These SS boots are made for walking

Nazi porn created by Israeli writers resurfaces.

By Carol Lloyd
September 7, 2007 3:54AM (UTC)
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I can't say it's the first thing that comes to mind when considering Hitler's legacy, but the New York Times story Thursday about the Stalags, an Israeli porn paperback series that became a bestseller in the early 1960s, suggests that Nazi concentration camps have fueled their share of fantasies as well as nightmares. Of course, the idea of transforming scary, horrifying things into titillation is hardly new. And Nazi-related porn exists in lots of cultures. But in Israel, where the memorializing of the Holocaust forms the bedrock of the nation's identity, this idea is an uncomfortable one.

The Stalags -- which featured blond bombshell SS officers in knee-high commando boots tormenting their prisoners with riding crops and titles like "I Was Colonel Schultz's Private Bitch" -- have recently been rediscovered after having been outlawed in the '60s. This year they've become the focus of a provocative new documentary by Ari Libsker, "Stalags: Holocaust and Pornography in Israel," which has reignited a debate about the nation's representation of Nazism and whether even some of the sanctified literary canons of the Holocaust have been tainted by a pornographic impulse.


According to the Times, the Stalags were the creation of Israeli writers and publishers, though they were written in the first person like real memoirs and presented as if translated from English. This porn-umentary style, suggests the film, took its inspiration from a far more acceptable source, K. Tzetnik, the iconic Holocaust memoirist whose work has become a mainstay of high school history curricula. The only problem is that at least one of his books, "Doll's House," a graphically sexual account about this sister living as an Auschwitz sex slave, is now criticized by some scholars as both fictional and pornographic.

Of course, it's easy to look back on these cheesy paperbacks and wonder how they could incite more than a derisive snicker. But after watching a couple of YouTube snippets from the film -- an interview with a young Israeli who admits to rape fantasies about a gentile German granddaughter of a Nazi and an interview with the series' publisher about the Stalags, in which the Nazi woman dominates the manly American soldier (until justice is restored when she gets raped and killed), it's easy to understand how this film could provoke some serious embarrassment, if not soul searching.

Carol Lloyd

Carol Lloyd is currently at work on a book about the gentrification wars in San Francisco's Mission District.

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