Nazi exploitation

Nazi exploitation (also Nazisploitation) is a subgenre of exploitation film and sexploitation film that involves Nazis committing sex crimes, often as camp or prison overseers during World War II. Most follow the women in prison formula, only relocated to a concentration camp, extermination camp, or Nazi brothel, and with an added emphasis on sadism, gore, and degradation. The most infamous and influential title (which set the standards of the genre) is a Canadian production, Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS (1974). Its surprise success and sequels led European filmmakers, mostly in Italy, to produce dozens of similar films. While the Ilsa series were profitable, the other films were mostly box-office flops, and the genre all but vanished by the mid-1980s.

In Italy, these films are known as part of the "il sadiconazista" cycle, which were inspired by such art-house films as Liliana Cavani's The Night Porter (1974), Pier Paolo Pasolini's Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom (1975), and Tinto Brass's Salon Kitty (1976).[1] Prominent directors of the genre include Paolo Solvay (La Bestia in Calore, also known as The Beast in Heat and SS Hell Camp), Cesare Canevari (Last Orgy of the Third Reich, also known as L'ultima orgia del III Reich, Gestapo's Last Orgy and Caligula Reincarnated as Hitler), and Alain Payet (Train spécial pour SS, also known as Special Train for Hitler and Helltrain), all from 1977.

Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS is considered the quintessential Nazisploitation film


Italian directors pioneered a blend of sexual imagery and Nazi themes. This can be found as early as 1945 in Rome, Open City by Roberto Rossellini. Another Rossellini film, Germany, Year Zero (1948), connects Nazism with homosexuality and pedophilia. The controversial art-house production The Damned (1969), directed by Luchino Visconti, about the rise and fall of a German industrialist family in the Third Reich, is also a major influence on the genre. The film features an orgy of homosexual SA-Men and depicts one of the main characters as a troubled multiple pervert posing in a transvestite outfit, molesting little girls, and committing incest with his own mother.

Other early examples that combine sexual themes and Nazism include the West German productions Des Teufels General (The Devil's General) (1955) by Helmut Käutner and Lebensborn (Ordered to Love) (1961). The French art-house film Vice and Virtue (1963), directed by Roger Vadim, is a stylized retelling of the Marquis de Sade's Justine set during the Nazi occupation of France. This is a subtle and satirical rendering that only hints at the sexual depravity explicit in the original novel.

The critically acclaimed 1964 film The Pawnbroker includes a flashback scene showing nude women kept in a concentration camp brothel. The Italian Giallo thriller In the Folds of the Flesh (also known as Nelle pieghe della carne, 1970) has a similar flashback sequence with unrealistically attractive nude women being herded into a Nazi gas chamber. However, the earliest full-blown sexploitation film set in a Nazi camp was Love Camp 7 (1969). The film can also be viewed as a precursor to the similarly themed women in prison genre which was initially popularized by Roger Corman's The Big Doll House (1971).

Love Camp 7 established the pattern for the many films that followed. The story resembles a "true adventure" pulp yarn from a men's adventure magazine of the period (Man's Story, Men Today, World of Men, Man's Epic, et al.). In order to rescue a Jewish scientist, two female agents infiltrate a Nazi Joy Division camp, where prisoners are kept as sex slaves for German officers. There are scenes of boot-licking humiliation, whipping, torture, lesbianism, and near-rape, culminating in a violent and bloody escape. The stock characters include a cruel and perverse commandant, a lesbian doctor, sadistic guards who freely abuse the prisoners, and a sympathetic German who tries to help the captive women.

The theme of Nazi sexual abuse continued in the sleazy, violent drive-in programmer The Cut-Throats (1969) and Torture Me, Kiss Me (1970), a low-budget, black-and-white B-movie about sadistic Nazi officers tormenting female civilians (including fetishistic flogging scenes) in occupied France.

