the same boat without realising it.
        I hope so too and yes, it’s good to seek justice, but it’s just as important to forgive, with that however, I do not mean we should ever, forget.

      • Forgiveness is the key to a good future, Kev, but perhaps most successful where the forgiven acknowledges his/her wrongdoing and turns a brighter leaf

      • Hear, hear! 😀

  12. Michael Silovic says:

    This still happens whether there is war or not from military around the world. It is not as profound as back in ww2 but the American soldiers have been raping the Japense and Afghanistan for years while being stationed there and I am sure elsewhere as well. Most military regardless of goverment affiliations cover this up. Russia is also know for there rapes and murders.The larger problem is exposing this is that soldiers do not like to inform on other soldiers.

    • And Serbs viciously raped women in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina during 1990’s as a weapon of their aggression and war…exposing is so important even if it for now cannot be changed or guaranteed that it will stop in future, exposure does play an effect to the positive, I believe, Michael

  13. …when the Soviet armies entered the Baltics, Hungary, Poland, the Western Ukraine, Germany & Austria, hundreds of thousands of women were raped! The Serbians raped thousands of women, when they entered Banat, Bosnia, Croatia in the spring and summer of 1945! When the serbian white eagles (under Vojislav Seselj) entered Vukovar, it’s too bad that someone couldn’t hand them DELETED but then they don’t rape their own vlah women! The chetniks should have tied Josipovic, Milanovic, Mesic and given a free hand!…too bad!

  14. It appears that whatever war one looks at, rape is one of the “side effects”, whether it is the victors (usually) or the defeated who perpetrate the crimes. The only way to end it is to end war. Unfortunately, man is a warlike creature, and cultures, religions and politics divide us throughout the world. The outlook is not positive, I’m afraid.
    However as you say, Ina, the truth must be told and not glossed over or covered up.

    • Humans at war are capable of terrible atrocities and, I guess, on of the “good” things that came out after WWII is the concept of war crimes, Linda. Whether all who perpetrate them get to the mill of justice is a question impossible to answer as political justifications end up as “acceptable” excuses…but telling what happened is important as it does sooner or later make a difference at least in thinking …

  15. …an interesting article from RUSSIA-INSIDER 16 April 2015
    ” Russia will NOT allow a “Croatian” situation in East Ukraine!”

  16. Dreadful statistics no matter who committed the rape.. Rape is Rape!… Sigh…

  17. …I will tell you a very true story and I am not inventing this! I won’t tell you the city that I saw this is, but this “animal” came at a time toward the end of the 19th century to work and settle in this city! Some years ago, I was taking a short cut path to the main street and I cross cut through this non-denominational cemetery! I noticed a tombstone and it was written in the “serbian” cyrillac alphabet,as my command of their alphabet was limited but I can understand much:

    born 1895 died 1928
    born in JUGOSLAVIJA

    …what is wrong with the above epiphat?
    No!… this is not a riddle or some kind of quiz, but it shows how they planned ahead many years into the future!

    • Of course they planned for years to create Yugoslvia, then succeeded with kingdom under Serbian king, then that fell through then came communist Yugoslavia under where Serbs held main positions in army, police etc… no more but

  18. Well that about you write

  19. Can I buy the book written in English. War is cold and men become devils. History need to be remembered. Not repeated.

  20. DELETED…Im Croat background and I agree with Gospel of John, CH.8,verse 32.

    • seekthis – most of your comment has been deleted as you failed it seems to address the matter of the article.

      • That’s ok.As long as your aware that not everyone who reads this is blind to the point your trying to make or matter your addressing as you like to call it.But good luck to the ones you do fool.

      • You must be living on an another planet, Seekthis, or simply blind or warped or … If reporting about a published book of researching historical records is trying to fool anyone then there’s something truly wrong with you or you’re just one of those who don’t like the truth. Nothing said in this article as to facts is made up but as to motives for the crimes that is an area of legitimate reasoning or trying to make sense of that which must be addressed. After all you can search the internet independently on everything said here, you can check the sources…as to your kind of stupidity I hope we don’t get across too much of it in this world

  21. Sad, disturbing, but not unsurprising I guess. Another of the horrors of conflict.

    • And how many more horrors have been kept away from “us”, God knows. The good thing is that the more we know the better we can understand and deal with issues that weigh heavy on people, often not letting go forward in the full sense.

  22. Fabulous heart rendering post and featured it here:


    Regards, Ian

  23. There is a book I read a couple of months ago called, “Savage Continent. It is about Europe after WWII. It talks by this. Hugs, Barbara

  24. Reblogged this on IdealisticRebel's Daily View of Favorites.

  25. Though I would certainly like to see more substantial evidence that this occurred I am not naïve enough to believe it did not. War brings out the very worst in humanity. It is heartbreaking to imagine that beheadings, rape, atrocities of all kinds continues in so many parts of the world, it sickens me. Thank you for this interesting although disturbing post Ina.

    • Very disturbing indeed, Hollie – I did not like writing it one single bit but I guess in the face of truth, evidence – and there is that to a large extent – our emotions should not prevent the truth to come out, however ugly.

  26. German Lopez says:

    USA american soldiers were already raping women back in England while preparing for D day, then they raped 100 thousand french women in France while they “liberated” them, so one can only imagine what they did when they arrived to Germany. yet they represent themselves in Hollywood films always as irreprochable soldiers.

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