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Rising Sun*
07-16-2010, 07:54 AM
Wehrmacht Brothels
By Vincent Milano

The following was taken from the Die Neue Feldpost newsletter & was done so with permission of the publisher. We would like to thank him for his generosity as well as thank all those who have contributed to this article. It is with their efforts, we are able to share this valuable research with the rest of you.

Lifestyles of the Feldgrau
"Offizierdecke" and German Military Efficiency

The German Army recognized early in the war that its men, like all those from every other army, would at any moment they could take advantage of the nearest town that offered women and alcoholic beverages. The booze was not so much a problem but the women were. Local prostitutes carried several diseases which at times took out several men from duty. In reality it might be said that the French prostitutes incapacitated more German soldiers than their Army in the 1940 campaign.

In order to stem the tide of disease, and provide quite a moral-booster to the troops, Military brothels were established. There were generally two types, Garrison brothels were set up in large towns that has high volumes of troops present or passing through. Field brothels traveled behind the lines to give comfort to the men just rotated in from the front but at rest for only a day or two.

These "units" were administered by the Feldgendarme and Medical troops. The women fell into several different categories. Professional prostitutes were recruited from all over Germany and the occupied countries. Some wee women convicted of crimes, civil or political, that opted for this rather than serving in a work camp such as Dachau. Others were female prisoners of war, mainly Russians (there must have been some good-looking ones). There were reported cases of "forced labor" from the local populace but this seems to have occurred only in the East. One of the collective terms for these women was "Offizierdecke" - Officers Mattress.

It should be made clear that these "units" were generally for enlisted men. Officers had separate "facilities", especially in garrison situations. In both the field and garrison brothels the procedure was much the same. First the soldier went to the Sanitatssoldat to be certified clean and healthy. He was given a pass which stated this and which was stamped and dated. On the pass was the name and number of the brothel it was good for and a line for the woman to sign and place her number. The soldier was issued his condom and a small grey or green spray can of disinfectant. Armed for service, he went on his way. The "Chained Dogs" (Field Police) checked his pass and then he waited in line. The wait was always longer than the time spent with the "service" women.

The events can best be described by those men who were there:
Obergrenadier Martin Eichenseer of Stabs Kompanie, G.R. 916:

"The first time I went I was a lad of 17- and still somewhat of a virgin, I never had intercourse but had done other things with the local girls. With my pockets filled with the 'regulation equipment', I went to the brothel in St. Laurent. I was very nervous and did not know what to expect. When my turn came I went into a room with a very good-looking girl about my age from Slovakia. She had dark hair and big breasts. Sex with her was great even though I didn't know what she was saying. We weren't supposed to pay them in the Army brothels but I gave her some money anyway. The worst part was when she spread her legs and I had to spray her with the can of disinfectant. Only then would she sign my card. You had to bring back the empty can with the pass. If you didn't spray or bring it back you got two weeks extra labor and guard for punishment.

The next time I went I was excited at seeing this Slovak girl again but to my disgust I got this German woman who was in her late thirties, although I wouldn't mind her now, ha ha. She was big-breasted but flabby and had "a lot of wear on her tires" if you know what I mean. I just couldn't do it. She finally told me to close my eyes and she performed oral sex on me. It wasn't too bad as I thought of the other girl. She signed my pass and I left. On the way back I realized I still has a full can. In order not to get in trouble I sprayed it empty in the woods. I would have gone again but the war got in the way."

Obergefreiter Josef Brass, Nr. 1 Kompanie, Pionier Bn. 352:

"In Russia we didn't get to go to any but in France they were quite plentiful. The women were about average in appearance but certainly knew how to please a man. But as young and virile as we were then it didn't take much. Many of the younger men, 17-19 year-olds, didn't go because they were embarrassed by the things they were required to do, such as disinfecting the (woman's genitals). I always felt that the army procedures were a bit too much but then again no-one I know of ever got a disease from an Army brothel. And if you did they knew which girl gave it to you and who ever else she had sex with and everyone could get cured. Some of us did go to the local civilian ones, the girls were prettier and acted like they enjoyed it. However if you got V.D. from one of them it was bad luck. You got cured then sent East to serve in a Penal Battalion for two weeks to three months. Being a "500" (Slang for military prisoner) was no easy life and chances were slim you would make it back anyway. In any event the Army tried to give us the best it could under the circumstances."

Government-provided sex for their soldiers, not a bad idea. Although I'm not sure it would fly in today's politically-correct world. In 1944 it was a reality and part of the soldier's life in the German Army. Obergrenadier Karl Wegner, Nr. 6 Kompanie, G.R. 914, also a benefactor of the system, puts it the following way:
"Was it right or wrong? All irrelevant questions for the time. The girls were nice to us, we had some fun and it made us feel, at least for little while, that our Army really appreciated us. That's all we ever wanted then."

