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Sex Under the Swastika

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In his latest book the author details sexual behaviour before, during and after World War Two, giving insight into everyday German's and their lives. It is refreshing to see that the act of sex is as old as time itself and behaviours of yesteryear are just the same as today.
The part of the book I found most interesting was about Hitler and his wife Eva. Often portrayed as a freak sexually, into all sorts of fetishes the book argues that Hitler was just like everyone else.
I did find occasionally the author expressed his opinions a little too eagerly.
An interesting read.
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A perfect book about the sex lives of the Nazis would be instantly able to convince you of the veracity of the contents, full of back-up support and information to prove the welter of truth in it.  This fails at that.

The first chapter is about the Weimar days, from the hedonism we all associate with it up until the pink triangle's prelude.  Much of it is one man boasting of being at a party that ended up a riot of drugs and sex, which (in this presentation) uses the term 'pegging', which must not have been common lingo so soon after WWI.  When it's not a direct quote the author's text goes right off on one, adding detail to the quote seemingly baselessly.  For both reasons – the thin ice of the memoir extract and what was done with it – I felt these were dubious contents.

Not helping matters at all is Chapter 4, which as I saw it in my proof was a lengthy reportage of being groomed by an SS 'Major', full of all the salacious content wrong minds would desire before giving the result any right mind could foresee.  The fact is however this comes with no editorialising, not even the name or derivation of this report, and so it comes on like the fiction it could so easily be.  Mind, Chapter 5 does it better, even with horrendous testimony of priestly paedophilia.  And that's where a problem definitely lies.  Not having had a history of reading first person accounts of sexual abuse, I had no intention to see all the intimate details here, which to my mind should remain between an abuser and his/her victim, and need not be here whatsoever.  Just because this body part touched this body part, and that went there and when, it remains specific and too intimate detail that has no bearing on it being under the Swastika flag at the time.  This is much more "I was raped while barely hitting puberty" and much less "this was solely, uniquely, a Hitlerite thing".

It's about this time the urge to ditch this hit me big time, the promises of the alleged truth of Hitler with Eva Braun etc having been mentioned but not at all forthcoming.  Instead of that it's dreadful, spunk-riddled misery memoir, and so little to do with one specific regime.  It's indeed a third of the way through before the book thinks to itemise the accusations of anything like a Nazi bigwig – even though all victim testimony must be admired, respected and considered appropriately at least, before this stage too much could be 'generic sufferer's issues', and not anything like enough is down to NSDAP membership or a particular thinking.

After that we have a much better book, although doubts remain.  In featuring small essays about the sexual life of the Hitler Youth organisations, or the appeal of the Nazi uniform, we're definitely hitting the marks we should have been hitting all along, but this remains material more suited it would seem for the sexologist shelf rather than for the student of Nazis.  The author has definitely written about the latter, but when the former, the sex historian, says what he says about back door sex eyebrows are raised again, and big time.

Towards the latter half we get individual sex profiles of the main Nazis, and other matter that rectify some of the flaws seen earlier, but not quite well enough.  