The Ilsa influence

Producer David F. Friedman had a small acting role in Love Camp 7. He went on to produce Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS in 1974. Ilsa was unique in that the camp commandant was a sexy, sex-crazed woman played by the busty and frequently nude Dyanne Thorne. Between sex scenes, Ilsa subjects her male and female inmates to horrific scientific tests, much like Josef Mengele's notorious Nazi human experimentation at Auschwitz. Some of the tests on hypothermia and pressure-chamber endurance were factual. Others were pure fantasy. For example, to prove her theory that women can endure more pain than men, Ilsa has a male and female prisoner flogged to death.

The character is also loosely based on "The Witch of Buchenwald", Ilse Koch, the wife of the commandant of the Buchenwald concentration camp. Koch was known for having perverse sexual dalliances with the prisoners and was rumored to have had lampshades made from human skin.

Ilsa includes the standard elements of sadism, degradation, whipping, sexual slavery, graphic torture, and a bloody finale with Ilsa shot dead and the camp set ablaze. The film was a surprise hit on the drive-in theater and grindhouse circuit. Ilsa was resurrected for three profitable sequels that ignored her Nazi origins and are closer to the women-in-prison genre. As a freelance mistress-for-hire, she became Ilsa, Harem Keeper of the Oil Sheiks (1976), commander of a 1953 gulag in Ilsa, the Tigress of Siberia (1977), and the warden of a corrupt Latin-American prison in Ilsa, the Wicked Warden (1977).

Nazi films from Italy and France

Meanwhile, European filmmakers were creating their own lurid Nazi movies with Ilsa-type villains. In 1977, Malisa Longo starred in Helga, She Wolf of Stilberg as a black-booted, leather-clad, sexually sadistic commander of a prison camp for women. That year, Longo also starred in the Salon Kitty-inspired Fräulein Devil (also known as Elsa: Fraulein SS) as Elsa, a former hooker with a penchant for S&M, who manages a Nazi brothel train. This was filmed back-to-back with Hitler's Last Train (also known as Special Train for the SS, Helltrain and Love Train for the SS, 1977). These films, plus Nathalie: Escape from Hell (1978), were produced by the French studio Eurociné.

One of the most notorious films in this genre is La Bestia in Calore (also known as SS Hell Camp and The Beast In Heat), produced in Italy in 1977. German actress Macha Magall played Dr. Ellen Kratsch, another icy blond Nazi who is sexy, yet thoroughly evil. This film, with its extensive and graphic scenes of torture, brutality and rape, was initially banned in England. A milder, edited version was released in the U.S. as SS Experiment Camp 2. Magall was also in SS Girls (1977), another story set in a Nazi brothel.

The Nazi exploitation subgenre presented an opportunity for Italian studios to make very low-cost horror pictures whilst tapping a previously ignored market; the exploitation war film. The Italian films are different from "Ilsa" in many ways, for instance, they focus on far more extreme aspects of human abuse.

The films of 1976 include: Sergio Garrone's SS Experiment Camp (also known as SS Experiment Love Camp), depicting soft-core sex scenes and the castration of an SS officer. SS Hell Camp, Luigi Batzella's second Nazi film, featured a sexually-crazed mutant created by an Ilsa-like Nazi scientist. SS Girls, directed by Bruno Mattei, is a blatant copy of Salon Kitty. Mattei also made Women's Camp 119 starring Lorraine De Selle. This film depicts horrific scientific experiments performed on prisoners based on actual documents. SS Special Section Women stars John Steiner as a sex-crazed SS Commandant whose love for a Jewish girl costs him his manhood. Achtung! The Desert Tigers, from Luigi Batzella, is interwoven with stock footage and scenes at a Nazi camp in the desert where tortures abound.

1977 saw the release of Gestapo's Last Orgy (also known as Last Orgy of the Third Reich and Caligula Reincarnated as Hitler), which depicts a love affair between a camp Commandant and a prisoner. SS Camp 5: Women’s Hell is SS Experiment Camp's sister film featuring the same cast and crew. Red Nights of the Gestapo is a soft-core sex film with SS soldiers abusing women in a castle. Nazi Love Camp 27, starring Sirpa Lane as a Jewish girl forced into a brothel, is notable for its hardcore sex scenes and for being written by famed scripter Gianfanco Clerici.

