Prostitution in the Concentration Camps

I know this is a controversial subject and I also know that many people will not even bother reading further than the title and the first line. They will have made up their minds without reading the full post. They will not realize that this post is just to highlight another crime committed by the Nazis, but one that is often forgotten.

“Firstly let me explain how I got to the idea of writing this piece. It actually came about in a roundabout way. I was reading up on Willem van Otterloo a Dutch composer who was born on this day in 1907. I noticed he was the father of another Dutch composer, Rogier van Otterloo who composed several Eurovision song contest songs but also wrote quite a few film scores. One of his films is titled “Keetje Tippel.”

Keetje Tippel is the story of a Dutch prostitute in the 19th century. The story is based on the memoirs of Neel Doff an author of Dutch origin living and worked in Belgium and mainly wrote in French. She was one of the most important contributors to proletarian literature. On 14 July 1942, Neel Doff, embittered by the horrors of the war and suffering from kidney failure, died in her house, 16 rue de Naples in Ixelles, Belgium. In order to secure her estate she only left the author rights of her work to her dear friend Mrs Helen Temersen, who being Jewish saw her welfare and worldly belongings in peril.

This made me look into the subject of prostitution in the concentration camps, I had done a post on it before but I just wanted to explore this a bit more. For several decades the history of the concentration camp’s “special blocks,” where the Nazis forced female inmates to become prostitutes, was ignored. Why I don’t really know. Maybe because it was too much of a taboo subject.

KZ Mauthausen, Camp Brothel Gusen

Heinrich Himmler had ordered the creation of camp brothels in 1941. His logic was cold and calculated, male prisoners would work harder if offered the incentive of sex, and if only a few had this privilege it would crush solidarity.

Historian Robert Sommer wrote a book about the subject, titled “Das KZ Bordell” (The Concentration Camp Brothel).

From 1942 to 1945, female prisoners in a total of ten concentration camps had to perform forced sex labour. There was also a camp brothel in Neuengamme. Most of the women were forcibly recruited for this in Ravensbrück. How this happened is described by the Slovenian survivor Nada Verbic: “At morning roll call the room elder said: ‘Women with nice hair should report for the whorehouse.’ At first, I doubted that I had heard correctly. A toothless, bald Polish woman answered and said: ‘Take me, I’m better than anyone with hair.’ But she was unsuccessful, perhaps she wasn’t good at German. One of our comrades, who didn’t know what the word Puff meant, replied derisively to the room eldest: ‘Get in touch and you’ll know.'”

Sommer estimates around 200 women inmates in total were forced to work in the brothels, initially offering the prospect of escaping the brutality of the concentration camps.

Portrait of a woman with a cigarette in hand; Camp Neuengamme. One of the ladies from the Puff. Prisoners from women’s camps were given a choice: the gas chamber or the puff, where they were forced into prostitution.

“A large majority of those forced into prostitution in the concentration camps were branded socially undesirable or anti-social by the Nazis. But there were no Jewish women among them, nor were any male Jewish inmates ever admitted to the brothels,” according to Sommer.

Also excluded from the brothels were Soviet prisoners of war.

It remains one of the lesser-known aspects of Nazi terror that some of the concentration camps included brothels, and that female concentration camp prisoners were forced into prostitution. Robert Sommer has scoured archives and concentration camp memorial sites around the world and carried out numerous interviews with historical witnesses over the past nine years.

Austrian resistance fighter Antonia Bruha, who survived the Ravensbrück camp, reported years ago that, “the most beautiful women went to the SS brothel, the less beautiful ones to the soldiers’ brothel.

One man who tried to break this enduring silence is former Buchenwald prisoner Albert van Dijk, a Dutchman from the town of Kampen, close to the German border. He recalled in 2009

“Often I raised the subject of the ‘special block’ at meetings of former inmates of Buchenwald, but nobody ever wanted to discuss it or they said I was mistaken,” said Van Dijk.

He still vividly remembered how at the age of 18, among the despair and degradation of the camp, he fell for a blonde prostitute called Frieda and lost his virginity to her in the “special block”. Although prostitution was officially forbidden by the Nazis, the elite SS guards had set up a network of brothels catering to German soldiers, forced labourers and prisoners, which they intended in part to stamp out homosexuality. Lieselotte B., who was a prisoner at the Mittelbau-Dora camp said. “The main thing was to survive at all.”

I don’t think the taboo will ever be totally lifted but, by not addressing it, it would be an insult to those women and men who suffered as a result.


