While researching my previous work in this field: Birth, Sex and Abuse: Women’s Voices under Nazi Rule, I was horrified by the number of accounts of child sex abuse that I encountered. This led to the development of Betrayed.
Betrayed: Child Sex Abuse in the Holocaust is a ground-breaking book that exposes a taboo aspect of Holocaust history: the sexual abuse of children. The Nazi’s genocidal brutality facilitated the abuse of children in addition to targeting them for murder. After the war, they were again betrayed by those who discounted their experiences, and by Holocaust scholars who refused to acknowledge their stories or give credence to their memories.
Noam Rachmilevitch, archivist at the Ghetto Fighter's House, Israel, writes this about the book:
“With a rare combination of humane empathy and scholarly criticism, Beverley Chalmers delves into a disturbingly difficult subject: the sexual abuse of children during World War II. Her research sheds light on the various forms of child abuse, and undermines conventional categorization patterns. For example, Chalmers shows that children were sexually abused not only by people related to the occupying forces or by hostile strangers, but also by others, including some of their very protectors. Chalmers puts the children and their suffering in the center and makes their voices – their cries – heard; by doing so, she creates a wider awareness of this dreadful phenomenon, awareness that is crucial to anyone who wishes to build a better world for our children.”
Dr Tessa Chelouche M.D, Department of Bioethics and the Holocaust, UNESCO Chair of Bioethics, Haifa, Israel, writes:
“Sexual abuse was one of the many horrors that some children were forced to endure during the Holocaust. But their stories deserve to be told. Betrayed is a well written and researched, albeit difficult, read that gives these victims a voice to be heard.”
-Beverley Chalmers, (DSc (Med); PhD)