I was watching a documentary last night called Lost Home Movies of Nazi Germany. The documentary contained footage taken by German civilians and soldiers. Some of the footage was truly horrendous but other parts of the footage appeared at first glance quite pleasing. For example, it showed a young attractive woman dancing topless for some German soldiers.
However, when I thought about it later and put it in context, those pleasing images suddenly became very disturbing. The film material was taken in the USSR during Operation Barbarossa, and the young woman dancing was a Roma. It occurred to me that she wasn’t dancing half-naked because she enjoyed it, she was dancing because she thought it would please the monsters that had invaded her village. In her culture as in many other cultures, women would not show themselves naked in front of men—unless it was their husband.
Initially, I didn’t want to post the pictures, but I thought it was important to show the forgotten side of the horrors of the Holocaust. Also to celebrate the beauty of this young woman, not only her external beauty but also her internal beauty and the courageous soul she was. She must have realized that this could also result in her being raped.
The footage also showed how hypocritical and condescending the Nazis were. One soldier got his hand palm read while sneering at the woman.
Other young women tried to look their best, again to find favour with their occupiers.
Roma were seen as subhumans by the Nazis, but when it suited them they were willing to temporarily ignore that. If it would suit the purpose to make them feel good about themselves or playing God over these women, they would even flirt with them. Knowing well that these women would possibly be murdered, even by themselves.
I don’t know what happened to these women, even if they survived the war, there was a chance they would have been punished after the war for “entertaining” the enemy.
That same enemy would stare from a distance at a beautiful woman dancing half-naked for her survival, risking being raped or worse. The gawking soldier looks more like a Peeping Tom.
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Reblogged this on History of Sorts.