No, I don't know what I expected from this book, whether it be a sociologist's look into the bedroom or a forensic look at rumours regarding specific individuals, but I found it much too shy of what I would demand of a book concerning such tabloid-baiting material.  Two and a half stars.
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I absolutely loved this book. It hooked me and kept me turning pages until I was done. Finished it in two days! The character development was strong, and the premise was unique enough that it didn't feel like anything else I've read.
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OMG!  This book is so off the wall!  Not because the writer is nuts, but the subject matter is so ..... OK, so how many of us actually wondered about this subject?  I'm here to tell you that it wasn't something that I had thought of, but I'm so glad that I read this book.  It answers so many questions about life during that time period in history.  This book was interesting and I learned so much about this time and how it affected people that I never even thought to question.
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Even if there's a lot of research I found it a bit confusing and too much graphic details.
Not my cup of tea.
Many thanks to the publisher for this arc, all opinions are mine
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This is a detailed, gruesome look behind Hitler's public persona and what really went on behind closed doorsl 
It was amazing really to read about how many of Hitler's SS were involved in the occult and used their positions of power to execute their debauched fetishes, abusing the young women who were entrusted to them in the Reich's many programs. 
I couldn't believe how Hitler's regime portrayed and preached a good wholesome life and that was completely the opposite of what was being practised by the elite in the regime. The twisted fantasies that played out, takiing advantage of the young German women, the abuse that fell from their hands, the abuse of power that went on was astronomical in proportion to the actual wholesome living being done by the elite officers of the regime. 
What Hitler's regime proclaimed publicly, wholesome Aryan race, family, home life, and what really transpired were two very different worlds. One uplifting and happy, bright, the other dark, sinister and depraved, perverted. 
This is a very interesting look into the sex lives and practices of a very corrupt regime. 
Thank you to Pen & Sword History, and to Net Galley for the free ARC, I am leaving my honest review in return freelly.
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Tim Heath is the author of eight books. Sex Under the Swastika: Erotica, Scandal and the Occult in Hitler’s Third Reich will be released on 16 February. This is the 1st book I completed in 2023.

Opinions expressed here are unbiased and entirely my own! Due to mature language and mature situations, I categorize this book as R. The book begins by looking at the decadence during the days of the Weimar Republic. There were many nightclubs, particularly in Berlin. Around them swirled an atmosphere of drugs, alcohol, and sex. With the age of consent for women at just 16, many girls indulged in all three.

When the Nazis ascended to power in 1934, they tried to curtail the excesses. Many clubs were closed. Those who did not follow the Nazi family ideal were arrested as deviants, many being sent to the camps. The Nazis envisioned their youth to follow a healthy, athletic, family-oriented, and moral lifestyle.

Careers for women were frowned upon. Girls should marry early, often at 16 or 17. It was a moral duty for them to bear as many children as possible for the Third Reich. The government created the Cross of Honour of the German Mother to encourage this. A woman birthing four children earned the bronze medal, 6+ the silver, and the gold for eight or more.

The outdoors and exercise were integral parts of the Nazi-imposed BDM. Beginning with its creation in 1938 all girls aged 14 to 18 were required to be members. Nakedness was embraced as a form of naturism, nothing to be ashamed of, and perfectly natural. It was not uncommon for them to walk around the countryside or swim in the rivers and lakes naked.

Although a moral standard was held up as an example, many youngsters of both genders suffered sexual abuse. The threat of being called out as a Jew and sent to a camp enabled many predators to take advantage of young women. The list of abuses is long. In conquered areas military brothels known as ‘Joy Divisions’ were often established.

The Lebensborn program began in 1935. Aryan girls as young as 15 were encouraged to have sex with selected Aryan males. The plan was to increase the birth rate of Aryan children for the Reich. German girls were coached on the best sexual position to use to increase their chances of pregnancy.

I enjoyed the 10.5 hours I spent reading this 276-page WWII-era history. Much of the source material comes from interviews, letters, and journals. This is the third book by Tim Heath that I have read. The other two were Hitler’s Housewives: German Women on the Home Front and Resistance Heroines in Nazi- and Russian-Occupied Austria. They have all been enjoyable books on the history of WWII. While I knew some of the material discussed in the book, there was much that was new to me. The book includes several photos relevant to the story from the war period. I like the chosen cover art. I give this book a rating of 4 out of 5.

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<b>Note:</b> I received an advanced copy of this book from Pen & Sword via NetGalley.

Based on interviews, eye-witness accounts and using newly revealed material from the sons and daughters of former SS officers who were part of Adolf Hitler and Reinhard Heydrich’s personal staff, we learn about the sexual conduct, affairs, scandals and fetishes of some of Hitler’s most trusted advocates, who used their positions of trust to execute their warped fantasies.

