While allied with the Nazis, Hungarians had fought fiercely against the Red Army. Now Soviet soldiers stole jewelry and artwork worth millions of dollars, looted the Hungarian General Credit Bank, and subjected Budapest’s population to atrocities, including mass rapes and murders.
“But then evening came, early evening, and all of a sudden these rough type of soldiers entered the building. They started to pull women out with the excuse to come and help us peel potatoes, and my sister and myself were dragged away. And my grandmother came with us. For myself I felt absolutely so frightened that I was just rigid from fright. So they pushed us into this tent type of arrangement and they raped us. … we were just young, very young. And we didn’t know what they were doing. It was that time–children were brought up differently than nowadays, not so aware.… I still get nightmares about it.”– Ágnes Karlik, 15 years old in 1945
A group of Hungarian Communists sent a complaint to Soviet authorities. In January, according to the report, the Red Army committed a series of sexual crimes in an outbreak of savage hatred. Drunken soldiers raped mothers in front of their children and husbands, girls as young as twelve were dragged from their parents and raped in succession by ten to fifteen soldiers, from whom many caught venereal diseases. Though the Red Army soldiers who committed rape during the war were guilty of a crime under Soviet law, only a small minority of the perpetrators were ever charged.
“Soldiers gossiped about it–they said they were proud, they felt like heroes because they slept with a woman. I feel hurt because our army earned itself such a reputation. Also I feel angry about the people that acted this way.”– Fiodor Khropatiy, 2nd Ukrainian Front, Red Army