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Monday, July 22, 2013

Balkan Gang-Raping (Balkangreuel), Gottfried Sieben alias Archibald Smith, 1909, Wien

Gottfried Sieben - 1856 - 1918, Austria. 
In 1909, using the pseudonym of Archibald Smith, the Austrian book illustrator Gottfried Sieben painted “Balkangreuel” (Balkan Horror, Balkan Cruelty), a series of twelve lithographs showing Turkish soldiers in the act of gang-raping and killing women. The images are highly raw and explicit, but they also have  an historical value.

Brutal behavior of the Turkish army in its oppressive wars against the Greeks (and other Balkan Christian peoples) is depicted in the scenes, where light-skinned naked women are being humiliated, ravished, and raped by darker-skinned and dressed Turkish soldiers.

These pictures were issued also as postcards.


  1. It's very ambigous as the images are supposed to tell about atrocities but they have an erotic charge too.

  2. Actually this work is critical of wartime atrocities in general. It is not specifically about Turkish atrocities. Some of the men are wearing Chetnik uniforms, some are Albanian, etc. It is unfortunate that this is generally overlooked and the work is interpreted as specifically about Turkish atrocities.