‘Stalag Fiction was an Israeli genre of erotic pulp fiction that employed Nazi characters. These books, which were very popular in the early 1960s, had graphic scenes of domination, torture and sadism between female SS guards and Allied soldiers in German POW camps. The readership of these Stalags were primarily teenage boys, a majority of whom were the children of Holocaust survivors. These pulp fictions are an example of the international post-war cultural trend of presenting Nazism as intrinsically decadent. The introduction of the genre coincided with the 1961 trial of Adolf Eichmann in Jerusalem. …
‘The first Stalag was Stalag 13. All of the Stalag books were promoted as translated fiction written by pseudonymous authors with “American” names. A name of a fictitious translator–alongside banners such as “For the first time in Hebrew…”–is added for “authenticity.” But all authors were Israeli and wrote in Hebrew. Stalag 13 tells the tale of Mike Baden, British pilot held prisoner in a POW camp. One day the camp’s SS staff is replaced by “Two platoons of female SS storm troopers, wearing tight pants, shining boots, and vests from cloth that stretched across tall and upright breasts.” …
‘Ezra Narkis, the publisher of the first Stalags, had specialized in men’s magazines and porn pulp. He claims that Stalag 13 sold 70,000 copies. Another account says that producers of the TV show Hogan’s Heroes heard about the book’s success during a visit to Israel and decided to adapt it. The show also took place in Stalag 13. There were about 80 titles of Stalags in all, beginning in 1961 with one title published in 1965. …
‘A common plot device is a dominatrix in charge of a unit of female SS guards. Some were adapted from real life SS women such as Ilse Koch (the “Bitch of Buchenwald”) and Irma Grese (the “Beautiful Beast”) of Auschwitz. The brutality of these Nazi female characters has a price. In Stalag of Leaches, the dominatrix is tossed into a pit of leaches, while in Stalag 217 the female in charge is strangled by her ex-lover. Every Stalag ends with “settling the score.” …
‘Both the books of Ka-Tzetnik 135633 (House of Dolls and others) and the Stalags have had a lasting effect upon Israeli society. According to Israeli filmmaker Ari Libsker, whose 60-minute documentary Stalags: Holocaust and Pornography in Israel was released in 2008, it is a similar blend of “horror, sadism and pornography” that perpetuates the memory of the Holocaust throughout the Israeli consciousness into the 21st century.’ — Eric Brothers, Suite 101
‘Many Americans have never heard about the Stalag fiction phenomenon; Ari Libsker‘s short but valuable documentary, simply titled Stalags, makes for a troubling, though thoughtful, introduction. Stalags constituted a genre of cheap exploitation novels that briefly thrived in Israel in the early Sixties during the period of the Adolf Eichmann trial, when the atrocities of the Holocaust were initially and tentatively broached in the public sphere. Stalags usually stuck to the same tried and true formula, pawning themselves off as translations of memoirs by American or British soldiers who had been imprisoned during World War II by the Nazis and subjected to sexual humiliation and violence by SS she-devils. In the end the soldier gets to turn the tables by raping and killing his inhuman torturers.’ — Michael Rowin
ON THE MEDIA: How do you think these books contribute to the young generation of the ’60s’ idea of what went on during the Holocaust?
ARI LIBSKER: First of all, at that time, we didn’t have information about what was happening. We had only read Anne Frank. And Anne Frank’s diary stops in the moment that the Nazis take her to the camp. And most of the parents, they were ashamed. And there was only one man who gave the information to the Israeli people. It was Ka-Tzetnik. He was the first Holocaust writer in the world. He was before Elie Wiesel. He was before Primo Levi. He published his first book in ’46.
OTM: His books were actually the precursors of these Stalag pulp novels.
AL: He was “Mr. Holocaust” of Israel, and his books were considered to be holy books. But when you analyze his way of writing, you realize that his book was completely pornography. House of Dolls talked about a pleasure block within Auschwitz, which was populated with Jewish girl prisoners who were there to serve the guards.
OTM: Sex and Nazism, a very potent combination.
AL: Yes. It’s easy to criticize low culture, but it’s hard to criticize a person that is considered to be high literature. Ka-Tzetnik made more damage than the Stalags because, if you were a child and you read the Stalags like two times, five times, you understood it was pornography. But they did not understand that Ka-Tzetnik was a pornographer too.