By the end of the decade the genre had run its course.

Nazi pornography

Adult films also exploited Nazi scenarios in a string of sadomasochistic "roughie" pornographic films in the 1970s and early 1980s. Examples include the Mitchell brothers' Hot Nazis, Hitler's Harlot (1973), and 1980's Nazi Love Island (also known as Prisoner of Paradise) with John Holmes and Seka. One of the last entries, Stalag 69 (1982), starred Angelique Pettyjohn as an Ilsa-type SS officer. The story was largely a remake of Love Camp 7, bringing the cycle back to its origins. The genre remained mostly dormant for the next two decades. In 2006, Mood Pictures, a Hungarian producer of S&M films, released Gestapo, Gestapo 2, and Dr. Mengele in 2008, all of which are set in a Nazi prison camp and pay homage to Ilsa and the Italian exploitation films.


In 2007, as part of Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino's tribute to exploitation cinema, Grindhouse, director Rob Zombie created a trailer for a fake film called Werewolf Women of the SS, starring Nicolas Cage and Udo Kier. According to Zombie, "Basically, I had two ideas. It was either going to be a Nazi movie or a women-in-prison film, and I went with the Nazis. There's all those movies like Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS; Fräulein Devil; and Love Camp 7—I've always found that to be the most bizarre genre." On December 18, 2007, Zombie posted an entry on his MySpace page, asking if people would want to see a feature-length version of Werewolf Women of the SS.[2] Iron Sky and Nazis at the Center of the Earth (both released in 2012) are in a similar vein.


Most of the Nazi exploitation films have stalag settings with young female inmates like Women's Camp 119. Their tormentors are female or male Nazi officers in SS uniforms, usually speaking with a fake German accent and irrelevant or mispronounced German words, who often use "experiments" as excuses to implement sadistic physical violence (perhaps inspired by the work of people like Josef Mengele, who performed medical experiments that often killed people). There are scenes of sexual conduct or, more routinely, exposed nude bodies of the victimised inmates. The level of violence depicted in these films may often reach the gore level.

This genre mainly focused on female SS officers. It presented them as lusty as well as buxom women, such as Dyanne Thorne's Ilsa, who also sexually abused their male prisoners (mainly in non-statutory female-on-male rape fashion). As the setting is a Stalag (prisoner-of-war camp), not a concentration camp, the prisoners are mainly Allied soldiers, not Jewish civilians.

There are also many films that do not follow the conventions of Nazi exploitation, such as Bordel SS (1978) of José Bénazéraf (one of the very few Nazi exploitation films to hold the dubious honor of having actual hardcore sex) and Salon Kitty (1976) of Tinto Brass. These films are not usually considered as "prototypical" Nazi exploitation films and qualify more for the "art house" subgenre. However, because of the vague term, even the film Il portiere di notte (The Night Porter) (1974) by Liliana Cavani that (in the opinion of many) lacks the exploitation motive, may be deemed one such film.

Laura Frost's book Sex Drives: Fantasies of Fascism in Literary Modernism (2002) (ISBN 0801487641) says that the genre is part of a problematic attempt to link political deviance (i.e. fascism, militarism, genocide) with sexual deviance (i.e. sadomasochism, homosexuality, transvestism, pedophilia).

Legal status in Britain

Sometime in the early 1980s, Nazi exploitation films made their way onto the British market, made popular by the growing VHS home video technology. With major Hollywood studios steering clear of the new format, it was left to small, domestic companies to populate the shelves with tapes. A small company from England, GO Video, purchased the rights to an Italian film named SS Experiment Camp. The company ran a marketing campaign with full-page ads showing a naked woman hanging from her feet, a swastika dangling from her wrist and an SS commander looming in the background. Advertisements for the film in video rental stores became a target for protestors, who picketed such stores and petitioned for the film to be banned. After the Video Recordings Act, most of the Nazi exploitation films (labelled 'Nazi Nasties') were denied BBFC classifications. The following Nazi exploitation films were taken off the shelves:

Of the above films, only SS Experiment Camp is now available in the U.K..

