Children of the Enemy Project



Children of the Enemy”: Narrative Constructions of Identity Following Wartime Rape and Transgenerational Trauma in Post-WWII Germany and Post-Conflict  Bosnia

Principal investigator: Agatha Schwartz (University of Ottawa); co-investigators Mythili Rajiva (University of Ottawa), Christabelle Sethna (University of Ottawa), and Tatjana Takseva (St. Mary’s University)

Funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC)

For details, please see the About page.

8 thoughts on “Children of the Enemy Project”

  1. When I was young, I thought, I am the only one.
    Now I am old and know there are millions like me.
    Many of us died before we were born.
    Many of us missed the love of a mother.
    Many of us survived.
    Many of us kept the secret.
    Some of us unchained our closed lips, talked to the world and were given peace within ourselves.
    Talking gave us our freedom back.
    My father:    unknown Soviet soldier
    Mother:        German widow, husband died in Russia 1942, was raped 1945
    I:                     closed lips for more than six decades and started talking about the dark secret of my life. I gave history my voice – with thanks.
     WYN Germany


      1. Even though speaking and writing about your experience won’t replace the father you never had, Ulrich, I hope that it gives you some relief to know that there are others like you and that there are people who listen to your story.


  2. Ich gehe gern auf Friedhöfen spazieren, sehe mir Fürstengräber in Kathedralen an, wandere über Steinzeitgräber. Menschen, die dort überall in der Erde ruhen, haben vielleicht noch einen Namen, ihre Geschichte ruht oft woanders, sie sind tot und vergessen.
    Meine Lippen waren lange verschlossen und es war zu Beginn mühsam sie zu öffnen, Tränen standen in den Augen, wenn die Erinnerung kam.
    Nach der Befreiung sprudelten die Worte heraus und ich erlebte das Wunder, die eigenen Fesseln abzulegen.
    Ich rede über meine Geschichte, will nicht im Rampenlicht stehen. Aber in einem Buch möchte ich sein, nicht namen- und geschichtslos in einem Grab enden.
    Geschrieben für die vergewaltigte Frau, für das ausgetragene Kind, für die schweigenden Opfer sexueller Gewalt – Sprich. Wenn du erst zu Asche geworden sein wirst, ist deine verschwiegene Botschaft auch tot.
    Winfried Behlau, entstanden aus einer Vergewaltigung. Erst nachdem ich offen war, konnte man mir sagen: „Wie schön, dass du da bist.“


  3. I believe that it is important for the voices of the most vulnerable to be heard, even many years later. I have 2 family members who experienced rape during WWII. Their stories were never told until most recently. All of these years, they suffered in silence. They endured physical and emotional trauma. I wanted to speak up for them. It has been more than 70 years since the war ended, and many who suffered sexual violence are no longer with us. It is important for me to tell their story.


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