OTM: So the kids, the teenagers who read House of Dolls and the Stalags in their formative years, in the early ’60s, they’re now in their late fifties and early sixties themselves.
AL: Yes. They are the generation that controls Israel now. This is the age of Ehud Barak, the age of Ehud Olmert and the age of Binyamin Netanyahu.
OTM: And yet, House of Dolls continues to be taught in the curriculum, have been taught in the curriculum since 1992. Why?
AL: I don’t have any answer to this. To get more attention from the young generation, they’re given the hard core of death, violence, and, in the case of Ka-Tzetnik, sex. I think that we still deal with the Holocaust in a pornographic way. It’s the way that we repeat the horror again and again.
Stalag fiction @ Wikipedia
‘Stalags’ @ Nazimedia
‘Horniness Meets Horror’ @ Village Voice
‘Israel’s Nazi-porn Problem’ @ Salon
‘Holocaust Porn’ @ NYPress
Ka-Tzetnik Profile @ Jewish Resistance
‘Ka-tzetnik’s Use of Paradox’
Book: ‘Stalag Fiction: Nazi Exploitation, The Holocaust, Sadomasochism’
Film: Ari Libsker ‘Stalags’ (2008)
‘The first ‘Stalag’ was not a Stalag, but was instrumental in bringing the short-lived genre to life. The pseudonymous author Ka-Tzetnik 135633 — concentration camp slang for “prisoner,” and his Auschwitz number — published his book House of Dolls in 1953. It was the first Israeli book to confront the Holocaust, a diary of a sexually abused 14-year-old Jewish girl who was forced to be a prostitute in Auschwitz. The girl was the author’s sister, who was put to work in the brothel of Block 24 in the notorious death camp.
‘House of Dolls is essentially the Israeli equivalent to The Diary of Anne Frank in the United States and Elie Wiesel’s Night in Western Europe. Ka-Tzetnik 135633 became Israel’s official literary witness to the Holocaust, similar to the role Elie Wiesel has in Europe and America. House of Dolls is required reading in the Israeli school curriculum, and gives students their first exposure to the Holocaust. But there is a problem. Considered a Holocaust classic for many years, scholars now consider House of Dolls to be pornography and made up.’ — Sandra Williams
Here, in the rose-tinted blocks, there was no flogging. Here they kept close watch over the girls’ bodies to keep them whole, undamaged. Here, when a girl was flogged she was not permitted to return to the Joy Division. She was immediately tossed on the van and- Off to the crematorium!
Here every girl got a new outfit. Every week- clean underwear. Compared to the food in the Labor Division it really was paradise here, as Renya Zeidner had said. But the girls who lapsed into sin in this paradise received a “report.” Just a “report.” Sinners with three such “reports” were led out, usually with teh arrival of a new transport, to the Execution Square, where Elsa, the Master-Kalefactress, cleansed the sin out of their bodies. Sin Purgation it was called. Upon which the purgated bodies were tossed on the van: Let the other maidens of paradise behold and beware of sin.
Here, every day, at two o’clock, German soldiers, on their way to the Russian front, came from the nearby transit depots to entertain themselves with the girls of the Doll House. The girls had to put their all into the satisfaction of their esteemed guests. If such a guest was not satisfied with the “enjoyment,” he had only to report it, on leaving, in the orderly room and give the girl’s breast number. After three such “reports” the girl was automatically doomed: She hadn’t duly appreciated the great honor bestowed upon her; she had made light of the honor of a German warrior!
There is not a sound in the block. The girls sit, each on her bed, legs propped on the floor. Fifty beds, in two single files, with fifty girls seated backs to each other. No one had decreed this seating arrangement. They seem to be sitting this way deliberately, so their glances should not meet. Fear is contagious. Soon they will be called upon to smile. The smile is not optional. The smile attests to the girl’s attitude to Enjoyment. Her life depends on the smile. Soon they will be called upon to be happy.
There is not a sound in the block.
