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The blog of author Dennis Cooper

Stalag Fiction Day *

* (restored)
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‘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.

Download the film gratis here

 

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

Excerpt:

Joy Division.

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!

*

Enjoyment Duty.

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-

Two o’clock.

It’s time.

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.

[…]

Enjoyment Duty.

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-

Was he?…

*

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:

“…tear…only….only one…”

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)
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*

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.


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12 Comments

  1. Dennis, Wow, I don’t remember this day. So fucking interesting on so many levels. Eek.

    Yeah, I finished WfD? last night. Man, the last couple pages were…different. But I’m getting it and I see why. People kinda finally let their guards down and let loose a bit. It’s in keeping with the rest of the novel, actually. It was slowly happening and then BAM!

    So…my mom’s doc called yesterday to see how she was. My mom was like, oh, thought you were calling about the urinalysis you had me take. Urinalysis, huh? The nurse checked. It’s a UTI and a stap infection, with blood in the urine. The antibiotic she’s on is ineffective against this. The hospital was supposed to call to change her meds if such was the case. They never did. So my mom’s doc has put her on an appropriate, effective antibiotic now.

    Fucking David woke me up at 6 a.m. this morning. Ugh. The smell of weed was so strong, I thought the house was burning down at first. He’s just going about his business as if it’s the middle of the day. Friend popped in at 6:45. Wtf?

    Man, that blog hacking has got to stop. I’m sorry you’re going through that. Fucking annoying. What’s wrong with people? And who the fuck is actually behind it?

  2. Hi!!

    Fucking hell… I really don’t know what to say at this point. I’ve never heard about such a persistent hacking attempt. I fully believe that it’s absolutely maddening.

    Let me know what you think of “It’s a Sin” if you end up watching it!

    Haha, now it’s you who did it: I just talked about hippies and their hallucinations with Anita the other day! Love doing 100 squats every time you get one of those horrid emails and becoming fit as hell in a matter of days, Od.

  3. David Ehrenstein

    March 3, 2021 at 3:00 pm

    All thefilms of “Le Rero” relate to Stalag Fiction, most particularly “The Night Porter”

    I’ve never found Tom Waite to be a hack.I adore him.”Good luck with your e-mail. I sent you my pitch letter for “Raised By Hand Puppets” which I hope you’ll pas on to appropriate arties.

  4. Yes this Chapel Allerton Hospital is a definite cut above the LGI, the equivalent of a luxury hotel among medical facilities. Not totally sure about internet connectivity here but the blog is accessible this afternoon and I’ll just take each day as it comes.

  5. Sorry to hear about the continuing hacking notifications, Dennis.

    This Stalag thing looks hilarious. Doubt that it’s my thing though.

    Hope the book club zoom goes well. Let me check on The Debutante, hmm.

    By the way, I believe bandcamp Fridays continues this week, in case you have a shopping list to work on.

    Bill

  6. So fucking bizarre and weird. This came out of Israel? Mind=blown. WTF?!?! Hopefully the blog attack has stopped or something. >___>

    Just dropping by to say hi. Hope all is well. <3

  7. I just want to add an official “wow” to today’s blog. It’s fascinating. Oh, and yes, I hope a quick death to whoever is trying to hack into your world.

  8. Dennis Flew the Coop. HaHa. Honestly that’s the first Skelletor nickname received! I get Jack Skellington all the time of course. Like at the teller’s window even. Hey, I’d read your ballpoint acid shit any day! You’re likely tired of talking about the hack, but all our mass sympathies. There’s not quite another helplessly angsty vulnerable feels as that. And you’re feeling it times mulitples. And the Führersploitation!! I’m there for it. And for all your other commenters: Steve Erickson’s music takes, for instance. Hugs rebound.

  9. I hope the hackers have given up but I fear they’ve set up an automated attack that they’re not willing to shut down.

    It’s easy to look back at the way Janet Jackson, Monica Lewinsky, Britney Spears, etc. were treated in the 2000s and say “boy, the media (and plenty of individuals outside it) fucked up.” But there’s still an appetite for black-and-white moral crusades, as long as you believe you’re punching up (and many of Spears’ detractors believed they were fighting sexism by attacking her.) A case like Amber Heard and Johnny Depp’s marriage, which appears to have been a mutually abusive union of 2 very fucked-up people, is much harder to parse into heroes and villains.

    I think I mentioned this the first time you posted this Day, but the documentary STALAGS claims that “joy divisions” never existed in real concentration camps and that the concept was invented by Israeli softcore porn.

  10. This is fascinating, Dennis. And puts Hogan’s Heroes in a whole new light. Especially thinking about Bob Crane’s predilections. It’s all connected, somehow. Sorry about the hacking shit. Why are people the worst? Hang in there. The blog means so much to so many people. Love, B

  11. Thanks Dennis, I will let you know when they are finished. I have heard of Stalag fiction from the band Joy Division of course. I have not read any. I watched Ilsa She Wolf of the SS in college but I liked films by John Waters, Russ Meyer, and Noir films more. I tried reading, writing, and playing chess and other games on LSD and mushrooms. It was not really possible at super high/high doses. Caffeine which is the only thing I use now is better suited for reading, writing/editing, and playing games. I used to drink 1.5-2.0 liters of yerba mate, or this much coffee daily, along with plenty of water, but I switched to green tea and black tea as it does not disrupt sleeping, and does not seem to last as long as either yerba mate or coffee/espresso do for me. I ordered copies of your collection of short stories from the 1990s titled wrong, userland which you edited, as well as the marbled swarm. Here in Philadelphia the USPS is super slow, and it was not like this before COVID.

  12. Brian O’Connell

    March 4, 2021 at 4:57 am

    Hey, Dennis,

    This is so endlessly interesting to me. A substantive part of my free time is spent reading analyses of this sort of thing. What is it about the Holocaust, and about Nazism/fascism and atrocity more generally, that excites the culture’s pornographic imagination? There was (of course) nothing sexy about the reality, not even in a perverse or decadent way. And yet an eroticized vision of Nazism persists…I’m not quite sure why, despite all the reading I’ve done on it (I think Sontag’s “Fascinating Fascism” might come the closest). Any thoughts on the phenomenon yourself?

    That makes perfect sense about editing being the actual creative process, of both fiction and film. I feel the same way, or kind of the same way. I usually don’t enjoy the stage of actually generating the raw material for editing, whereas once you’re cutting stuff together, you feel like you have the elements in your hands and it feels more…actively creative? Or rewarding or something. Anyway.

    Yeah, the Oscars is super lame, but I still feel a twinge of frustration whenever a great performance or director or film goes unrecognized. Bogarde and McDowell are both major, ridiculous snubs. It’s not really even about the abstract “value” of a nomination, I just think about how many people might have been directed to those films (and many others) had they received some official recognition. But whatever, it’s not worth getting worked up about. The Oscars are lame!

    Good to know I’m not completely alone on Cassavetes. And interesting about Tarkovsky. I really haven’t seen enough of his films to make an informed judgement. So far I’ve only watched “Solaris”, which I liked, but not without qualms. And it was a while ago. I’ll have to explore deeper to make my mind up. I remember being sort of vaguely soft on Bergman, too, although I do really like “Persona” and “Fanny & Alexander”. But he hasn’t yet really “wowed” me like other major filmmakers have. Not sure why, again. But it’s possible to respect something without necessarily connecting with it.

    My Wednesday wasn’t upbeat—I was beset by one of those nameless spells of depression that seem so common lately—but it is the middle of the week, so, not nuffin’. You? May Thursday prove a warm companion.

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