Israeli literature

In Israel specifically, during the 1960s, "Stalag fiction" was pocket books whose stories focused on the unique features of this genre. The phenomena took ground in parallel to the 1961 Eichmann trial. Sales of this pornographic literature broke all records in Israel as hundreds of thousands of copies were sold at kiosks.[3] They were inspired by Ka-tzetnik 135633's House of Dolls, the experiences of a Jewish girl prostituted in the "Joy Division" (Block 24) of the Auschwitz camp, the factuality of which is disputed.[3]

See also


  1. ^ Hughes, Howard Cinema Italiano I. B. Tauris; First Edition (August 30, 2011)
  2. ^ "A Werewolf Women question". MySpace. Retrieved 2007-12-21.
  3. ^ a b Kershner, Isabel (September 6, 2007). "Israel's Unexpected Spinoff From a Holocaust Trial". New York Times. Retrieved February 20, 2011.

Further reading

  • Buttsworth, Sara, and Maartje Abbenhuis (eds.) Monsters in The Mirror: Representations of Nazism in Post-War Popular Culture. Westport: Greenwood Publishing Group, 2010. ISBN 978-0-313-38216-1
  • Evers, Florian.Vexierbilder des Holocaust. Munich: L.I.T. Verlag, 2011. ISBN 978-36-43111-906
  • Magilow, Daniel H., Elizabeth Bridges, and Kristin T. Vander Lugt (eds.) Nazisploitation!: The Nazi Image in Low-Brow Cinema and Culture. New York City: Continuum, 2011. ISBN 978-1-441-18359-0
  • Roy, Pinaki. “Incarcerated Fantasies: Women in Nazisploitation Films”. Portrayal of Women in Media and Literature. Eds. Nawale, A., S. Vashist, and P. Roy. New Delhi: Access, 2013 (ISBN 978-93-82647-01-0). Pp. 23–33.

External links

Claudine Beccarie

Claudine Beccarie (born 14 June 1945 in Créteil, Val-de-Marne, France) was a French pornographic actress of the 1970s.

She started her porn career early in 1972 with an 8 mm loop of Lasse Braun, released in the Netherlands. She became famous in 1975 because of the documentary Exhibition about herself, which contained several staged hardcore scenes and gained the title "first French porn star". In 1976 she quit hardcore pornography and until the 1980s appeared in several Nazi exploitation films.

Deported Women of the SS Special Section

Le deportate della sezione speciale SS (internationally released as Deported Women of the SS Special Section, SS Special Section Women and Deported Women) is a 1976 erotic-drama film directed by Rino Di Silvestro. The film is considered the first Italian nazisploitation film, after the "auteur" progenitors such as Liliana Cavani's art film Il portiere di notte and Tinto Brass' exploitation film Salon Kitty.

Elves (film)

Elves is a 1989 American horror film directed by Jeffrey Mandel and starring Dan Haggerty, Deanna Lund, and Ken Carpenter.

Fräulein Devil

Fräulein Devil, also known as Captive Women 4, Elsa: Fraulein SS and Fraulein Kitty, is a 1977 French Nazi exploitation film.

Gestapo's Last Orgy

Gestapo's Last Orgy (Italian: 'L'ultima orgia del III Reich, lit. 'Last Orgy of the Third Reich') is an Italian Nazi exploitation directed and co-written by Cesare Canevari. It stars Daniela Poggi.

Hitler – Beast of Berlin

Hitler, Beast of Berlin (1939) was one of the most popular "hiss and boo" films of the World War II era, based on the novel Goose Step by Shepard Traube (1907–1983).

Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS

Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS is a 1975 Canadian Nazisploitation/sexploitation film directed by Don Edmonds, produced by David F. Friedman and written by Jonah Royston.

La Bestia in calore

La Bestia in calore (lit. The Beast in Heat) is a 1977 Italian exploitation film directed, written, and edited by Luigi Batzella.

