This story was prompted by Marianne Faithfull's recounting of the experience of her Jewish grandmother and half-Jewish mother surviving the Nazi occupation of Vienna, only to be the victims of rape by the liberating Russian Red Army as a systematic tactic used against the female population of Vienna.
Sunday, 22 September 2013
Fix Bayonets - Sunday Sample
“Was that an order Comrade?”
The trooper shrugged his rounded shoulders. Seemed as though the muscles and sinew attached to his shoulder blades were directly connected to those in the face, as his mouth winched up into a rictus of a smile. His hands plunged to his balls and freed them from some crease within the coarse fabric of his fatigues. He shuffled off, still cupping his balls.
It was true. Our officers were exhorting us to seek some R & R and they didn’t mean taking ourselves off to Vienna’s opera houses for some high culture. Our cadres were enjoining us to remember the suffering of our families and the motherland back east. My fellow soldiers were egging one another on with lurid tales of former non-military conquests, exaggerated or otherwise. Creating that unity of purpose that had seen us drive the German army back out of our homeland and back towards the sewers of their own shattered cities.
But each was being utterly deceitful in the intent behind their words. Our officers had turned a blind eye to when we had huddled deep inside one another for warmth, intimacy and relief in the direst of circumstances during the German advance. Now they wanted to ensure that was just a desperate exigency, never to be repeated and that we were to rediscover and reinstate our manliness as men of war. The cadres whispered how we were to degrade the notion of Aryan purity by spreading a little Slavic seed among their blonde haired, blue eyed women. Our soldiers, well they would never admit it, but they wanted to purge their self-disgust at the embrace of last resort they had indulged in when they thought their number was up.
I couldn’t fathom the logic. Such acts would make us no better than our fascist foes. They regarded us as untermenschen and here we were treating them exactly the same way. It was one thing to sprag an enemy soldier on the end of your bayonet, but you don’t also stick at the non-combatants. And so far as the males went, we weren’t going to. But the women we were to expressly target. That made them a level below, like the sub-subhuman. Dialectical materialism seemed to mean, they rape our mothers, we rape their daughters. I couldn’t see the advancement of any progress by that. How was this dick-tatorship of the proletariat supposed to establish superior socialist moral values?
It was an abomination that the Nazis had employed the same tactic to terrorise our population back home, in order to quell any resistance and consolidate their conquest. But here with the Wehrmacht in full retreat, there is no prospect of any resistance, our victory is uncontested by an already defeated populace. And we are to announce ourselves an Army of Liberation in this manner?
The command was of double distaste to me. When I hugged and fondled my fellow gunner in the basement of burned out buildings at night, it wasn’t mere relief or any desperation for me. It would be an embellishment to describe it as love, but the passion and ardour on my part was not borne out of any wretchedness. Am I to forcibly take some Austrian boy to demonstrate Mother Russia’s puissance? The Nazis placed the likes of me in their death camps and I have no doubt that when the Communists are able to return to their rigid prescriptions outside of war, I would be categorised similarly and treated with equal malice. Our model ideal Uncle Joe, has made a man’s love for his fellow a criminal act. Apparently it is only a proclivity in the aristocratic and bourgeoisie. A perversion manifested by an already aberrant class. There is only one criminal act about to be enacted here and it’s by a whole class of men from our nation.