It reveals how many leading Nazi’s were actively involved in occult rituals and sexual practices, and how the abuse suffered by many young men and women was only permissible through the filtering down from the highest echelons of the regime, which was prepared to turn a blind eye. Learn about the exotic sex and drug-fuelled private cocktail parties of the Nazi political elite that spread far and wide into the society over which it presided.

This was a well-researched and enlightening non-fiction work that was organized and flowed really well.  For some reason, I thought the author of this was a woman while I was reading it.  A dark chapter of world history made even darker in this little-known accounting of what took place.  This is a sad and hard read but one that I think people should be made aware about.
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An interesting novel regarding the use of sex and the sexual history of Nazi germany. The stories are informative and will hold your interest. The irony of how the government wanted the people to act compared to their behavior  is amazing. A great book.

Thank you to #NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.
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I’m pretty sure this is how I expected this book to be. I am a sponge for all things WW2 and Holocaust related right now so I figured I would read this one for perspective. I’m not sorry I read it, but it certainly was eye opening. 

I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book from NetGalley
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I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

A fascinating read of everyday people under Hitlers reign. I found the authors input unnecessary and quite often disruptive with his "non-judgmental" opinions. Some of the stories were quite repetitive , it just shows a side of Nazi Germany not often shown. The photographs of some of the people sharing their story a lovely addition.
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My thanks to both NetGalley and the publisher Pen & Sword Books for an advanced copy of this different kind of history book on life during the Third Reich. 

As I have gotten older it amazes me how much humans want to have control over other humans. The way they think, act, remember history, who they love, how they love, and of course medical procedures all seem to concern people far more than the observable problems, in society. William Burroughs said it best "You see, control can never be a means to any practical end...It can never be a means to anything but more control...", though I omitted the reference to heroin, it is an apt quote. Strong men, with stong government love to have control, and they attract those who are weak, but think they are strong, who need something to fill that gap in their life, be it power of government, church, or middle management. Tim Heath in his book Sex Under the Swastika: Erotica, Scandal and the Occult in Hitler's Third Reich shares the stories of those who lived, or knew those that lived in Germany during one of history's darkest time.

The book begins with live in Germany before and during the wars, a time where pretty much anything went, the rich lived a life of hedonism, and people were not judged as harshly for who they loved and how they loved. The book is broken into chapters that focus on different subjects, and not a chronology, but as the chapter goes on, so does either the repression, or in some cases, the abuses grow worse and worse. The roles of woman are examined from being considered the future of the Reich, but more considered brood mares to make more children, men to feed the war machine that the Reich was building. Also covered are occult areas, sexual abuse, spousal abuse and torture in concentration camps and forced prostitution. 

This is not an easy book to read. Most of these accounts are told to the author as parts of interviews dealing with other books, though some were tracked down for this book. Again this is rough reading, and though the author tries to keep it straight there is at least in some of these a bit of titillation in the presentation, which kind of makes some sections even more disturbing. I can't think of an action or a sin that the book does not cover, and really does make the Third Reich seem even worse than before. The casual aspect of some of the cases of sexual violence are really disturbing. I also with the book had more of a chronological setup there seemed to be a lot of jumping around, and time periods were sometimes hard to determine and follow.  Definitely not a book for all readers.
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Well if you thought that the Nazis couldn't get any worse, you where wrong. An informative look into a seldom looked into area of history.
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Thank you netgalley for this ARC. I am leaving an 100% honest review.

This book was a hard read. Not the subject  as I knew a book entirely Sex Under the Swastika was not going to be a consent filled story, but the writing. I did find reading the writers style easier after the first chapter which was good. 

The book is a dark look at how even set changed under Nazi rule. If you have any sort of sexual related trigger I would stay away. 

Lastly I thank Tim Heath for including sexual abuse within the marriage. The thought that a spouse cannot rape their partner is still Alive and well.
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I found this a little difficult to get into but that's a given with the context the book delves into. The book provides an insight with the help of witness accounts with multiple narratives and perspectives. 

I found the context into the time period interesting. The book might be a little difficult to read but does a good job of providing a voice to the stories.

