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Genocide and gender: The uses of women and group destiny

Helen Fein a a Executive Director, Institute for the Study of Genocide, USA Published online: 09 Nov 2007.

To cite this article: Helen Fein (1999) Genocide and gender: The uses of women and group destiny, Journal of Genocide Research, 1:1, 43-63, DOI: 10.1080/14623529908413934


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Journal of Genocide Research (1999), 1(1), 43-63

Genocide and gender: the uses of women and group destiny


Gender and sex are linked to population and group survival through socializa- tion, marriage and family patterns, and reproduction. Reproduction serves to continue the group: genocide to destroy it. Thus, perpetrators of genocide must either annul reproduction within the group or appropriate the progeny in order to destroy the group in the long run.

This implies several questions to start: (1) What determines whether women are allowed to live and whether their reproduction is appropriated or forbidden? We label genocides which seek to destroy everyone regardless of gender as gender-neutral, and those which destroy only males (there is no record of a perpetrator of genocide destroying only females) as gender-specific. (2) How are patterns of sexual abuse of females and males during war and genocide related? Focusing on the first question, we note several both historic and hypothetical possibilities. First, both men and women might be killed indiscriminately. Second, a perpetrator might kill the men and enslave the women and prevent reproduction. Third, they might enslave both men and women and prevent reproduction. Fourth, men might be killed, women enslaved and sexually appropriated, either in a harem or as household concubines, or they may be converted (if of a different religion) and assimilated to become wives. Looking at the second question, we begin by observing the frequency of rape

of women in modern, pre-modern, and prehistoric war.

were at times kidnapped in primitive war; and females of the defeated group

were usually incorporated into the dominant group (raped whether they ended up as slaves or spouses), although in some groups women were immune from

violation on the battlefield.

its political uses, and the psychology and politics of rape as policy: it functions as a ritual of degradation, to instill terror and demoralize the victim group, to destroy the continuity of their reproduction, and as symbolic revenge and reward to the participants. Seifert similarly suggests several explanations and functions of rape in war: rape is part of the "rules" of war; an element of male communication (testifying to the inability of the victims to protect "their" women); an extension of an ideal of masculinity associated with aggression; and it can be aimed at destroying the opponent's culture—"the rape of the women in a community can be regarded as the symbolic rape of the body of this



Women and children


Smith observes on the pervasiveness of rape in war,


Brownmuller asserts a trans-cultural proposition denying tempo-

1462-3528/99/010043-21 © 1999 Research Network in Genocide Studies

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ral, class, social, and political variation: rape is "nothing more or less than a conscious process of intimidation by which all men keep all women [italics in

Smith rejects this view as well as the view that rape

is just a product of individual male desire, "excesses," and opportunity; 5 1 agree that both views are invalid. Since this article does not seek explanations of rape in general, it will not examine theories and empirical studies of rape within societies.

The recent conjunction of war, genocide, and rape in Bosnia and Rwanda both recalls ancient history and suggests disturbing modern innovations in instrumen- talizing rape, including the role of propaganda and media. 6 Perhaps paradoxi- cally, in an age in which sex differentiation in regard to perpetrating genocide has declined—women have been killers and organizers of genocide during the Holocaust, in Cambodia and in Rwanda—gender is still an axis of differentiation among victims. 7 However, rape and sexual assault of males, although less prevalent, is less apt to be noted. Not only do we explore herein how sexual assault is instrumental in appropri- ating the reproduction of a group, we also ask—referring to the UN Genocide Convention (UNGC) as international law—when do rape and rituals of degradation become acts of genocide as well as war crimes? Article 2 of the United Nations Genocide Convention defines genocide as follows:

In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

original] in a state of fear." 4


killing members of the group;


causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;


deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;


imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;


forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

Often, acts that do not result in death have not been taken seriously in estimating the toll of victims by students of genocide, "politicide," and "democide." 8 To begin to understand genocide, we need both a more generic definition and some theory. My definition parallels to a large extent that of the UN Genocide Convention: "Genocide is sustained purposeful action by a perpetrator to physically destroy a collectivity directly or indirectly, through interdiction of the biological and social reproduction of group members, sustained regardless of the surrender or lack of threat offered by the victim." 9 Because of the variations among genocides, a brief theory sketch must encompass all elements and different motives. Genocide is the calculated murder of a segment or all of a group defined outside of the universe of obligation of the perpetrator in response to a crisis caused by or attributed to the victims or an opportunity seen to be impeded by them. Crises and opportunities may be a result of war, challenges to the structure of domination, the threat of internal


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breakdown or social revolution and economic development. Several genocide scholars distinguish four types of genocide: ideological genocide to fulfill an ideology or myth (the prime example of which is the Holocaust); retributive genocide to eliminate a real or potential threat; developmental genocide to eliminate an indigenous group impeding economic exploitation and develop- ment; and despotic genocide to spread terror. 10 These are ideal-types, not exclusive categories, and motives may vary in different periods. In practice, cases may overlap types and researchers may disagree on motives. Chalk and Jonassohn view genocide as emerging historically from attempts by

Scholars of genocide

expanding states to destroy real or potential enemies.

must also put this in the context of the historic expansion of Europe, changing nature of warfare, evolution of the norms of war, and the change of ideologies justifying the state. In order to answer the questions initially posed about the use or misuse of gender/sex differences in genocide, we consider differences at two distant points in time: the ancient world and the 20lh century. This does not pretend to offer a comprehensive review of either period nor to review the history of slavery and conquest of the New World—its primary purpose is not only to draw factive conclusions but to suggest hypotheses.


Gender, genocide and slavery in the ancient world

Although the numbers of victims have soared in the 20th century, genocide is an ancient crime. It appears to have been the norm: in wars in the ancient world empires, such as Assyria, bragged about their destruction of peoples. "The threat

or perpetuation of genocide, in the form of the destruction of cities, constituted an economy of violence, not in the sense of minimizing violence, but in that of

Cutting open pregant women was a

recurrent form of terrorizing display, Smith notes. 13 Few historical narratives survive from the pre-GrecoRoman era, excepting

tablets relating conquests which may have been self-serving, exaggerating

Chalk and Jonassohn

note: "The evidence from antiquity is often contradictory, ambiguous, or


acquire more conclusive proof of what happened to the population of cities that were destroyed and to whole peoples that have disappeared." One source of narratives relating to genocide is the Torah—the Pentateuch. 16 What is of interest therein is not whether this is an accurate historical record but the warrants (or rationales) for genocide ascribed to God, assuming these are the source or reflection of cultural sanctions to kill which are exempt from the sixth commandment—not to murder. This is not used because the Hebrew experience was different but because it is likely that it in part reflected general norms of warfare in the area. Such injunctions need to be understood not only in the context of the specific conflict and the identification of state/king with religion, but in terms of the norms of warfare in the ancient world: the Medes,

if we should ever develop an archeology of genocide, we may

victories and violence in order to intimidate enemies.

maximizing the efficiency of conquest."