Love Camp 7

Love Camp 7 is a 1969 U.S. women-in-prison Nazi exploitation B-movie directed by Lee Frost and written by Wes Bishop and Bob Cresse, the latter of whom also portrays a sadistic camp commandant.

Mad Foxes

Max Foxes (originally titled Los Violadores) is a Spanish exploitation film and thriller film directed by Paul Grau.

Nazi Love Camp 27

Nazi Love Camp 27 (Italian: La svastica nel ventre) is a 1977 Italian Nazi exploitation film by western director Mario Caiano starring Sirpa Lane. The film is notable for its truly grim scenes, dramatic plot and hardcore sex scenes.

The Italian title translates as The Swastika on the Belly.

Opera film

An opera film is a recording of an opera on film.

SS Experiment Camp

SS Experiment Camp (also known as SS Experiment Love Camp; original release title: Lager SSadis Kastrat Kommandantur) is a 1976 Nazi exploitation film directed by Sergio Garrone. The plot concerns consensual sexual experimenting with female prisoners of a concentration camp ran by Colonel von Kleiben (Giorgio Cerioni), a Nazi officer who needs a testicle transplant after being castrated by a Russian girl. It gained infamy in the 1980s for its controversial themes and a public advertising campaign that involved obscene, suggestive posters. The film was banned in some countries, including the United Kingdom, where the film was subject to prosecution as one of the films known as "video nasties"; a title used in the press and by campaigners that came to be used for a list of films that could be found obscene under the Obscene Publications Act.

SS Girls

SS Girls (Italian: Casa privata per le SS) is an Italian Nazi exploitation film by director Bruno Mattei. The film is about a brothel where traitors of the Nazi high command are eradicated. To help the brothel out, a Nazi commander, involved in intelligence work, enlists the aid of scientists who train various prostitutes to sexually satisfy the desires of the Nazi high command and root out any traitors.

Salon Kitty (film)

Salon Kitty is a 1976 erotic-war-drama film directed by Tinto Brass. The film was coproduced by Italy, France and West Germany. It is based on the novel of the same name by Peter Norden, covering the real life events of the Salon Kitty Incident, where the Sicherheitsdienst took over an expensive brothel in Berlin, had the place wire tapped and all the prostitutes replaced with trained spies in order to gather data on various members of the Nazi party and foreign dignitaries.

It is considered among the progenitors of Nazisploitation genre.In the U.S., the film was edited to lighten the political overtones for an easier marketing as a sexploitation film and released under the title Madam Kitty with an X rating. Blue Underground Video, for the uncut version, has surrendered the X rating for an unrated DVD and Blu-ray release.

She Demons

She Demons is a 1958 independently made black-and-white science fiction film, produced by Arthur A. Jacobs and Marc Frederic, directed and co-written by Richard E. Cunha, that stars Irish McCalla, Tod Griffin, and Victor Sen Yung. Made in the tongue-in-cheek style of Men's adventure magazines, Nazisploitation, and The Island of Lost Souls, the film was distributed by Astor Pictures in March, 1958 as a double feature with Cunha's Giant from the Unknown.

Stalag fiction

Stalags redirects here. For the POW camps, see Stalag. For the documentary about Stalag fiction, see Stalags (film)

Stalag fiction was a short-lived genre of Nazi exploitation Holocaust pornography that flourished in the 1950s and early 1960s, and stopped after the time of the Eichmann Trial, because of a ban by the Israeli government. These books did not include Jews, apparently because that would have been even more taboo. They are no longer available for a reading today in terms of traditional publication, although the advent of the Internet has allowed for peer-to-peer file sharing.

They Saved Hitler's Brain

They Saved Hitler's Brain is a 1968 science fiction film directed by David Bradley. It was adapted for television from a shorter 1963 theatrical feature film, Madmen of Mandoras, produced by Carl Edwards and directed by David Bradley. The film was lengthened by about 20 minutes with additional footage shot by UCLA students at the request of the distributor.

Werewolves of the Third Reich

Werewolves of the Third Reich is a 2017 British horror film written and directed by Andrew Jones.

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