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Child Sex Abuse in the Holocaust


  • Finalist:  National Indies Excellence Award in History General,  2020

  • Finalist: International Book Excellence Award:  in History General, 2020


This ground-breaking book exposes a taboo aspect of Holocaust history; the sexual abuse of children. Children were sexually assaulted in ghettos, camps, on transit trains, while in hiding, and even when sent to supposed safety outside Europe.  The Nazi’s genocidal brutality facilitated the abuse of children, in addition to targeting them for murder. In addition, children were sexually assaulted by some rescuers and peers who took advantage of their vulnerability. After the war, they were again betrayed by those who discounted their experiences, and by Holocaust scholars who refuse to acknowledge their stories or give credence to their memories, preferring to keep this a closely guarded secret. This book honours the memory of the children who lived to recount their experiences … and those who did not.  

Betrayed: Child Sex Abuse in the Holocaust

“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” (Noam Rachmilevitch, Archivist at the Ghetto Fighter's House, Israel).

“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.” (Dr Tessa Chelouche M.D, Department of Bioethics and the Holocaust, Unesco Chair of Bioethics, Haifa).

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