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Babylonians, and Assyrians (but not the Hittites) are believed to have massacred all as a rule. We start with what is considered by modern Jews as enslavement in Egypt, although the status of the Hebrews is more often mentioned as that of strangers than slaves; their role was that of forced laborers, not separated from kin as were slaves. The Pharaoh in the 13lh century BCE (during the reign of Rameses) was of a dynasty which drove out the Hyksos invaders who had captured the throne. The new king feared the Hebrews, a fear which might be realistic rather than just an expression of xenophobia, for it is plausible that an alien people who had served an alien king could be viewed as a danger in a conflict with strangers. When the forced labor he decreed for male Hebrews did not limit their natural increase, the king resolved to end their collective existence by a program of selective genocide—killing the male children. But why does he omit the females? Possibly because the females could be enslaved, taken as wives by Egyptians, and be assimilated if they were isolated. But the males must be destroyed to break the identity of the group. As Exodus tells us, the plot to kill the Hebrew male infants was foiled by the non-cooperation of the midwives (whether they were of Egyptian or Hebrew origin is irrelevant here) and the oppression of the Hebrews led indirectly to the ascendancy of a liberator, Moses, and the exodus. The king's fears, oppression, and hard-heart led to a self- fulfilling prophecy, converting subjects to enemies. The flight of the Hebrews, Exodus tells us, prefaced the occupation of Canaan by almost half a century. The use of genocide was positively sanctioned by divine command during and after the conquest. The Hebrews were enjoined to kill specific people in whole or in part: the destruction of "all the peoples that the Lord your God delivers to you" is called for in Deuteronomy 7: 16; see also Exodus 17: 14, Deuteronomy 25: 17-19, 1 Samuel, 15: 19 (destroy Amelek); Joshua 6: 20 (destroy Jericho, excepting only the friendly harlot who collaborated with the spies); Deuteronomy 2: 34 (destroy Sihon). The pattern of justification in the Torah usually posits group resistance which provokes a divine injunction to kill all in retaliation. The general rule for conduct in warfare is laid down in Deuteronomy 20:


When you approach a town to attack it, you shall offer it terms of peace. If it responds peaceably and lets you in, all the people present there shall serve you as forced labor. If it does not surrender to you, but would join battle with you, you shall lay siege to it; and when the Lord your God delivers it into your hand, you shall put all its males to the sword. You may, however, take as your booty the women, the children, and the livestock, and everything in the town—all its spoil—and enjoy the use of the spoil of your enemy which the Lord your God gives you. Thus you shall deal with all towns that lie very far from you; towns that do not belong to nations hereabout. In the towns of the latter peoples, however, which the Lord your God is giving you as a heritage, you shall not let a soul remain alive. No, you must proscribe them—the Hittites and the Amorites, the Canaanites, and the Perizzitesl the Hivites and the Jebusites—as the Lord your God has commanded you, lest they lead you into doing all the abhorent things that they have done for their gods and you stand guilty before the Lord your God. (Deuteronomy 20: 10-18)


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Thus, women (and children) should be saved and incorporated only from the peoples who are not considered a political or religious threat. Female and male slaves were drawn from many sources—including debt slavery by other Israelites. Although Exodus 21: 2 prescribes an obligation to free male Hebrew

slaves in the seventh year of servitude, Deuteronomy (15: 12 & 17) states the obligation pertains to both male and female Israelite slaves. De Vaux interprets

this "to mean that by this period there were no slave-concubines."

appears to have been a double standard, discriminating among slaves on the basis of ingroup/outgroup status. But this was not a permanent barrier. Provision for how and when to marry if "you see among the captives a beautiful woman and you desire her and would take her to wife" is made in Deuteronomy 21:

10-14. Although intermarriages were categorically forbidden (Exodus 34:

15-16), there are numerous examples related of co-existence and intermarriage with conquered peoples, including the unions of Kings Solomon and David; such

intermarriages became common after the conquest of Canaan. 19

And assimilation was a recurrent source of fear and anxiety to leaders, priests, and prophets. This background, perhaps, underlies the singular example in the Torah of an injunction to kill a group of women discriminated by sexual status—the Midianite women—justified by the attribution of a specific threat to them (Numbers 25: 1-18). The Midianite women were members of a group formerly perceived as friends or kin—the wife of Moses was a Midianite woman. Yet, they were later depicted as enemies and sources of pollution— physical and spiritual contamination. The Midianite women were somehow associated with (or became the scapegoat for) the Moabite women who are said to have seduced the Israelite men to worship Baal, which, in turn, aggravated an ongoing plague that the Israelite men tried to ward off by engaging in sexual

Moses later mobilized the Israelites "to wreak the Lord's vengeance on

the Midianites" (Numbers 31: 3) and they went out, slaying every male and taking the women and children captive. Moses angrily excoriated the army officers: "You have spared every female! Yet they are the very ones who, £t the bidding of Balaam, induced the Israelites to trespass against the Lord in the matter of Peor, so that the Lord's community was struck by the plague. Now, therefore, slay every male among the children, and slay also every woman who has known a man carnally; but spare every young woman who has not had carnal relations with a man" (Numbers 31: 15-18). In this case, the sexually active women who were viewed as sources of pollution were to be slain to expunge the pollution. There was apparently no understanding of the independent origin of disease or distinction between the physical and spiritual: seduction was believed to lead to deadly contamination. Thus, it appears to be the fear that the assimilation of the Israelites (signified by co-worship and emulation of their neighbors' rites) could lead to death that motivated Mose's injunction to spare only women who could be assimilated by the Israelites, rather than an ideological or racial barrier discriminating the Midianite women from the Israelites. The injunction against intermarriage with conquered peoples in Canaan for fear this would lead to worship of other gods






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which would lead their Lord to "promptly wipe you out" (Deuteronomy 7: 1-4) supports this interpretation. Internal evidence suggests that the decree against intermarriage was not carried out; the Israelites repeatedly were reported to be worshipping at the shrines of their neighbors and following their practices. Prophets and priests, defending monotheism, continuously condemned (in the Torah) the syncretistic deviations of the Israelites. Plaut suggests that the injunctions to kill whole peoples during the conquest were "retrojections of what could and might have been, and the sentiments were acceptable in view of the common practices of the times." 21

If, as Chalk and Jonassohn believe, the primary aim of early genocides was "to eliminate a real or potential threat," it was most often construed as a military threat, rather than a sexual threat. 22 Thus, we would expect that men, being the base of the warrior class, would be more likely to be slain while women could be enslaved. Both in primitive societies and ancient civilization, annihilation of women of defeated groups was less common than incorporation of them in the conquering society as slaves, concubines, and spouses. The massacre of men in conquered towns and enslavement of women was routine in the ancient world for similar reasons as in primitive societies: there was neither any norm nor any incentive to keep defeated men alive but many incentives to seize the females. 23 Gerda Lerner believes that the successful enslavement of women was the beginning of the institutionalization of slavery. 24 Indeed, such alienation is the basis of the definition of slavery of Orlando Patterson: "the permanent, violent domination of natally alienated and generally dishonored persons" who become subject to "social death." Patterson observes that women and children were easier to take in and to absorb in the community than men. 25 Smith observes that slavery and rape are concomitant as means of genocide:

"In practice, slavery was another name for recurrent rape, and since slaves had no rights to their bodies, they had no right to the children born of the pregnancies forced upon them. Slavery, thus, completed the genocide begun earlier by destroying whatever remained of the group biologically and so- cially." 26 Thus, slavery might enable women to live, yet it is not an alternative to genocide but a means of ensuring group death over the generations if reproduction is restricted to paternity by the master-class and their progeny are assimilated into the master-class. However, slaves had different partners and there was a variety of modes of inheriting status which in most slave societies led to the inheritance of slave status by birth. 27 Greek slaves, who constituted 30-33 percent of the population of Greek city-states in the 5th century BCE to the early Roman period, were drawn from

The idea of freedom began among the Greeks with

reflection on the despair and subjugation of these enslaved women, Patterson

shows, drawing on citations from the Iliad, the Odyssey and contemporary

Freedom began its long journey in Western consciousness as a

woman's value. It was women who first came to value its absence, both those


both wars and trade.




