Witness Reports



This testimony from survivor Sara M. comes from the USC Shoah Foundation (interview 29016). Sara M. was raped at the Ravensbrück concentration camp. A woman took her from her barracks, gave her candy, and left her in a room:

"There were two men there and there were some other people in the room, I think. I was put on a table. From what I remember, [it was] a table or it could have been a high table. I was very little so it seemed like it was very high up from where I was, and I was very violently sexually abused. And I remember being hit, I remember crying and I wanted to get out of there. And I was calling people and screaming and I remember one thing that stands out in my mind, that one of them told me that they would stand me up on my head and cut me right in half. And they wanted me to stop screaming, and I've had nightmares about that most of my life."

Much of the sexualized violence during the Holocaust was committed outside the camps. The following is a testimony from survivor Golda Wasserman, who witnessed girls being raped and sent back to the Tulchin ghetto in the Ukraine, in 1942, from Holocaust in the Ukraine, edited by Boris Zabarko:

"About 15 kilometers from the ghetto, there were Italian and Hungarian reserve divisions. As demanded by the commissariat-officers of these divisions, the Romanian gendarme who was the Kommandant of Tulchin selected healthy young girls from the ghetto and sent them away, under the official pretense of working in the kitchen and bakery of those divisions. The girls returned from there having been raped, ill with venereal diseases. Many committed suicide back in the barracks while some of them were killed while revisiting or attempting to flee. Then the Kommandant selected new girls for 'work.'

"Selection was carried out every 15 to 20 days. It is impossible to describe what was happening in the ghetto—the desperate screams of the girls, the pleas of their parents. Some girls tried to run away along the road. The Fascists shot them in the back. Only a few managed to hide in the villages, pretending to be locals, or were saved by the partisans after long wanderings in the forests. I belonged to the latter group. Among 25 other girls, I was picked to be sent to 'work.'"