For a while yet they are permitted to commune with fear, with this thing about to take place here. Now they are still permitted to feel the horror of what awaits them. And they abandon themselves to the opean arms of fear, which any moment will have to give way to the Germans. Soon their faces will wear smiles. The noble German guest hasn’t come here to look at sad eyes. He has come to Enjoy! To get his bucketful of joy! That clear to the Doll? If not, he’ll make it clear to her! First of all, let’s have the number! He wants a copy of th enumber in his pocket. Just for the heck of it. Afterwards, when he passes by the orderly room, he’ll think it over. But just now, with her brand number already jotted down in his pocket, let the Doll be so good as to love him up! The way he likes it! With gusto! Gay does it! He wants to get his fill of her just the way he washes down a mug of Prussian bear, white foam and all.
Outside, the gong booms-
There is not a sound in the block. Fifty girls- as if they had nothing to say to each other. Fifty beds- like ffity stools arrayed on the Execution Square before the naked bodies are strapped to them.
Outside, German voices are approaching. Elsa is screeching final orders to the kalefactresses, drowning out the Germans’ ribaldry. Maybe that will help draw their attention and serve them notice just who and what she is here. Even Yaga lingers on the square in front of the blocks. They hustle and bustle and shout outside like stage directors before curtain time on opening night. Any moment now the block gate will open, and the Germans will come in.
Fifty beds- like fifty before the firing squad, standing motionless in a straight row, staring into the gun muzzles, waiting for the bullet to pierce the heart-silent. They have nothing to say to each other.
Every day. At exactly two o’clock.
At Daniella’s bed, the German hangs his jacket in the closet. In the adjacent bed, the girl looks right into the German’s eyes. She smiles- but her smile weeps, as though she had drawn it out of a jar of tears where it had been soaking. The girl’s eyes rake through the German’s countenance, trying to divine as by face-reading: What does this face have in store for her today? Is there a human spark hidden behind it? She searches for the spark. She wants so to find it, hold on to it, reach out a hand to it like a drowner. Her life is now in his hands. She now belongs to him, all of her. He will express his opinion about her. His opinion- an irrevocable verdict. Will he sate himself, like the beast gorging down its prey, grunting and going on its way, or will he let her have a “report” just for kicks, so as not to miss out on this extra pleasure?
In a nearby bed, the German gets up, makes ready to leave. The girl’s arms, white and naked, cling to him. Her face twists into a smile as her lips whisper, “Please sir, was the gentleman satisfied?”
The German shoves her away, spits, walks off. The girl sits there, her naked white arms hanging spiritlessly from her knees. She looks to him. He is going away, carrying in his pocket the fate of her polluted life. The Execution Square looms before her eyes. She looks, looks. The German is already gone, and she is still looking to him-
Suddenly, he felt an awful pain around his eyes. From every limb of his body, from his skin, from the roots of his hair, the pain converged upon his eyes and all started beseeching him:
“A tear- a tear- please, just one…”
He rolled off the white sheet. The searing pain around the eyes grew more agonizing, more excruciating. A roaring blaze. The pupils of his eyes flared up like two seething volcanoes, and the pain erupted and streamed into his every bone. He dragged himself to the table, let himself into the Mussulman seat. Queer sounds started escaping from his throat. The weird cheeping of an ailing bird. His arms reached out to the empty chair opposite.
“A tear- Please, only one- just one…”
He lifted his gnarled, calcified hands and pointed to his eyelids: There….he…he feels something there, something he’s never felt before…He twittered and breathed his plea to the empty chair:
Hippocrates of Concentration Camp Universe! Prescribe this patient his cure!