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who were never captured and lived in hope of their being redeemed or, at the


The pitiful destiny of the women and children is empathetically portrayed (retrospectively) in Euripides' the Trojan Women. Yet, in most cases, neither female captives nor their children were killed and the children of female slaves, working in the house, "were constantly assimilated into the nonslave group" because "status was determined by the father." 31 Works by other classicists on ancient Greece and Roman cited by Patterson agree there was differential treatment of captives by gender. Before the Atlantic slave trade provided an incentive for slavers to capture live males, the great majority of slaves in the world were female. 32 The end of slavery also eliminated any special motives to save the lives of captive women.

least, being released

from their social death


Gender and genocide in the 20th century

The 20th century is marked by paradoxes: the rise of totalitarianism and millions of lives it has claimed, the spread of genocide, on the one hand and the growth of international humanitarian law outlawing crimes of war (foremost of which is deliberate attacks on civilians), reinforcing the 19th century abolition of slavery, passage of the UN Genocide Convention decreeing genocide a crime in times of peace and war, and the proclamation of an array of universal human rights and rights-claims. 33 As in earlier times, genocide is usually associated with wars; its victims are sometimes aggregated with victims of war. War provides the opportunity to justify and mask the crime. However, genocides and other state murders have claimed more than four times as many lives as civilians dying in wars in this century, Rummel estimates. 34 Since the end of World War II, genocides have usually occurred within states rather than between states; wars and rebellions have been intra-state. We note great divergence from the classic pattern of assimilating the women of the defeated group. Similarities in the occurrence of rape in war in modern as in ancient times sometimes obscure dissimilarity in organization, scale, and function. Rape and sexual assault have escalated from the simplest level (1) of toleration to (2) encouragement and sanction (as in the rape of the women of Berlin by Soviet forces in 1945) to (3) institutionalization (as in the "comfort women" coerced into forced prostitution by the Japanese military during World War II) to (4) instrumentalization as a tactic serving strategic war aims (as in Bosnia and Rwanda) with institutionalization and at times compulsory performances of the peipetrator—as well as the victim—who must enact public performances of rituals of degradation before significant others. Genocide has been associated with different social systems and ideologies in the 20th century, used by advanced industrial societies, by regional powers, and by poor and predominantly agrarian states. The earliest documented genocide of the century is that of the Hereros, a tribe in German-governed South-West Africa (now Namibia), who were killed categorically and driven into the desert to die


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(the latter affecting most of the women and children rather than the warriors) after an unsuccessful rebellion (1904-1911). The rebellion was provoked by German plans to move them off the land to reservations and the natives' resentment at the German courts' refusal to punish murder and rape of Hereros by Germans. 35 Here racism was clearly an element in classing the Herero women as unassimilable, although they could be sexually assaulted in peace-time. The conjunction of genocide and slavery still persists in some regions. Although there is a general belief that slavery no longer exists, since it has been outlawed internationally for seventy years, it is still practiced in the Sudan (and some other states in the region). In Sudan, the Dinkas—African Christian southerners who have been victims of a genocidal war by a militant Arab northern Islamic government—have not only been killed directly and through attrition (denial of food and prerequisites for life) but women and children have been raped, kidnapped, and sold into slavery. One out of four Dinkas is estimated to have been killed between 1983 and 1993; one out of five are victims of genocide. 36 What is similar in the Sudan to genocide elsewhere is the definition of the universe of obligation to exclude the victims—those outside Islam (in this case), unprotected by and unwilling to live under the Sharila laws imposed by the government. After an Islamic extremist government took over in 1989, genocide was also authorized by proclamation of a jihad against the residents of the Nuba mountains, driven into government "peace camps" to escape death by army mass reprisals and government-created famine. In these camps, women are not only raped but appropriated by individual soldiers and subject to what their captors call "marriage"; this may be related to the Shia practice of "temporary marriage"—a declining practice revived in Iran by the Khomeini government. In German South-West Africa and the Sudan, genocide occurred during wars in response to rebellions. But the two most totalistic genocides of the century, that of the Armenians during World War I and Jews and Gypsies during World War II, were not responses to rebellions. The 20th century has seen genocide transformed to a tool for reforming states, changing their population to fit the state's political formula as a vehicle for the dominant group or master race. It is state ideologies, such as pan-Turanianism and the Aryan myth, which impel the exclusion of victims that do not fit in the universe of obligation, that are distinctive causes of genocide in this century. 38 The first modern ideological genocide of the century was that of the Armeni- ans in the Ottoman Empire in 1915. The empire, an ally of Germany, was governed by a faction of the ruling nationalist party, the Committee for Union and Progress, that adopted a Pan-Turkic ideology justifying eliminating non-Tur- kic peoples in their midst. The genocide has been documented by observer reports (including American, British, and German diplomatic sources) of the

same time as Turkish documents used in postwar trials.

The perpetrators drew



on modern bureaucratic organization and pre-existent patterns of popular mass- acre, sanctioned in local mosques and reinforced by rumours of Armenian disloyalty to the war effort.



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The campaign began with measures to isolate the women, children, and older people and strip communities of the means to resist. Armenian men in the army were segregated into special units ('labor batallions'), disarmed, and later slain. On the night of 24 April, some 1,000 prominent Armenians [presumably male] were arrested in the capital and secretly murdered, leaving the others numbed by terror. Armenians were ordered to hand in their weapons, and they usually hastened to find weapons to hand in even if they had to buy them, for fear that charges of non-cooperation would be brought, used as evidence of disloyalty, and then employed to provoke violence against them. The remaining males in each village were summoned by the town crier to report immediately, led out of town, and slain. Women, children, and a few infirm males previously exempted were then bidden by the crier to prepare themselves for deportation. They were driven into the desert by soldiers, staggering along until they dropped from drought, starvation, the lash, their festering wounds, rape, or they committed suicide from despair. 41

The prospect of rape and death led to mass suicides according to oral reports of survivors:

of young


Hundreds of girls often drowned themselves in a single day, according to survivors' accounts. It appears that a form of group hysteria developed in which groups of young women elected to die together. As best as we can reconstruct, these girls would link arms

or hold each others' hands and leap from a bridge or cliff into the turbulent waters of the

the girls were physically and emotionally exhausted; they had

Euphrates or other rivers

witnessed tremendous violence during the deportations, including rapes and abductions; many had lost family members; their support structures were minimal; and perhaps, most important they had abandoned hope of survival. 42

