In February 1945, Gelfand was stationed by the Oder River dam, preparing for the final push on Berlin, and he describes how his comrades surrounded and overpowered a battalion of women fighters.
"The captured German female cats declared they were avenging their dead husbands," he writes. "They must be destroyed without mercy. Our soldiers suggest stabbing them through their genitals but I would just execute them."
One of the most revealing passages in Gelfand's diary is dated 25 April, once he had reached Berlin. Gelfand was whirling around on a bicycle by the River Spree, the first time he'd ever ridden one, when he came across a group of German women carrying suitcases and bundles.
In broken German, he asked them where they were going and why they had left their homes.
"With horror on their faces, they told me what had happened on the first night of the Red Army's arrival," he writes.
"'They poked here,' explained the beautiful German girl, lifting up her skirt, 'all night. They were old, some were covered in pimples and they all climbed on me and poked - no less than 20 men,' she burst into tears.
"'They raped my daughter in front of me,' her poor mother added, 'and they can still come back and rape her again.' This thought horrified everyone.
"'Stay here,' the girl suddenly threw herself at me, 'sleep with me! You can do whatever you want with me, but only you!'"
By this stage, German soldiers had been guilty of sexual violence and other horrors in the Soviet Union for almost four years, as Gelfand had become aware as he fought his way to Berlin...http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-32529679