|The following refutation of the anti-Soviet propaganda contained in The Innocents was sent to Proletarian by Professor Grover Furr.
On 30 June 2016, the New York Times carried a positive review of the film The Innocents, by French director Anne Fontaine, and awarded it the accolade of ‘critics’ pick’. (Review: In The Innocents, not even nuns are spared war horrors by Stephen Holden)
Set in Poland in December 1945, after the Soviet Army had liberated the country from the Nazis and set up a new Polish government, the film concerns the rape of a Benedictine nun by one or more Red Army soldiers.
Mathilde, a non-believer, learns that, several months earlier, Soviet soldiers stationed in Poland stormed the convent and repeatedly raped the nuns, leaving many pregnant. Mathilde agrees to return and assist in the deliveries of their babies.
The review claims that the film is based on real events in which Red Army soldiers, encouraged by their officers, mass-raped Benedictine nuns: “The Innocents is based on real events, recounted in notes by Madeleine Pauliac, a Red Cross doctor on whom Mathilde is based.
“Ms Fontaine (Coco Before Chanel, Gemma Bovery), who extensively researched these atrocities and spent time in two Benedictine convents, writes in the production notes that the soldiers felt no sense of wrongdoing, because they were encouraged by their superiors to commit these crimes as a reward for their hard work on the battlefield.
“While driving back to the hospital, Mathilde is intercepted at a Soviet checkpoint and pounced on by soldiers, one of whom announces, ‘She wants all of us!’ Were the assault not interrupted by a senior officer, the scene would be unwatchable.”
“Based on real events”? “Extensively researched these atrocities”? Here is some information from a Polish-language article about the film, whose title in Polish is ‘Niewinne’ (The Innocent Women).
“Things are different in Poland, however, where The Innocents aroused controversy even before its premiere. Sister Malgorzata Borkowska criticises Anne Fontaine’s misrepresentation and claims that no such events occurred in any of the nine cloistered convents that existed in 1945.
“Mother Weronika Sowulewska and Sister Jolanta Olech are of the same opinion. They add that ‘there is no historical documentation or account from memory that Benedictine nuns in Poland suffered the tragedy which is the subject of the film.” (The Innocents – the story of the rape by Soviets of Polish nuns, Anty Radio, 9 March 2016)
Not only were there no ‘repeated rapes’ by Red Army soldiers, no (let alone ‘many’) pregnant nuns, no ‘encouragement by their superiors to commit these crimes as a reward for their hard work on the battlefield’, no assault interrupted by a senior officer ... There was no such event at all!
The supposed historical basis for these events consists of “notes and documents” by a French nurse, Madeleine Pauliac, who supposedly made them in December 1945. Pauliac died less than two months later, on 13 February 1946. The character Mathilde in the film is supposed to be Pauliac.
Evidently, the ‘historical research’ did not extend to trying to verify whether the alleged event had really happened.
This same Polish article states: “Anne Fontaine admits that most of the characters presented in the film are completely fictional.”
If this had been a film concept about mass rapes of nuns by American or French soldiers, and it turned out that sources in the Benedictine order claimed that no such events had occurred – would the film have been made? Much less shown all over Europe and in the USA? Not likely!
The film is an example of anti-communist, as well as anti-Russian, falsehoods. The real picture of 1945 Poland is somewhat different:
- The antisemitic, anti-communist Polish government-in-exile had been de-recognised by all the Allies in June 1945.
- In December 1945, and long after that, the Polish underground, still loyal to this government, was still murdering Red Army soldiers, Polish communist soldiers, and jews just because they were jews.
These are the forces that were really carrying out atrocities in post-war Poland. Today, they are praised in right-wing, capitalist Poland as heroic freedom fighters.
In the present political climate, with Nato threatening war against Russia, the film is also an attack on Russia. [It is worth bearing in mind that the film was a French-Belgian-Polish co-production, with financial backing from the Polish Film Institute and the Film Commission Poland. Poland today is one of the principal agitators for a Nato war against Russia.]
Furthermore, the New York Times recently published another positive review of a novel (Salt to the Sea) by a Lithuanian writer that is also based on anti-communist and, in this case, pro-Nazi lies. (For more information see link: https://msuweb.montclair.edu/~furrg/research/salttothesea.html)
Once again, this anti-communist propaganda novel features tales of rape by Red Army soldiers. In this case, too, the ‘history’ is false.
- The ship in question carried German soldiers and weapons. It was a legitimate target of war.
- As for the ‘rape’, it is completely fictitious, without even the fig leaf that it is ‘historical’.
Readers should do everything in their power to spread an understanding of how history is being falsified in the drive to war.