The government released criminals from the prisons to work with the "Special Organization" in charge of the soldiers guarding the processions. The women were also raped by surrounding Kurdish and Circassian tribesmen. They might be saved from death by being abducted, enslaved, or appropriated by local men—Turks, Kurds, Arabs—who had them converted so they could become Muslim wives. In a study of 14 Armenian female survivors, Sansarian found that "seven had either been abducted or were intimately familiar with those who were abducted or enslaved." 43 Children were also at times abducted and adopted by Muslim families, saving them from death at the price of giving up their identity. Allowing some females and children to live was in accord with Article 5 of an early document (December, 1914 or January, 1915) by the Committee of Union and Progress prescribing "Ten Commandments" for the genocide:

"Apply measures to exterminate all males under 50, priests and teachers, leave girls and children to be Islamized." 44 There was no doctrine of blood differences negating the assimilation of women; nor was there an effort to save them from annihilation. However, rape was among the crimes with which the postwar Turkish courts charged the perpetrators of the genocide: "murder of people, plunder of goods and money, gutting houses and corpses, rape, and the indulging in all sorts of tortures and shameful acts." 45


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Although the Armenian genocide was based on a doctrine of pan-Turkic destiny which was completely secular, it drew (for support) on the earlier tradition of Islamic contempt for the dimmhi (Christians and Jews) which allowed conversion. There was no concept of race negating assimilation by Armenian women. By contrast, the Holocaust was based on a racial agenda that not only determined who would live and who would die but criminalized intercourse, physically stigmatizing the Jews as polluting German blood, and prohibited conversion. Nazi racist antisemitism, which viewed the Jews as nonhuman and infectious agents (lice, bacteria, viruses), was a variant of the radical secular antisemitism that arose in Central and Western Europe 50 years before 1933, a movement that drew a line between assimilated and converted Jews (rejecting religion) and Christians or "Aryans," in contrast to classic Christian anti-Judaism that offered the possibility of redemption by conversion. 46 Further, it was integrated into a "biosocial vision" which attributed all social problems to genetic sources and sought to "improve" the nation by selective

breeding, sterilization and killing, beginning with the handicapped, institutional-

This preceded the "Final Solution of the

Jewish Question" genocide (begun in 1941) and the later genocide of the Gypsies. Because of this ideology, all efforts were made to prevent the assimilation and survival of both Jewish women and men. Germany had proscribed social intercourse with Jews and prevented new intermarriages since the 1935 Nurem- berg laws. There was continuing tension in German bureaucracies over the definition of identity of Jewish converts, Jews, and descendants of Jews not affiliated with the Jewish community who were in mixed marriages, indicating the pull between the desire to extrude and encircle the stigmatized Jews, outside of the German universe of obligation and to acknowledge the marital ties and rights of Aryans, within the German universe of obligation. This need was demonstrated by official response to the public demonstration of the Aryan spouses (mostly women) of Jews who noisily picketed the Jewish community offices on Rosenstrasse in Berlin in 1943, leading to the release of their Jewish spouses—never picked up later to be deported, despite Goebbels' vow to get them. Jews married to Jews did not elicit German protests. Nor did their children. Even before the proscription of births of Jewish children in camps, their life chances were reduced radically by the conditions they and their parents endured. The starvation and overcrowding in ghettos (before deportations) must have especially diminished the birth and survival of infants and children, as it did in Warsaw. 49 In the camps, children below adolescence and their mothers with them were the most likely to be killed immediately, being selected as unfit for labor, which allowed for short-term survival. In camps and in hiding, the birth of a child endangered the survival of the mother (and others in hiding places which might be revealed by the cry of an infant), impelling mothers to end the life of children who entered the world with a death sentence on their head. But we lack comprehensive studies of gender differences in survival in camps and

ized mentally ill and others in 1939.




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of differential selection and death rates in ghettos. Ringelheim's assertion of greater victimization of Jewish women is simply disconfirmed by examining the evidence cited. 50 The tabu on intercourse between Jews and Aryans accounts for the lack of a

pattern of sanctioned and institutionalized rape in ghettos and camps. Incidents

—have been reported, but inter-

course by Germans with Jews was not sanctioned. There is no way to know how prevalent this was, but there are no indications of such a pattern. Further, the records of German condemnation and sanctions against rape of Jewish women indicate that this was viewed as a violation when publicly observed. But there were no observed sanctions against rapes in 1941 by Lithuanian collaborators in Kovno. 52 By contrast, there were no organizational or ideological deterrents against rape of Jewish women in German satellites in the colonial zone in which local authorities decided on and executed deportations: Bulgaria, Croatia, France (to 1943), Hungary, Romania, Slovakia. Although there were rumors in Slovakia and Hungary of Jewish brothels in German camps, this has not been reported nor has there been a pattern of rape observed in Slovak and Hungarian ghettos and camps. 53 Hilberg cites reports of rape in Romanian camps confirmed by Curzio Malaparte, an Italian journalist, who reported that Jewish women from Bessara- bia were driven into houses of prostitution by the Romanian Army during World War II. 54 The German record during the Holocaust may be compared to other cases of official toleration or organization and encouragement of abuse of women under occupation. There is no record of sanctions against rape of Slavic women by German soldiers in the occupied East, nor were there sanctions against mass rape of women by Soviet soldiers in occupied Germany and Eastern Europe in 1945—rather, there were incitements to rape. Primarily, it was the motherhood and care-taking of their children by Jewish women which increased their death-chances in the camps rather than direct gender discrimination. Those women who survived the initial selection were subject to humiliating stripping, handling and, at times, sadistic punishment in camps. What is striking about the Holocaust, in contrast to the Armenian genocide and to earlier Armenian and Jewish pogroms, is the lack of a pattern of gender discrimination and sanctioned rape. Similarly, little discrimination and rape is reported among Cambodian survivors of the Khmer Rouge (KR) genocide in Kampuchea (1975-1979) although marriage and sexual liaisons were strictly controlled by the KR in order to dissolve and deter the formation of social bonds. (Stories of sexual exploitation and liaisons by KR cadres exist.) 57 The KR attempted to create a new monolithic classless society, eliminating minorities and persons and classes tainted by foreign influence. This ideology negated saving and assimilating women of the despised classes and groups. However, the greatest number of victims were ethnic Khmer, discriminated by political, social, and class criteria. The post-genocide demographic imbalance—women are esti-

of rape—and liaisons with German soldiers





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mated to constitute at least 55 percent of the population—suggests that women were more likely to survive, perhaps because of the mass slaughter of males who were soldiers of the former head of state, Lon Nol. 58 In Bosnia—recognized as a genocide-in-the-making in 1992 by Human Rights Watch, the Institute for the Study of Genocide, the US Committee for Refugees, and the US Holocaust Memorial Council (see also International Court of Justice order, April 8, 1993, and indictments by the International War Crimes Tribunal on Yugoslavia)—the process of destruction of Muslims and non-Serbs and the social dissolution of family and community resemble in many ways the earlier genocide of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire. The victims were known and did not need to be defined and marked. Criminal gangs started the killing but there was high participation and visibility of the killing. Further, perpetrators' aim was to create an ethnically exclusive state ("ethnic cleansing"), driving others from their homes and land and making it impossible for them to return. Besides direct killing and torture to death (in camps exposed in August 1992), stripping of civil rights and property, a primary method was organized and instrumentalized rape. Although it is impossible to estimate reliably the number of rapes and perpetra- tors by group, 59 what is distinctive in Bosnia is the instrumental organization of rape to drive out and destroy non-Serbs. The report of the Commission of Experts distinguished five patterns of rape and sexual assault (the following findings cite paragraph numbers from this report) which it used to document the ground for indictments of war crimes and genocide. 60

sexual assaults against women for the

purpose of terrorizing and humiliating them, often as part of the policy of 'ethnic