Lot’s wife and Daughters

No matter what religion you are, or even when you have no religion, some stories in the bible are just fascinating. None less so then the story of Lot’s wife. Although there are some different stories to who she was , the core of the story remains the same. There are differences in the Christian and Jewish version of Lot’s wife story. The version in Judaism seems to be a bit more in depth.

Lots’ wife is an unnamed woman mentioned in the Bible very few times. First in Genesis 19:15-16, her husband is told to take her and her daughters out of the city of Sodom.

However there seems to be a more darker side to the story of Lot and his family, which appear to include incest, At least in the Christian bible.

“As they fled the city, one of the angels said, “Flee for your lives! Don’t look back, and don’t stop anywhere in the plain! Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away!” (Genesis 19:17). “Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven; and he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground” (Genesis 19:24-25).

As the cities were being demolished, Lot’s wife “looked back, and she became a pillar of salt” (Genesis 19:26).

Lot and his two daughters fled to the nearby mountains in the city of Zoar. The oldest daughter realized the agedness of her father and the absence of her mother. With these thoughts, she proposed to her sister they should get their father drunk “and we will lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father” (Genesis 19:32). Because of his drunken condition, Lot did not realize what was happening as his daughters each slept with him in succession. Each daughter conceived a son in this way, who became fathers of the Moabites and the Ammonites (Genesis 19:37-38)” So basically the Daughters had sex with the father while he was intoxicated. Nowadays that would be called rape.

In Judaism Lot’s wife is named.

The Bible does not mention Lot’s wife by name, but the Rabbis referred to her as “Idit” (Tanhuma [ed. Buber], Vayera 8). This woman’s sorry end teaches of her life: even though she was rescued from the upheaval of Sodom, she was stricken together with the other inhabitants of the city, from which the Rabbis conclude that her actions, as well, were no different from those of the rest of Sodom’s populace. Jealous of others, she offered no hospitality to guests. The angels did not initially want to be her guests, but rather those of her husband Lot, since he was more righteous (Num. Rabbah 10:5); she even tried to bar their entry to the house. Lot’s wife divided their house into two parts and told her husband: “If you want to receive them, do so in your part” (Gen. Rabbah 50:6). Lot wanted the members of his household to participate in the meritorious act of hospitality, as had Abraham, and he asked his wife to bring them salt. She responded: “Do you even wish to learn this bad habit from Abraham?” (Gen. Rabbah 50:4). She finally complied with her husband’s request, but she acted cunningly in order to remove the guests from her house. She went to her women neighbors to borrow salt. They asked her: “Why do you need salt, why didn’t you prepare enough beforehand?” She answered, “I took enough for our own needs, but guests came to us and it is for them that I need salt.” In this manner all the people of Sodom knew that Lot was harboring guests. They stormed his house and demanded that he hand them over to the townspeople (Midrash Aggadah [ed. Buber], Gen. 19:26). Because she sinned through salt, Lot’s wife was punished by being turned into a pillar of the same material (Gen. Rabbah 51:5).



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Holocaust sex slaves.


I was struggling giving this blog a title. I was thinking of calling it “brothels in the concentration camps” but I think that would not do justice to the real horror and impossible choices these women had to make.

In general women who work in brothels have some level of autonomy over their lives, some even enjoy working there, But for the women who were forced to work in the concentration camp brothels, there was no choice, it was a matter of life and death.Therefor I thought the title Holocaust sex slaves was the best description.

The brothels in the concentration camps  were to establish an incentive for prisoners to collaborate. The women forced into these brothels came mainly from the Ravensbrück concentration camp,


The women were taken into a furnished room. The barracks were different from the ones  at the Ravensbrück women’s concentration camp.

The SS opened 10 brothels, the first one opened in the Austrian camp at Mauthausen in 1942. The biggest was in Auschwitz,as many as 21 women prisoners once worked. The women forced to work in the Auschwitz brothel were inmates from Auschwitz in block 24.


The last brothel opened in early 1945.

One of the women testified: “They told us we were in the camp brothel, that we were the lucky ones. We would eat well and have enough to drink. If we behaved and fulfilled our duties nothing would happen to us.”

The women were made to have sex with the forced labourers, which was an idea devised by SS chief Heinrich Himmler in order  increase productivity and to  try to prevent homosexuality from ‘spreading’ in the camps.


There was no actual evidence that it produced any noticeable increase in the prisoners’ work productivity levels. Only a few inmates were actually in a physical condition to go to them.

Jewish women were not ‘recruited’ to work in the brothels, and Jewish men were not admitted to the brothels.

The women, aged between 17 and 35  received more food and were treated less harshly than other female inmates. In return, they had to provide sex to selected prisoners every evening between 8 and 10 p.m., and on Sunday afternoons.