Sources:
- M. Eichenseer - Letter dated Dec. 12, 1988
- J. Brass - Letter dated April 16, 1987
- K. Wegner - Interview on June 9, 1988


Archival Support for Mr. Milano's Article:

In Hubert Fischer's comprehensive work on the German Medical Services entitled, "Der deutsche Sanitatsdienst 1921-1945", there appear a number of official records dealing with the topic opened in Mr. Milano's article. Some of those which would provide additional information would include:

(from page 3510): By 1942, the Wehrmacht was running over 500 so-called "Wehrmachtsbordellen", and that setting-up, running, and supply of these establishments was the responsibility of the Area Commander (Ortskommanturen). Disease control was the responsibility of the area medical officer, and the girls would be checked twice a week by local doctors. There were "special rules" for Officer's facilities, for which a "hotel character" was to be maintained.

Every Army brothel was required to have a prophylactic station (Sanierstube), the detailed regulations for which can be found in the Bundesarchiv/Militarachiv manuscript MA 388 S.727234ff. There were to be marked with a small blue light marked with the red cross.

A bordel pass for troops stationed in Holland is also reconstructed:
A. Authorization to enter Army Brothel
Date.............................................. ................................................
Control-book number............................................ ....................
Intercourse only with condom!
Prophylactic treatment immediately after!
Have dogtag ready!
B. At Brothel
Name of partner........................................... ...............................
C. Certificate of subsequent prophylactic treatment
Number and unit on dogtag............................................ .........
Field-post number of recipient......................................... ........
The above received prophylactic treatment at......... hours under a control number of prophylactic station no. ............ and is thus certified by:

Rank, name
This document is to be kept for 3 months and is to be presented in the event of sickness.


(from page 3511): Between August 1939 and August 1943, there were a total of about 250,000 reported cases of venereal disease in the German Army alone.

There is also an Army-regulations pamphlet (Heeresverordungsblatt 1943, Richtlinien fur die Einrichtung von Sanierstellen und Durchfuhrung der Sanierung) which lays down the official procedures for setting up prophylactic stations and carrying out the prophylactic treatments themselves. One small note of interest here is that the regulations prescribed that in all of the (typically-German) detailed records which were to be kept on the patrons of Army brothels, the soldier's name would appear nowhere on any of these records; at most, only his dogtag data and a control-book number. There was also a manual dated Nov. 1, 1943 under the Army ID of "HDv 59" named "Merkblattes uber Sanierungen", which provided additional information on the same subject.

(from page 3515): Venereal disease is to be found (in the summer of 1942) in France, Poland, particularly in Warsaw, and in the home territory. The Russian civilian populace is seldom a source of infection. Spread of disease is aggravated by the HIWIS, because exact information regarding their sex-partners is not available in many cases.

It also appears that the "Osttruppen" were also covered under a separate set of regulations: Manuscript RH 36/v.491 in the Bundesarchiv/Militararchiv has a section covering "Bordels for Osttruppen!"

http://www.dererstezug.com/WehrmachtBrothels.htm

Rising Sun*
07-16-2010, 07:58 AM
Somewhere in the distant past I posted a related thread about brothels for US servicemen in Hawaii. IIRC there was considerably less attention paid to sexual hygeine than in the Heer brothels described above and considerably more attention paid to production line sex within three minute lots.

flamethrowerguy
07-16-2010, 09:33 AM
Technically the army brothels were a good invention since they helped to avoid the spread of venereal diseases. Another important point for the German authorities was to prevent (or at least reduce) cases of rapes/sexual violations and homosexual activities among soldiers(!).
Of course there was a large number of forced prostitution, even with minors. This happened mainly in the Soviet Union because there were no professional prostitutes available. Prostitution was a criminal act there.

Concerning the disinfection business I read accounts of German soldiers which reported a much worse procedure. Some disinfectant liquid was applied straight into the urethra with a syringe. This must have been so painful that many soldiers disclaimed a brothel attendance in the first place.

Rising Sun*
07-16-2010, 10:04 AM
Concerning the disinfection business I read accounts of German soldiers which reported a much worse procedure. Some disinfectant liquid was applied straight into the urethra with a syringe. This must have been so painful that many soldiers disclaimed a brothel attendance in the first place.