This may involve heightened shame and humiliation by

raping victims in front of adult and minor family members, in front of other detainees or in public places, or by forcing family members to rape each other. Young women and virgins are targeted for rape, along with prominent members of the community and educated women. [250b] Many reports state that perpetra-

tors said they were ordered to rape, or that the aim was to ensure that the victims

and their famililes would never want to return to the

[251] Rape has

been reported to have been committed by all sides to the conflict. However, the largest number of reported victims have been Bosnian Muslims, and the largest number of alleged perpetrators have been Bosnian Serbs. There are few reports


of rape and sexual assault between members of the same ethnic

The practices of 'ethnic cleansing', sexual assault and rape have been carried out by some of the parties so systematically that they strongly appear to be the product of a policy. The consistent failure to prevent the commission of such crimes and the consistent failure to prosecute and punish the perpetrators of these crimes, clearly evidences the existence of a policy by omission. The consequences of this conclusion is that command responsibility can be established."

Quindlen and Allen have called such sexual violence, including forced impregnation, as "gynocide," "genocidal rape" and "genetic warfare," citing the direct and indirect effects on group reproduction and survival of these crimes 61

These include "[248]




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Brownmiller denies that there is anything distinctive about the use of rape in Bosnia-Herzegovina as compared to previous wars, but Allen observes that "she misses the criminal specificity of what the Serbs are doing because she leaves

According to Brownmiller,

rape in war is simply the way it is in patriarchy. Thus the category 'patriarchy' becomes global, erasing significant cultural differences, erasing pockets of resistance, erasing the ways in which patriarchy harms not only females but males as well."

It is important to observe that sexual crimes in what was Yugoslavia were not restricted to women as victims. Reports of castration, circumcision, forced sex

acts and injuries by fellow prisoners inflicted by biting are repeated. Although male victims are reported in all groups (as female victims), non-Serb (usually Muslim) men were more likely to be subject to violation, rituals of degradation,

As during the Holocaust, the victims

were threatened in order to turn them into agents of destruction and degradation.

Men are also humiliated by seeing their wives and children violated, by being unable to protect them (thus undermining their sense of masculinity) and by seeing their identity, autonomy, and sense of the sacred destroyed. Rape as an instrumental policy was also evident in Rwanda in 1994. That genocide was organized by extremist Hutu organizations, resisting implemen- tation of the (Arusha) peace accord, which was to end the war begun by the Tutsi-refugee led Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF). The RPF were descendants of the Tutsis—in colonial times a favored ethnoclass—driven out of the country by massacre in 1963-1964. In 1994, the perpetrators not only slaughtered people directly but practiced mass rape, sexual slavery (forced "marriages"), sexual tortures, and mutilation and display of body-parts, primarily against Tutsi women and girls. 64 From reported pregnancies, we can estimate there were "at least 250,000 cases of rape," according to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Rwanda, Rene Degni-Segui. The genocide was preceded not only by racist propaganda against the Tutsi as aliens, but by propaganda demonizing Tutsi women and simultaneously exalting their sexual power and scorn for Hutu men:

and humiliation directly and indirectly.


out the role of impregnation in the Serb policy



Tutsi women were targeted on the basis of the genocide propaganda which had portrayed them as beautiful and desirable, but inaccessible to Hutu men whom they allegedly looked down upon and were "too good" for. Rape served to shatter these images by humiliating, degrading, and ultimately destroying the Tutsi woman. Even Tutsi women married to Hutu men were not spared, despite the custom that a wife was protected by her husband's lineage after marriage. Most of the women interviewed described how their rapists mentioned their ethnicity before or during the rape. Rape survivors recounted such comments as: "We want to see how sweet Tutsi women are," or "You Tutsi women think that you are too good for us," or "We want to see if a Tutsi woman is like a Hutu woman," or "If there were peace, you would never accept that." 66

Gang-rapes, torture and mutilation were committed by the Interahamwe (voluntary militia), government military and the presidential guards. Individual


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women might be "saved" from further rape by soldiers who hid them for their own use and forced to accede to such a "marriage"—many fled with them out of the country—for their protection. On September 2, 1998, the United Nations Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda found Jean-Paul Akayesu, former Mayor of Taba in central Rwanda in April, 1994, guilty of genocide, explicitly citing rape as an act of genocide. Mr. Akayesu was held responsible for the death of more than 2,000 people and the rape of dozens of Tutsi women in Taba after April 19, 1994. "In another

important ruling, the court held that systematic rape of Tutsi women in Taba also amounted to an act of genocide. The ruling says rape and sexual aggression fall under a clause in the 1948 Convention defining genocidal acts as those causing

Human Rights Watch

'mental or physical harm to members of a group'." observes:

Sexual violence can inflict on a group conditions of life calculated to cause the group's physical destruction and can prevent births within the group. For example, women subjected to sexual violence may be left physically unable to reproduce, or, they may be denied this role by their community given the nature of the attacks they have suf-



mutilation were not accessory to the killings, nor, for the most part, opportunistic assaults.

Rather, according to the actions and statements of the perpetrators, as recalled by the

survivors, these acts were carried out with the aim of eradicating the

The pattern of sexual violence in Rwanda shows that acts of rape and sexual



A similar case (based on Bosnia) has been made by Goldstein and Sellers (the latter a counsel to the office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia). 69 Such acts "committed with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group as such" fit under Article 2(b) "Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group"; and, in certain cases, (c), "Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part"; and (d) "Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group." Sellers observes that:

Rapes and other sexual assaults have been strictly interpreted by the International Criminal Tribunal on Yugoslavia to be evidence of "causing serious bodily or mental harm" that together with other inhumane conditions in Bosnian Serb camps could lead to physical destruction of the Muslim population. Thus far, rapes, perpetuated [sic] on men as well as women, are considered constitutive parts of genocide and have been charged in four

Subsections (e) and (d) of

the Genocide Convention have not as yet been the basis of a genocide charge: nor have indictments charged genocide based predominantly or exclusively upon evidence of sexual assaults. 70