Inmates allowed to go the brothels  had to sign up for a specific day and pay two reichs marks for a 20-minute “session” based on a  schedule which was predetermined.

20 female prisoners, were controlled by a female overseer

The women were matched with ‘clients’ by an SS-officer. The ‘clients; were mainly  inmates who ended up in the camps branded as  common or professional criminals who wore the green triangles,


Himmler was also convinced that by forcing homosexual inmates to have sex once a week  with the women ,it would ‘cure’ their homosexuality

The women would frequently be replaced because of  exhaustion and illness, and were often sent away to their deaths later. Some of them underwent forced sterilizations as well as forced abortions, many times resulting in death.


I am passionate about my site and I know you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2, however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thank you. To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the PayPal link. Many thanks.





Der Spiegel



Mail On Line

WW2 Resource

The Telegraph




The forgotten crime during the Holocaust


I want to start by saying that the pictures in this blog do not actually portray the victims. But that is also the reason why this crime has been forgotten,because this crime was shrouded in  secrecy  by the perpetrators and victims.

Although there are no exact numbers it is estimated that 15% of all Jewish children in hiding were physically or  sexually abused by those who hid them.

Because they could not turn to local authorities for help or were afraid of being turned out, some children had to endure physical or sexual abuse by their “protectors.”

Some Jewish children had some freedom to walk around and play, and others hid in rooms, in attics, under floorboards, in barns, or in convents and were confined. All the children in hiding were completely dependent on strangers. There were no parents to run to or to protect them. The children in hiding did not know where their parents were or if they were still alive. They had the will to live hoping that their parents would come and find them.


There were hidden children who were fortunate to have had caring rescuers. And if rescue parents were able to give them the nurturing and love they needed, their feelings of sadness, longing, and abandonment were soothed for the time being. It gave these children a chance to develop other healthy attachments to the people who cared for them.


The trauma endured by children hidden during the Holocaust has long been overlooked. Unlike their peers, who starved to death in the ghettos or died in concentration camps, most hidden children survived the war and many were reportedly treated well by their well-meaning surrogate caregivers.

Yet for some, physical and sexual abuse was a way of life in their hidden homes. While exact numbers are unknown, experts estimate that one in six children in hiding during the Holocaust were sexually abused and at least five percent were treated ‘very badly’ by those charged with their care

Psychiatrist Paul Valent,who works with child survivors of the Holocaust,noted “desire to reveal or even to remember may be intercepted by a fleeting terror and splitting of


consciousness or dissociation”Others, Valent claims, tried to bury their past once the war was over. “Certainly few, even (or especially), parents, wanted to know how they were affected,” he said. “The children responded by continuing to not feel or think but again hoped for the future.”

Recently, a number of former child survivors have found the strength to share their stories. Their accounts reveal a dark side for some of the children ‘lucky’ enough to be hidden away from the Nazi terror.


In 1984, ‘Pauline’ finally revealed a dark secret. A hidden child of the Holocaust, as a young girl she had been molested by those who had sworn to protect her from the Nazis. For two years she endured the abuse, afraid her abusers would denounce her if she told. According to Joan Ringelbaum, who interviewed her for her book, “Women in the Holocaust,” ‘Pauline’ carried her secret and her trauma long after the Shoah ended.

“She didn’t tell the Jewish woman who checked on her periodically. She didn’t tell her twin sister. After the war she did not tell her husband or her daughter,” Ringelbaum wrote. Forty-four years later, ‘Pauline,’ who still is too ashamed to reveal her real name, acknowledged when she told her tale, “This is the first time I ever admitted this.”

In the years since the Holocaust, the atrocities of death camps, forced labor and ghetto life have been widely testified to by the victims. Yet until recently, many child survivors, like ‘Pauline,’ have remained silent about the sexual abuse they endured as young victims, in part because of the terror and shame of such an admission.


Anne, who was a young girl during the Holocaust in occupied France, recounted her tale of abuse to Dr. Valent. “I moved from family to family each three months. They were not fond of me; they were paid to have me. They made sure I suffered,” she revealed.

Anne was both physically and sexually abused by those who hid her. “I had to have sex with men, kneel on wooden chairs to which they tied me; I was made to lie in prickles. They punished me because their lives were in danger.”

Like ‘Pauline,’ Anne was threatened with violence and denouncement if she told. “They threatened me with the wall oven. I knew Jewish children had been burnt in a synagogue. They threatened to turn me over to the Germans.”

I don’t know of the names are the real names but the stories are real.


I am passionate about my site and I know you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2, however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thank you. To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the PayPal link. Many thanks.





Le Monde