Thanks Pen & Sword and NetGalley for this eArc in exchange of my honest review.
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I really enjoyed reading this book. It’s quite remarkable. A lot of time and effort went into it. It’s very well written. A lot of these books go over the same information. But this one was different
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This was just too harsh for me.  It was an interesting concept but quite harsh. I thank NetGalley and the publisher for the early read.
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The book starts with an description of the Berlin high society scene in 1910, which was fueled by champagne and cocaine.  The book quickly moves on to post-WWI, the Weimar Republic.  The author immediately launches into a description of the gay social scene at this time; gay men and women felt free enough to mingle in clubs that catered to the other, all avoiding clubs where heterosexuals mingled.  It was a wild time, a good time had by most:  I am left with the insecapable sense that the Nazis of the early 1920s were the incels of their time.  

Moving on to the Reich:  Morals were supposed to be spotless, and there was even a prohibition of girls under 16 having sex.  This was thought to drive young people to marry as soon as they could; with a hard push from the Reich for couples to have as many children as they could and a virtual prohibition of contraceptives for young married couples, this caused many to do as the Reich wanted.  There were medals given out for “motherhood,” which was a euphemism for having a litter of children for the Reich to use as “manpower,” or more likely cannon fodder.  There was widespread deep depression of women in the Reich having to get married and crank out child after child.  The husband was not expected to contribute anything to the household except a cash flow from a job and sperm.  Love was not in the picture; couples were to do their duty to the Fatherland.  It was GRIM.  This definitely gives the lie to the visuals of the surviving of old newsreels, of the shapeless, beaming women with vacant eyes and medals around their necks, happy to do their duty.

With the face of the Reich being so (falsely) moral and family oriented, there seems to have been a bonanza of pedophilia.  Many abusers hid behind connections in the Nazi party, and sadly many were a part of the organized religions.  Now WHICH religion(s) is a point of contention for me with the writing in this book.  The author uses many 1st hand accounts, which is good.  Why not go direct to the source?  BUT, in his narrative he refers to “the Protestant Church.”  Who exactly is he referring to, as I would like to know especially since the first-hand narratives refer generally to a “priest.”  Protestant religions usually do not have “priests,” they have ministers.  But does he mean Hitler’s state-run religion instead?  I am genuinely confused; and as there weren’t any explanatory footnotes or endnotes, I have to point this out as a real problem.  This takes the focus off of the abused and puts it on the mystery religion.  Also, the author states that the protestant religions aided the Nazis; which ones?  I have read specifically the opposite and with supporting sources as stated by other authors; this includes that the Lutheran Church refused to sign an accord with Hitler for the duration of the war.  Hitler relented and left them alone because of the sheer numbers of members in Germany, but that the Pope signed an accord right away.  So what this author is stating is the opposite of what I have read and reviewed for NetGalley in the past.  I just wish I could see the author’s sources!  

The author moves on to torture in the concentration camps now and later in the book, which I knew would be disturbing.  I thought there would be more ground covered here with how sadistic the Nazis were so I was surprised.  The author does cover forced prostitution using both prisoners and the young women of invaded countries.  This was done not only for the German soldiers but also those foreigners who joined their ranks.  Showing the great disregard the Nazis had for all women, they used female prisoners as prostitutes to reward male prisoners for good behavior.  They also forced young women to be prostitutes at the infamous “Salon Kitty” in Berlin which served top Nazis and foreign dignataries.

Also covered are the occult practices that seemed to always involve, you guessed it, sex with some drugged young woman.  About this time you should be realizing what a bunch of pervs they all were.  The “thousand-year shining Reich” my foot.

