- “Es gab Schlimmeres als den Tod.”*
[Death is not the worst.]
My proposed paper deals with a much-neglected topic, namely mass rapes committed by the Red Army in the spring of 1945 in the Austrian province of Styria. For the purpose of this study, a war diary of an unidentified woman and mother has been selected as pars pro toto for a microhistorical approach. It is a rare document, discovered in the local archive in Graz, the Styrian capital, and gives evidence of numerous rapes committed by Russian soldiers. By relating this individual text to a wider discourse about military or paramilitary crimes against humanity, post-conflict trauma, and refugeedom, this contribution endeavours to shed a first light on ego-narratives by female voices that are, typically, not on the historiographic radar. The analysis does not simply include EIRENE’s second work package about ‘(political) violence,’ but also involves aspects of the fourth research objective, namely ‘family’ that has been covered by an EIRENE workshop yet.
* “Aus dem Kriegstagebuch einer oststeirischen Frau und Mutter” [From the war diary of an east-Styrian woman and mother], Steiermärkisches Landesarchiv [Styrian province archive], Sondersammlungen [special collections], Sammlung 20. Jahrhundert [collection 20th century], Erlebnisberichte der Jahre 1944–45 Oststeiermark [experience reports of the years 1944–45 eastern Styria], box 43, p. 14. All translations from German to English by the author
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dagmar is part of the EIRENE team and earned her DPhil in History from the University of Oxford, where she was a Postdoctoral and, subsequently, an Associate Fellow at the Rothermere American Institute. With an additional PhD in American Studies, she has also worked as a university lecturer for literature, culture, post-colonial, and gender studies in Austria for several years. Her most recent publication with regard to gender and trauma is an article about women patients’ files of the psychiatric ward (i.e. WP2 b) in Klagenfurt/Celovec after both World Wars: GEB – The madwoman in the cellar: trauma and gender after both World Wars: a field study of psychiatric files – Wernitznig, Dagmar (uni-giessen.de)