Added: April 25, 2015 – Last updated: April 25, 2015


Author: Jessica R. Anderson Hughes

Title: Forced Prostitution

Subtitle: The Competing and Contested Uses of the Concentration Camp Brothel

Thesis: Ph.D. Thesis, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Year: May 2011

Pages: x + 299pp.

OCLC Number: 752368554 – Find a Library: WorldCat

Language: English

Keywords: 20th Century | Austrian History, German History | Types: Forced Prostitution


Link: ProQuest (Restricted Access)

Link: RUcore: Rutgers University Community Repository (Free Access)


Abstract: »This dissertation enhances and complicates the history of Nazi racial and sexual policies by examining the quotidian politics of ten brothels staffed by and for prisoners that operated in concentration camps in Germany and its occupied territories. Instituted in 1941 under the command of Heinrich Himmler with the goal of providing rewards for diligent labor among “prominent” male camp prisoners, the brothels constituted a unique space in which competing Nazi ideologies of race, power, and sex collided. This dissertation not only explores how the brothels functioned as part of a Nazi-inspired labor incentive program for “prominent” prisoners, but also reveals their unannounced functions, such as serving as laboratories of sexual experimentation for the “reeducation” of homosexual prisoners. It shows too how prisoners instrumentalized sex and sexuality to their advantage. Although the majority of women and some men could not choose their level of participation in the brothel, in many instances they were able to use their time in the brothel to their advantage. For some female prisoners forced into prostitution and for male prisoners earning the privilege of brothel visits, sexual activity inside the brothel provided brief moments of intimacy within the dehumanizing atmosphere of the camps. Sexual activity behind the brothel doors thus became a reaffirmation of humanity for certain prisoners and a pivotal element of their survival strategy. This history of the brothels makes three crucial interventions. The first is a reconceptualization of the choices made by women forced into prostitution by problematizing concepts like “volunteerism” and “prostitute” in this setting, this study makes plain the circumstances surrounding the agency of these women. The second is to complicate and add to the literature on the “gray zone” and notions of “cooperation” under Nazi rule. The third is to provide a nuanced, detailed analysis of the functioning of sex, race, and power in Nazi Germany. This research transforms and adds to our understanding of the role of sex in Nazi policy. Despite the regime’s desire to harness sexuality, it proved that even in a closely controlled atmosphere, to be beyond the state’s control.« (Source: Thesis)


  Abstract (p. ii)
  Acknowledgments (p. iv)
  Dedication (p. vi)
  List of Tables (p. ix)
  List of Illustrations (p. x)
  Introduction (p. 1)
    Historiography (p. 7)
    Methodology (p. 12)
    Forced Prostitution: The Competing and Contested Uses of the Concentration Camp Brothel (p. 18)
  Chapter One. Scourge or Necessity? The Evolution of Nazi Prostitution Policy (p. 23)
    German Prostitution Policy: Fin de Siècle to Nazi Takeover (p. 25)
    Regulating Prostitution: State-Sponsored Brothels in Nazi Germany (p. 35)
    Prisoners' Brothels in the Concentration Camps (p. 46)
    Concentration Camp Brothels (p. 65)
      I. Mauthausen (p. 66)
      II. Gusen (p. 69)
      III. Flossenbürg (p. 70)
      IV. Buchenwald (p. 71)
      V. Dachau (p. 73)
      VI. Sachsenhausen (p. 74)
      VII. Neuengamme (p. 76)
      VIII. Mittelbau-Dora (p. 77)
      IX. Auschwitz (p. 79)
      X. Monowitz (p. 81)
    Conclusion (p. 82)
  Chapter Two. Soliciting “Cooperation:” Recruiting the Camp Brothel Workforce (p. 91)
    Reordering Space and Time (p. 95)
    Daily Life in Ravensbrück (p. 103)
    SS Practices of Soliciting Cooperation (p. 109)
    Recruiting in Ravensbrück (p. 119)
    Conclusion (p. 131)
  Chapter Three. Life in the Brothel (p. 133)
    Living and Working in the Brothels (p. 137)
    Case Study: The Dachau Brothel (p. 148)
    Case Study: The Buchenwald Brothel (p. 153)
    On the Job Risks: Venereal Disease and Pregnancy (p. 161)
    Post-Brothel: Where next? (p. 166)
    The Brothel Women: A Closer Look (p. 171)
    The Stigmatization of the Brothel Women (p. 180)
    Conclusion (p. 187)
  Chapter Four. Prisoner Johns: The Eager, the Reluctant, the Curious, and the Forced (p. 190)
    Prisoner Society in the Concentration Camps: An Imposed Hierarchy (p. 192)
    The Male Patron's Process (p. 203)
    The Business of the Buchenwald and Dachau Brothels (p. 207)
    The Mauthausen Brothel: August 1942 (p. 211)
    Willing Visitors (p. 215)
    The Unwilling visitors (p. 226)
    Conclusion (p. 229)
  Chapter Five. Instrumental Sex in the Concentration Camp Universe (p. 231)
    Coupling in the Camp (p. 237)
    Pragmatic Relationships (p. 249)
    Simply Business? Relationships in the Brothel (p. 260)
    Conclusion (p. 268)
  Conclusion (p. 270)
    Epilogue (p. 273)
  Bibliography (p. 277)
    Archival and Periodical Collections (p. 277)
    Published Primary Sources (p. 279)
    Secondary Sources (p. 280)
  Curriculum Vitae (p. 299)

Wikipedia: Forced prostitution: German camp brothels in World War II