It being International Woman's Day, I figured I'd talk about the Holocaust.
In case you didn't know, it's more shocking that ever thought. You'd think it was impossible for the Holocaust to be an even more terrible moment in history than it already is perceived and conceived to be.
The New York Times story states:
Thirteen years ago, researchers at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum began the grim task of documenting all the ghettos, slave labor sites, concentration camps and killing factories that the Nazis set up throughout Europe.
The researchers have cataloged some 42,500 Nazi ghettos and camps throughout Europe, spanning German-controlled areas from France to Russia and Germany itself, during Hitler’s reign of brutality from 1933 to 1945.
I have to say when I read this, I felt sick. I was honestly shocked. The Holocaust is a piece of history I've taken the time to learn about - entire branches of my family tree were eradicated during the second world war - and much of my knowledge came from what I'd been spoon fed by the education system of my country.
You're probably asking yourselves why I'm talking about this on International Woman's Day.
If you continue reading you'll reach this little factoid:
The documented camps include not only “killing centers” but also thousands of forced labor camps, where prisoners manufactured war supplies; prisoner-of-war camps; sites euphemistically named “care” centers, where pregnant women were forced to have abortions or their babies were killed after birth; and brothels, where women were coerced into having sex with German military personnel.
Why is The New York Times disinclined to call rape, what it is? I think the idea of rape as a war crime is still something that mainstream media is reluctant to talk about, because rape is sadly ubiquitous in "times of peace".
More to the point, the way rape is perpetrated during war and upon an occupied population is very often misrepresented and downplayed, often because rape, during war, is "expected". It is a risk of war, much like bullets and bombs. If you are a woman in a war zone, you should prepare for the enemy to use their weapons upon you.
"This is my weapon, this is my gun."
My point is that that little titbit is all that was said about the "special treatment" of women during the Holocaust. There is a great deal we do not know about the difference women and men experience war and how acts of war are perpetrated on their bodies.
More often than not, women are not counted as people, but as spoils. Hence the creation of special brothel camps.
Women Under Siege's report to the new findings gives a good overview when it comes to how much more needs to be done in order for justice to really be done.
Rape and genocide go hand in hand. Rape and war go hand in hand. But for some reason, they're not always counted as crimes against humanity.