Goldstein stresses that forced impregnation by members of the perpetrator group not only constitutes harm but is a measure intended to prevent births within the group in the short and long term, objectives also defined as acts of genocide by the Convention. 71

indictments under subsection (b) of the Genocide Convention


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Even when women who are victims of such sexual violence survive, their

impairment and disadvantages—medical, psychological, and social—accrue. Although women make up the majority of the post-genocide Rwandan popu-

rape survivors are at an extreme disadvantage, subject to continuing

internal injuries and sexually transmitted diseases, stigmatization as rape victims, and conflicting feelings toward babies of their rapists (abortion is illegal in

Rwanda) who are not accepted. They say: '"We are the living dead'

They left us to die slowly. I wish every day that

I was dead'." 73 This is "social death" in life.

living as if we were dead

'We are




We began by asking two questions regarding (1) the determinants of the life-chances of women during genocide and control of their reproduction; and (2) the role of sexual violence in genocide. Whether women are allowed to live—which often implies their reproduction is appropriated whether they become wives or slaves—appears to be related to several variables: the perpetra- tors' interest in expanding their population, the institution of slavery, and the strategy and the ideology of the perpetrators, especially their beliefs as to whether women of the victim group can and should be assimilated—i.e. the dangers their blood or practices or identity represent. In the ancient world women were more likely to be spared both because of the existence of slavery and the general lack of ideologies of inextricable group differences. Most genocides during this period appear to be retributive—to eliminate a real or potential threat—rather than ideological or developmental. There were also instances of despotic genocide (i.e. Assyria) to spread terror. Women in the victim group were more likely than men to endure social death before physical death by enslavement in the past. Similarly, rape and social isolation through stigmatization has led to many instances that may be viewed as social death of female victims of genocide in the modem world. Viewing modern genocide, in no case studied was there an aim by the perpetrator to preserve and protect women of the victim group, regardless of the type of genocide. There is no longer any general incentive to save women for their utility as slaves in most parts of the world or to expand population. One exception is the Sudan, a state in which slavery is openly practiced. Both women and children were enslaved in the Sudan. Also, there were instances in both Sudan and Rwanda where some women who were seized were labelled "wives" but we do not know how prevalent this was. In the 20th century, perpetrators of genocide usually have shown little interest in appropriating the reproduction of women of the victim-group. In gender- specific genocides (as in Bosnia) the genocider's tactic appears to be to spoil the reproduction of the victims rather than to appropriate their babies, which itself was secondary to driving out the targeted group; women who had been forcibly impregnated were driven out by the Serb occupiers. The strategy of ethnonation- alism, creating "ethnic purity" by "ethnic cleansing," negates interest in assimi-


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lating women. Instrumentalizing rape was just a tactic toward this end. The pre-modern pattern, by contrast, assumed the assimilability or interchangeability of women. There was least gender discrimination and sexual assault in the modern ideological genocides examined. In two of three cases, the Holocaust and the Cambodian genocide (which we label "gender-neutral"), rape was not reported as a pattern by the principal perpetrators. Rape occurred routinely and repeatedly during the Armenian genocide but, while tolerated, did not appear to be organized. Gender segregation, humiliation and sadism were reported in both the Holocaust and the Armenian genocide. Although the Ottoman Turkish genocide was based on an ideology of ethnonationalism—"pan-Turkism"—Armenian women and girls were sometimes saved from death by being snatched, converted to Islam—a religion of inclusion by .conversion—and made wives of Turks, saving their lives by eradicating their identity. The ideology of the Aryan myth, however, negated the assimilation of Jewish women. There were sanctions against German rapists of Jews because of the ideological doctrine of blood pollution (embodied in the 1935 Nuremberg laws) which inhibited institutionalized rape of Jewish women. The German sanctions can also be related to the attempt to control reproduction by modern totalistic movements, focused mainly on the control of women of the dominant group or "master race," Papanek points out, because "their identity depends on an

identifiable line of descent, and

is constructed as dependent on female sexuality and reproduction

Most modern genocides are retributive—responses to threat—and not based on comprehensive ideologies, although they may demonize the Other and propagate myths of eternal group hostility. But they usually are based in patriarchal societies in which male dominance is taken for granted. In such societies, women's "purity" and honor are usually contingent on their preser- vation of virginity before marriage and later inviolability. Repeatedly, we see that men of the group perpetrating genocides in such societies use rape as a means to destroy the Other. Sexual assaults are attacks not only against women but also attacks on the family and the self-esteem of fathers and husbands, publicly demonstrating their group's impotence and their inability to protect "their women." Perhaps, paradoxically, the latent function of the honor of women is to instigate enemies to dishonor women. While rape has been taken for granted, tolerated, or encouraged during war and genocide, it has seldom been instrumentalized and institutionalized as in Bosnia—compelling performers and victims of both sexes in policed camps. Instrumentally, rape and sexual assault of some were effective means to instill terror, causing other victims to flee, as in the Bosnian case of "ethnic cleansing." Rape is not only a ritual of degradation leading to genocide over generations but may be a means of inflicting death—as in Rwanda—combining sexual torture and killing, as well as spoiling or undermining the reproduction of the victim group. Rape and sexual brutality, often embedded in rituals of degradation, are

group identity is linked to 'purity'





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prevalent in modern genocides which can be typed retributive and gender- specific: Bangla Desh, Bosnia, Rwanda are best documented. In gender-specific genocides, men are more likely to be killed directly than women. The segre- gation of men from women and children preceding the Srebrenica massacre in 1994 is perhaps the first time this has been observed by the media and viewed internationally almost when it occurred. Although women are more likely to suffer sexual abuse than men during genocide, we must recognize from observations in Bosnia that men also suffer direct and indirect trauma from sexual victimization and torture. For our sense of identity—male and female—is based on its sexual embodiment and integrity, and its violation makes both women and men vulnerable. Sex is both an emblem of selfhood and a means for fertility and transgenerational existence, which renders us vulnerable to violation yet gives meaning to existence. Furthermore, in some instances the victims—parents and children—have been forced to violate each other and observe the violation of the other. Coerced and transgressive intercourse is a means of desecrating the norms of respect within the family, leading to mental torture and spiritual torment. This method—to degrade personal dignity and destroy self and family—may also lead to the disintegration, if not death, of families, and is thus also an indirect means of destroying a group. Total genocide—as was aimed for in the Holocaust and Rwanda (and almost accomplished in Europe, the Ottoman Empire, and Rwanda—and gender-neutral genocide (as in the Holocaust and in Kampuchea) are rare. Gender-specific genocides destroy millions of lives and maim, injure and traumatize more. Yet estimates of the dead from direct killing and genocide by attrition-deprivation of food and inflicting conditions leading to death from starvation and disease—do not take into account the injured. Victimization estimates should not be based solely on numbers killed and destroyed but must take into account the numbers tortured, raped, maimed and impaired. This is not just a methodological point for comparative studies. If there is to be a public accounting, trial, and restitution as well as punishment, one has to specify the acts to be redressed which require treatment or compensation. Further, the denial of systematic sexual victimization during genocide (some- times by genocide historians due to false modesty) confirms the isolation and demoralization of the victims, often enduring social death even when embedded in their communities. The future of genocide remains to be written unless states and peoples are convinced that it can be stopped. It is not enough to say "Never again" again, for it has happened again and again.