‘Nazi She Wolf Beauties of The SS’ (trailer)
‘Werewolf Women of the S S’ (trailer)
‘The Dolls of Fuhrer’
Watch it here
‘Nazi Love Camp 27’ (excerpt)
‘Gestapo’s Last Orgy’ (Trailer)
‘The Beast in Heat’ (entirety)
‘SS Experiment Love Camp’ (Trailer)
Fräulein Kitty (Excerpts)
p.s. Hey. ** Misanthrope, Hi. The hacking thing is still happening full force, and it’s starting to effect the blog and making it quite sluggish and difficult to work with, and it’s driving me a bit nuts. The lack of exposition or backstory in ‘WfD’ is beautiful and way, way up my alley, obviously. I hope your mom’s health upswing is still the law of the land. ** Dominick, Hi, D! Yes, the hacking thing is super stressful, and, like I told Misanthrope, even though whoever hasn’t been successful in getting inside, it’s making the blog very slow and very hard to navigate. I’m starting to wonder if it’s ever going to stop. Urgh, anyway … I’ll see if I can see ‘It’s a Sin’ on one of my (whispering) illegal sites. Ha ha. Love as huge and impossible and stupid as hippies used to hallucinate about on acid, G. ** David Ehrenstein, My email box has been invaded by hundreds and hundreds of WordPress hacking notification emails with more arriving every minute, and it’s a big mess in there, but I’ll go try to find your email once I’m done here. Tom Wolfe wasn’t a hack back when he wrote his first couple of books, and the proof is in their pudding. ** _Black_Acrylic, Hi. I don’t know if you remember when Gisele and I co-curated that big exhibition and series of performances at the Pompidou called ‘Teenage Hallucination’, but we showed two of Bartlett’s dolls in it, and they’re really small in person, and, yes, very weird. Great, congrats on the transfer! Very happy to hear it! Here’s hoping it’s as homey as possible for as short a stint as possible. ** Bill, Hi, B. Yep. Oh, I have to go check what Carrington story it is. I haven’t looked yet. Hold on. It’s ‘The Debutante’. I recommend the book club type thing or something like it. It’s great fun both when talking writing and just shooting the surrounding shit generally. ** Jack Skelley, How many times have people refereed you as Jack Skeletor? Well, add me to the supposed hordes. Amazing that you could read on acid. Don’t think I ever managed that. Wrote on acid, although ‘wrote’ is being really kind to what I incoherently spewed through a Bic pen or whatever. Happy you liked ‘Alone’. Yeah, Mr. Moore knows how to getcha. Hugs, punk! ** Steve Erickson, It’s true, watching that Britney doc, it’s amazing how intensely things have changed since the days not actually very long ago when she was assaulted by the media unchecked. I like Eilish, but I think I’d need to hear the doc is something special to watch it. Curved Air, yes. I, like I think everybody back then, bought their first album, which I think was ‘Air Conditioning’ because it was one of the first LPS to be released only on picture disc. I hardly remember it other than thinking it wasn’t anywhere as exciting as the picture disc novelty aspect. Vague memories of thinking they were something kind of like if It’s A Beautiful Day had heard a Henry Cow album and tried to catch up or something. Maybe I’ll dip back in. ** Brian O’Connell, Hi, Brian. Strange dude, cool stuff, beautiful and weirdly fixated and kind of great, yeah. For me, the editing is where you make the film. Granted, after carefully doing the shooting and, of course, the casting and so on. But I feel the same way about writing fiction. When I’m writing I’m mostly thinking ‘hurry up so I can get to the editing’. Curious. I agree, Bogarde in ‘DiV’ is one of the great performances. Back in the day when I was young and naive and whatever enough to care what won the Oscars, I remember being completely outraged that neither he got nominated for best actor for ‘DiV’ nor did Malcolm McDowell get nominated for ‘A Clockwork Orange’. Those overlooks still seem outrageous even now when I don’t give a shit about the Oscars. Carrington’s prose is terrific, and will do about the Andersson. The next book club isn’t for a week and a half, but I’ll remember. I get you on Cassavetes. Me too, really. I admire his films, but I’ve never felt passionate about them like so many do. I’m more in the formalist/style camp, for sure. Or a perfect mix of form vs. naturalist like, oh, James Benning. It’s always interesting when one doesn’t love the films of a filmmmaker when pretty much everyone you know and respect loves them. For me, Tarkovsky is an example. I get why people love his films, but they don’t do anything for me and kind of irritate me if anything. Your scrawl was lovely and not remotely a scrawl, my friend. I hope Wednesday finds you to be an upbeat soulmate. ** John Newton, Hi, John. My pleasure. Ah, editing poems, nice. That sounds exciting. Take care. ** Right. Today I thought I would resurrect this old post about a most curious … literary (?) phenomenon of the past. Interested? See you tomorrow.