The author refers to the inner circle of the Third Reich and their philandering ways.  Notables include Reinhard Heydrich, Martin Bormann, Joseph Goebbels, and Hitler and Eva Braun. His discussion of them is somewhat scathing, but he makes a positive example (as far as sex obsession is concerned) of Hermann Goering.  Apparently he was the only non-womanizer in the bunch.  I would note in this section about the “Inner-Circle’s” sex lives that there is a listing of all of the people that Goebbels hated; it includes the word “coloured.”  I would suggest that this word be put in parenthesis or otherwise set apart as it is an antiquated and offensive term (and perhaps this is already planned for the final manuscript).  Also, there is a refernce to a jibe leveled at a young woman who was forced to be a prostitute, and that was that she had a  “sandpaper vagina.”  It only appeared once, not twice (as I recall), and thus was confusing.

The book has a section on the Lebensborn. Essentially you can sum up the program as starting out as a slush fund for SS officers and their wives for having children, which morphed into a program of deep deception and abuse of young girls.  Girls as young as 14, and many other unmarried teenagers were brainwashed into having babies and then giving them up to state-run orphanages.  The orphanages had rooms full of barely-cared for screaming infants, which sounds like the making of a James Bond villain.

Much to the amusement of the Allies, pornography was used as psychological warfare against them.  Or the Nazis tried at least, and there is a brief discussion of that.  

There is a section on the conscription of children as young as 13, including girls as helpers for the Luftwaffe.  I’m not sure how this is related to sex as a topic, but it does illustrate that the Nazis’ front of having only men fighting was just another lie, because when it got right down to it, they weren’t afraid to use women and children of both sexes.  

The inclusion of the Pipistrelle was bizarre at the beginning of the section on rape by the Red Army.  I and a lot of other people are very aware that rape was used as a tactic of conquest by the Soviet Army.  This is a section that should make you angry.

The last section about Nazi fetishism and the Afterword went on much longer than what I thought was interesting.  As far as fetishism is concerned, I really don’t care what some racist 21-year-old thinks about dressing up in Nazi uniforms to get attention.  Nothing says “serious political commentary” like prancing around in a costume that’s probably unbuttoned down to THERE.

I realize that the author has researched this topic for decades and has a lot to say, but it felt like he repeated himself in the Afterword.  All the same it is an interesting book that in a couple of places seemed to lack cohesion.  The topics were far-ranging with the nexus being “sex;” some descriptions were a bit cringeworthy.  Not for the squeamish.

Thank you to publisher Pen & Sword, author Tim Heath, and NetGalley for providing me with a pre-publication eGalley.  I received nothing for my review and my opinions are my own.
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Sex Under the Swastika by Tim Heath is almost more of a resource book than a history book (I'll explain what I mean in a moment), though it is an area which, while disturbing, needs to be brought to light.

I'll try to explain my distinction between a resource and a history book. A history book, for me, presents facts and even some suppositions and connects them through some kind of analysis. Even just presenting it as background to a regime or an event can count as a loose form of analysis. A resource is something that historians can reference (yes, history books can also be a reference, but generally they are referenced for their ideas and analysis, not as a source of information), from primary documents and commentary to, as often in this case, largely reliable but hearsay testimony from relatives and friends. This reads more like a resource than a history book with a coherent thesis. Well, other than just demonstrating the depths of Nazi perversity.

Having said all that, the book is still quite interesting. While many of the cases and incidents discussed aren't new, this offers some new perspectives on them. They also offer what for many may well be too much detail. I lean toward believing even horrible details need to be available, so I can live with the disturbing passages. Some readers may be better off reading the other books available on these atrocities as well as anything new that might come from historians using these interviews to do further research.

While I would recommend this to readers who can stomach horrific details, I would make sure everyone understands that no punches are pulled here. It is an uncomfortable read and isn't presenting new incidents, just new details, so unless this is a research area for you I might suggest other options to this.

Reviewed from a copy made available by the publisher via NetGalley.
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Thank you to the author, the publisher, and Netgalley for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Let me start by saying if you have triggers, DO NOT READ this book. It hit on so many. The abuse is very graphic. Everything is just very graphic. Well written and worth the read. It was almost too overwhelming but I'm glad I pushed through. I love how the author used both interviews and eyewitness accounts to show us some of the horrors under the Nazi regime.
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