Notes and References

1. Lawrence H. Keeley, War Before Civilization (New York: Oxford University Press, 1996), pp 86-88, 175; Susan Brownmiller, Against Our Will: Men, Women and Rape (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1975), Ch 3; and Roger Smith, "Genocide and the politics of rape." Paper presented at the conference of the


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of Genocide

Scholars, College of William


Mary, Williamsburg, VA, June


2. Keeley, op cit, p 87.

3. Ruth Seifert, "War and rape: a preliminary analysis," in Alexandra Stiglmayer, ed., Mass Rape: The War Against Women in Bosnia-Herzegovina (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1994), pp 54-72.

4. Brownmiller, p 15.

5. Smith, op cit.

6. Human Rights Watch/Africa, Shattered Lives: Sexual Violence during the Rwandan Genocide and its Aftermath (New York: HRW, September 1996), pp 16-19; and Catharine A. MacKinnon, "Turning rape into pornography: postmodern genocide,": in Stigimayer, op cit, pp 75-77.

7. On the Holocaust and Cambodia, see Roger W. Smith, "Women and genocide: notes on an unwritten history," Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Winter 1994, pp 322-328; on Rwanda, see African Rights, Rwanda, Not So Innocent: When Women Become Killers (London: African Rights, August 1995).

8. R. J. Rummel, Death by Government (New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers, 1994); and Barbara Harff and Ted R. Gurr, "Towards empirical theory of genocides and politicides: identification and measurement of cases since 1945," International Studies Quarterly, Vol 37, No 3, 1988, pp 359-371.

9. Helen Fein, Genocide: A Sociological Perspective (London: Sage, 1993), p 24.

10. Ibid, pp 36-37 and 28-29.

11. Frank Chalk and Kurt Jonassohn, The History and Sociology of Genocide (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1990), pp 32-33.

12. Michael Freeman, "Genocide, civilization and modernity," British Journal of Sociology, June 1995, p 219, citing M. Mann, The Sources of Social Power (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986), pp 133, 135, 141, 151, 232, 234.

13. Letter from Roger Smith, March 10, 1995.

14. Freeman, p 219.

15. Chalk and Jonassohn, p 33.

16. Gunther W. Plaut, commentator, The Torah: A Modern Commentary (New York: Union of American Hebrew Congregations, 1981).

17. Chalk and Jonassohn, pp 58-61.

18. Roland De Vaux, Ancient Israel, Vol 1; Social Institutions (New York: McGraw Hill, 1965), p 86.

19. Ibid, p 31.

20. Plaut, p 1195 (commentary on Numbers 25: 1-18).

21. Ibid, p 1382.

22. Chalk and Jonassohn, pp 32-33.

23. Keeley, p 87.

24. Gerda Lerner, The Creation of Patriarchy (New York: Oxford University Press, 1986).

25. Orlando Patterson, Slavery and Social Death (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1982), pp 13, 39-45, 121.

26. "Genocide and the politics of rape," pp 4-5.

27. Patterson, p 132.

28. Ibid, p 354.

29. Orlando Patterson, Freedom: Vol 1 Freedom in the Making of Western Culture (New York: Basic Books,


30. Ibid, p 51.

31. Ibid, p 51.

32. Patterson, Slavery, pp 120-121.

33. These include the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (not a covenant) 1948; the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (1951); the Convention Concerning Abolition of Forced Labour (1959); the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (1969); the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1976); the Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid (1976); and the United Nations Convention Against Torture (1987).

34. R. J. Rummel, "Power kills: absolute power kills absolutely," Internet on the Holocaust and Genocide, Vol 38, June 1992, pp 1-12.

35. Chalk and Johnassohn, pp 230-231.

36. Millard Burr, A Working Document: Quantifying Genocide in the Southern Sudan (Washington, DC: US Committee for Refugees Issue Paper, October 1993) and telephone conversation with Burr, August 16,


37. African Rights, Facing Genocide: The Nuba of Sudan (London: African Rights, July 1995), pp 236-242; Hanna Papanek, "The ideal woman and the ideal society: control and autonomy in the construction of


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identity," in Valentine M. Moghadam, ed., Identity Politics and Women (Boulder: Westview Press, 1994), pp 64-68.

38. Helen Fein, Accounting for Genocide: National Responses and Jewish Victimization During the Holocaust (New York: Free Press, 1979), pp 8-10, 29-30.

39. Vahakn N. Dadrian, "The Armenian genocide in official Turkish records," Journal of Political and Military Sociology, Vol 22, No 1, Summer, 1994, pp 1-201.

40. Ibid, pp 184-186.

41. Fein, Accounting for Genocide, pp 15-16.

42. Donald E. Miller and Lorna Touryan Miller, Survivors: An Oral History of the Armenian Genocide (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1993), p 104.

43. Eliz Sanasarian, "Gender distinction in the genocidal process: a preliminary study of the Armenian case," Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Vol 4, No 4, 1989, p 453.

44. Dadrian, p 174.

45. Dadrian, p 159.

46. Jacob Katz, From Prejudice to Destruction: Anti-Semitism, 1700-1933 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1980), pp 245-318; George Mosse, Towards the Final Solution: A History of European Racism (New York: Fertig, 1978).

47. Henry Friedlander, The Origins of Nazi Genocide: From Euthanasia to the Final Solution (Chapel Hill:

University of North Carolina Press, 1995); Robert J. Lifton, The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide (New York: Basic Books, 1990); Benno Muller-Hill, Murderous Scienc:

Elimination by Scientific Selection of Jews, Gypsies, and Others in Germany, 1933-1945, George Fraser, trans. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1988); Marc Hillel and Clarissa Henry, Of Pure Blood, Eric Mossbacher, trans. (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1976).

48. Nathan Stoltzfus, "Dissent in Nazi Germany," The Atlantic, September 1992, pp 86-94.

49. Helen Fein, "Genocide by attrition, 1939-1993, the Warsaw Ghetto, Cambodia, and Sudan: links between human rights, health, and mass death," Health and Human Rights, Vol 2, No 2, 1997, pp 10-45.

50. Joan Ringelheim, in Carol Rittner and John K. Roth, eds, Different Voices: Women and the Holocaust (New York: Paragon House, 1993), Ch 26, pp 373-418, makes contradictory statements about gender selection (pp 373, 378, 391-392, 396-400) but in the end maintains there was greater victimization of Jewish women than of men, basing this on disparities in selections at one point in time in several ghettos and camps (using horizontal percentages of those selected rather than vertical percentages the victims constituted of their respective populations by gender): Lodz, Warsaw, Theresienstadt. However, based on the statistics which she cites [p 409] (drawn from L. Dobroszycki, The Chronicles of the Lodz Ghetto, 1941-44 [New Haven: Yale University Press, 1984]), we find that a greater percentage of Jewish men than Jewish women became victims (died in the ghetto and deported) during 1942: 47.3 percent of males and 44.6 percent of females became victims. Similarly, she asserts that more Jewish women than Jewish men were transported from Theresienstadt to Auschwitz (drawing statistics from H. G. Adler, Theresienstadt [Tubingen: J.C. Mohr-Paul Siebeck, 1960]); yet if we add up the number of males and females transported to Theresienstadt (1941-1944) and deported from there to Auschwitz (1942-1944), we find that 63.7 percent of males were deported, which exceeds the 59.6 percent of females deported. In Warsaw, she makes similar incorrect inferences from the data (pp 398 and not 55, 405), inferring that women were disproportionately vulnerable to selection: however, the data she cites (Table 2, n 55, p 405) show trivial differences: men constituted 42.7 percent of the population in Warsaw in 1942 and 41.3 percent of deportees while women constituted 57.3 percent of the population and 58.7 percent of deportees. Further, to get a comprehensive assessment of gender vulnerability to victimization, one would have had to add the numbers by gender who died from starvation, overcrowd- ing and conditions undermining public health, and forced labor—all policies imposed by the German occupier—and preliminary evidence which she cites (p 398) implies that men were more susceptible to such than women.

