Lynn Joyce Hunter
The Washington Post
"BUDAPEST – Last month when a Polish art student installed a life-sized sculpture in a Gdansk public square of a Red Army soldier raping a pregnant woman, his activism provoked a storm of angry reactions from Russians and Poles. Critics claimed that the image of a serviceman holding a gun to a woman’s head dishonored the memory of Soviet troops and was an inappropriate commemoration of victims of wartime rape. Both the shame and the denial voiced during the Gdansk incident are typical responses to any reminder of the mass rapes perpetrated by Red Army troops during World War II, says Hungarian filmmaker Fruzsina Skrabski, whose documentary “Silenced Shame” was shown earlier this month at the 13th Hungarian Film Festival in Los Angeles.
Skrabski’s film, financed with a grant from the Hungarian government, investigates the atrocities committed by Red Army soldiers during their takeover of Hungary in 1944 and 1945 and the tyranny of silence that followed under Communism.
I met with Skrabski and the film’s producer, Zoltan Janovics, who helped translate the conversation, in a café in Budapest, to talk about the film, which has been aired on Hungarian television and shown in public theaters here.
Skrabski filmed survivors of wartime rape, women in their 80s and 90s, as they spoke publicly about their traumas for the first time in 65 years. “These women who gave interviews are heroes,” she tells me. “They don’t want young women to forget” what happened to them."