Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Secrets of Nazi camp brothels emerge decades on

By Alexandra Hudson

KAMPEN, Netherlands (Reuters) - For decades no one wanted to remember the concentration camp "special blocks" where the Nazis forced female inmates to entertain their male peers.

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

As the horrors of Hitler's death camps emerged, the brothels swiftly became taboo. The mainly German women who had staffed them were too scarred by the experience to speak of it, whereas the male inmates who used them remained silent in shame.

Now an exhibition in Ravensbrueck women's concentration camp north of Berlin aims to shed light on the brothels and expose the Nazis' sinister attempt to manipulate prisoners' sexuality.

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