Sex during the Holocaust

Brothel

I know this is an awkward subject and some people may have difficulties even reading past the first sentence. However just because it is awkward and  controversial doesn’t mean it is not important.

Sex is one of the most primal human instincts and urges it is how we manage to reproduce, but is more then that it is something that makes us feel good. The orgasm is  the peak of sexual excitement. It is a powerful feeling of physical pleasure and sensation. And sex  is something we even need  for our general physical and mental  health.

Capture

I have often wondered how it must have been during the Holocaust and especially in the camps, was it even possible?

The aim of the Nazi regime was to eradicate the Jews and to a lesser degree Gypsies and other ethnic groups. Aside from the mass murder they also deprived those who worked in the camps from having sex, therefor ensuring they would not reproduce. Often they also would be subjected to sterilization

In all documentations  I have read about the Holocaust, I have not discovered any indication that the deprivation of sex  was ever considered as a crime, in the post war trials.Which I find strange because  It was of course a heinous crime to deprive anyone from one of the most human of human rights.

If anyone was caught having sex there would be severe punishments. Sexual contact between prisoners was extremely rare. Men and women were mostly separated in the camps but in some work groups they would sometimes work together.

Rudolf Vrba’s  recounts some exceptions, in his book “I Escaped From Auschwitz “. On  one occasion a  male kapo of a male inmate work group had a longing  for sex with the female kapo of a female work group working in the same operation, sorting the belongings of the victims who had been murdered in the gas chambers. The female kapo was an attractive, young Hungarian girl who agreed to have sex  if she was given some specified gifts. Vrba was instructed  in  one casewas to transport the gifts to the female kapo before the sexual encounter. Unfortunately for Vrba, he was caught ,the gifts, taken from the belongings of the murdered individuals, were considered property of the Reich He was beaten severely because he hadn’t reported the 2 Kapos.

Kanada

In Joan Ringlehiem’s book “Different Voices: Women and the Holocaust.” one survivor recalled “I had two enemies: Nazis and men.” in the same book another survivor gave her account describes that  besides the Nazis, men acted like “animals” too. She stated  that one day, the SS officers decided to let the men go to the side where the women were. At this point in time, all they wanted to do was have sex.

Germans were not allowed to have sex with any one deemed by the Nazis as ‘sub human’,anyone caught having sex with a Jew or any other ethnic minority not considered Aryan, could result in severe penalties, even the death penalty.

Young attractive women were often forced into working in brothels  to work as sex slaves.Two of the largest were in Auschwitz, in Nazi-occupied Poland, with the main brothel nicknamed ‘Puff’ situated just behind the Arbeit Macht Frei entrance in Block 24.

24

An estimated  21 women prisoners worked in the Auschwitz brothels which were known as Sonderbauten (special buildings). The final brothel was opened in 1945.Emaciated prisoners chosen for the brothels were given a humiliating medical check and had disinfectant cream smeared over their genitals.

But there were brothels in other camps too, the picture at the top of the blog is a picture of a brothel in Buchenwald.

The brothels were created as an incentive for prisoners to collaborate, although these was  mostly by Kapos,   criminals who would use the brothels.

The Auschwitz brothel was fitted with peep holes used by SS guards  to ensure the inmates only used the missionary position.

Heinrich Himmler  had initially intended the brothels to be used to ‘convert’ gay  prisoners by teaching them  “the joys of the opposite sex”,

Homosexuals of course were another group persecuted by the Nazi regime. That would mainly apply yo gay man and not so much to lesbians, there were only a few lesbians persecuted and this was not even the primary reason it usually was  because they were Jewish rather then lesbian. Female homosexuality was basically not acknowledged of something that existed.

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Sources

USHMM

The Guardian

Different Voices: Women and the Holocaust.”

Different Voices: Women and the Holocaust.”

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