A favourite of Australian medical officers was to show troops the increasingly large implements which would be shoved down their schlongs without anaesthetic to deal with VD, reinforced with comments about the dire military and penal consequences of acquiring what amounted to a self-inflicted injury. I've personally heard from British soldiers and sailors (but not RAF who apparently are too nice for such things) who had similar experiences.

Australian soldiers in WWII were issued with a "Blue Light" kit which had some prophylactic items in it.

The term "Blue Light kit" apparently came from WWI:

At the outbreak of the first World War a prophylactic measure was already known : Metchinkoff had shown that calomel salve prevented inoculation syphilis in chimpanzees, and Neisser had shown that silver salts were effective against the gonococcus. Therefore, prophylaxis consisted of men reporting to stations at their barracks, marked by a blue light, as soon as possible after sexual exposure to have the urethra irrigated with argynol and potassium permanganate, and to have Calomel salve applied externally. There were "Blue Light" depots at every barracks and at Australia House in London. Later, soldiers going on weekend leave were issued with little prophylactic packs called "Blue Lights" designed for self-administration of the above regime.
http://www.lib.monash.edu.au/exhibitions/aids/xaidcat.html

There is a good summary of American military attitudes to, and myths about, VD here
http://www.psywarrior.com/PSYOPVD.html

Following on from some of those stories, you will still find people in Australia who will assure you that Australian troops who caught a specially nasty form of VD in Vietnam were sent into the field repeatedly until they were killed as their bug could not be allowed into Australia.


If this thread continues on the wider topic we might need to move it from the German Military section.

Nickdfresh
07-16-2010, 06:30 PM
The famous, or infamous, 1940 U.S. Army training film on V.D.:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OxNrmf-VoSs

Rising Sun*
07-17-2010, 06:41 AM
The famous, or infamous, 1940 U.S. Army training film on V.D.:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OxNrmf-VoSs

Apparently homosexuality was unknown in the WWII US Army as the doctor refers to getting a dose from a "contaminated woman". The USN version http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gpaHHSVx23c&feature=related is rather more realistic and gender neutral in referring to "an infected person", which I suppose is to be expected with sailors ;) :D.

The Army doctor clearly lives in a higher command fantasy land where soldiers in wartime are expected to follow his advice when on leave (a) don't get drunk and (b) don't have sex.

Rising Sun*
07-17-2010, 08:18 AM
Of course there was a large number of forced prostitution, even with minors.

I don't know of any official record on this, although there might be some buried in our archives, but I've come across a few oblique references in memoirs by Australian troops to what were probably child prostitutes used by Australians in the Middle East in WWI and WWII. Not in field brothels run by either AIF but rather in brothels run by the locals.

I would hope that everyone would join me in condemning every soldier of every nation who knowingly f ucked a child of any nation.

forager
07-23-2010, 10:19 PM
In VN a "short time" was a few dollars if you cared to stand in line behind a bunch of guys of all types.
Any rear area had an abundance of local places.
Lots of the laundry girls and others who worked on bases sold their services.

All the R&R or leave places throughout the far east were teeming with brothels, bar girls, etc.In some places you could contract a girl by day or week.
There is only one thing on a 20 year old's mind.
When he lives in an environment where death is a real possibility, he will indulge in any pleasure he gets.
Many units and guys observed "PCOD" Pussy cut off date.
That gave them time to get treated for most anything they might have acquired.
I never saw any military sponsered places.

Laconia
02-20-2011, 07:23 PM
Somewhere in the distant past I posted a related thread about brothels for US servicemen in Hawaii. IIRC there was considerably less attention paid to sexual hygeine than in the Heer brothels described above and considerably more attention paid to production line sex within three minute lots.
I was in the U.S Air Force stationed in Korea in the early 70's and about 7 miles from our base the US/Korean authorities built a whole town full of bars and hookers. They weren't
government controlled, you worked out your own deal with the girls. They did this to keep us from going into the town right outside the base.

Rising Sun*
02-21-2011, 05:03 AM
They did this to keep us from going into the town right outside the base.

Sort of relates to the Hawaii situation where the local police chief in WWII had control of prostitutes, many or most from mainland US, and confined them to a certain area for living etc, to the extent that the women weren't allowed to go into the main town for fear of contaminating the locals or otherwise offending them.

One of the madams tried to overthrow this regime by moving outside the allocated areas but was in due course overwhelmed by the police activity and forced back to the confined area.

There's a book on this to which I think I've referred previously in some other post, but I can't think of the reference or find the post.

Deaf Smith
02-21-2011, 05:38 PM
And sadly remember what happened to the Korean 'Comfort' women.

Not all prostitutes were 'willing'. Many were slaves.

The Nazis even used Jewish women in some of their brothels.

It was that or be gassed.

Deaf