51. Yitzhak Arad, Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka: The Operation Reinhard Death Camps (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1987), pp 116-117, reports occasional incidents of sexual abuse; Brownmiller, pp 49-54, describes several incidents from which she draws the wrong conclusion as to a pattern of rape against' Jewish women (confounding incidents and patterns, behavior and policy and policies towards Jews and Slavs) re "the routine use of rape as a method of terror" (p 53). On liaisons, see Gertrude Schneider, "Riga Ghetto, 1941-1943," a dissertation submitted to the City University of New York for the PhD, 1973 (Ann Arbor, MI: University Microfilms, 1973).

52. Re German sanctions, see Raul Hilberg, Destruction of the European Jews, 1st edn (Chicago: Quadrangle, 1967), pp 28, 126, 127; and Destruction of the European Jews, 2nd edn (New York: Holmes & Meier, 1985), Vol 1, document 46, pp 190-191. Regarding Kovno, the US Holocaust Museum exhibit, "Hidden History of the Kovno Ghetto" (November 21, 1997-October 3, 1999), says that many women were raped


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in the initial 1941 pogroms by Lithuanians; see US Holocaust Museum, Hidden History of the Ghetto (New York: Little, Brown & Co., 1993).


53. Judith Isaacson, Seed of Sarah: Memoirs of a Survivor (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1990), reports rumors in Hungary in 1944 of rape of unmarried Jewish girls in German camps and constant fear of same (which did not occur in her experience in Auschwitz) but, ironically, no rumors of extermination.

54. Hilberg, 1985, Vol 2, p 775.

55. Smith, "Genocide and the politics of rape," p 4; Alison Owings, Frauen: German Women Recall the Third Reich (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1993), pp 146, 278, 405-406, 434, 447, 448, 465-466; and Albert M. De Zayas, Nemesis at Potsdam: The Expulsion of the Germans From the East, 3rd edn rev. (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1988), pp 65-67, 121-122; and Ruth Seifert, "War and rape,"

p 54.

56. Smith, "Women and genocide," p 323.

57. Telephone conversation with Ben Kieman (Director, Cambodian Genocide Project, Yale University), September 27, 1996.

58. Chanthou Boua, "Women in today's Cambodia," New Left Review, No 131, January-February 1982, p 45.

59. There is no way of reliably estimating how many women in Bosnia have been subject to how many acts of rape—and how many enforced pregnancies followed. A medical study by Shana Swiss and Joan E. Giller, "Rape as a crime of war," Journal of the American Medical Association, Vol 270, No 5, August 4, 1993, pp 612-615, basing projections on the excess of abortions over prewar levels divided by the likelihood of pregnancy resulting from unprotected intercourse, estimated that 11,900 women had been raped. This is a minimal estimate. There is no way of empirically documenting other estimates—estimates of Muslim women alone range from 20,000 (the European Community) to 30,000 or 50,000 (the Bosnian

government). It is not numbers but the pattern of organized and sanctioned rape that constitutes the crime.

60. United Nations Security Council, letter dated 24 May, 1994, from the Secretary-General to the President of the Security Council [accompanying Final Report of the Commission of Experts established pursuant to Security Council Resolution 780 (1992)] (New York: United Nations, S/1994/674, May 27, 1994). Or see M. Cherif Bassiouni and Marcia McCormick, Sexual Violence: An Invisible Weapon of War in the Former Yugoslavia (Chicago: Depaul University College of Law, International Human Rights Law Institute, 1996).

61. Anna Quindlen, "Gynocide," The New York Times, March 10, 1993, p A19; and Beverly Allen, Rave Warfare: The Hidden Genocide in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia (Minneapolis: University of Min- nesota Press, 1996), pp vii-viii and 138-139.

62. Allen, pp 88-92; and Susan Brownmiller, "Making female bodies the battlefield," in Stiglmayer, pp 180-182.

63. This is the report of Feryal Gharahi, a Muslim lawyer and board member of Equality Now, after a trip to Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina:

There are rape camps all over the country. Thousands of women are being raped and killed. Thousands of women are pregnant as a result of rape. Over and over again, everywhere I went in Bosnia-Herze- govina and in Croatian refugee camps, women told me stories of abomination—of being kept in a room, raped repeatedly and told they would be held until they gave birth to Serbian children. I heard stories of men being raped, of forced incest—fathers forced to rape daughters, brothers forced to rape sisters. There is a deliberate and systematic campaign being carried out by Serbian forces to destroy the sexuality, the family structure, the lives and the spirit of non-Serbian, and particularly Moslem people who live in Bosnia-Herzegovina. (Equality Now, 3/1/93)

64. Human Rights Watch/Africa, Shattered Lives: Sexual Violence during the Rwandan Genocide and its Aftermath (New York: HRW, September 1996); James McKinley Jr., "Legacy of Rwanda violence: the thousands bom of rape," The New York Times, September 23, 1996, p 1; Donatella Lorch, "Wave of rape adds new horror to Rwanda's trail of savagery," The New York Times, May 15, 1995, p A1.

65. The Special Rapporteur calculated this by applying the ratio of births to insemination (1:100)—see also

n 59—and noted that the high of 500,000 rapes by this method seemed excessive (reported in HRW, p 24.)

66. HRW, p 18.

67. James C. McKinley Jr., "UN tribunal convicts Rwandan of '94 genocide," The New York Times, September 3, 1998, p 1.

68. HRW, pp 35-36.

69. Anne Tiemey Goldstein, Recognizing Forced Impregnation as a War Crime Under International Law (New York: The Center for Reproductive Law & Policy, 1993); Patricia Viseur Sellers, "Gender, the Genocide Convention and the Tribunal on the former Yugoslavia," ISG Newsletter [Institute for the Study of Genocide], No 15, Fall, 1995, pp 1-3.


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70. Sellers, p 3.

71. Goldstein, passim.

72. HRW, p 2: "It is currently estimated that 70 percent of the population is female and that 50 percent of all households are headed by women." Since this includes Tutsi refugees returning from Uganda and Burundi, it may differ somewhat from the population of the survivors of the genocide.

73. Ibid, pp 73-75.

74. Papanek, p 46.