Befreier und Befreite
Germany, 1992, 210 min
Shown in 1992
COMMENTSHelke Sander in person.
This new documentary by Helke Sander (The All-Around Reduced Personality, 1977) interviews the men and women who served in the Red Army in Berlin and in East Prussia in 1945. Sander explains: ”Part I attempts to discover why there were so many rapes during the advance of the Red Army. The men and women soldiers have very different memories and cite atrocities committed by the Germans as one reason, but they also talk in terms of the ‘physiology of the male.’ It becomes clear that both victim and perpetrators have repressed what happened and this repression of a collective act of violence not only has a deeply distressing effect on personal biographies, but also massive social consequences. In Part 2, the serious social consequences for the women victims and for the children born as a result of these rapes are analyzed. These consequences range from sexual disease, pregnancy and abortion to traumatization and often lifelong problems with men. For the children, the problem of their descent is foremost, but also their dealings with the authorities, who file them under ‘damage caused by occupation forces’ or ‘the burden of defense.’ In examining relationships between German soldiers and women in the occupied eastern territories and between allied soldiers and German women, it becomes clear that rape was never punished, whereas any demonstration of affection for the ‘female enemy’ almost always was.”