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Gays in the holocaust

Heinrich Himmler was the driving force behind the persecution of homosexuals. He considered homosexuality an illness that poisoned the entire body and mind (Mosse 169). Himmler says the execution of homosexuals was “not punishment but simply the extinction of abnormal life” (Herzog 35). In 1937, Himmler declared that any member of the SS convicted of homosexuality must be executed. Because Himmler felt that homosexuality was caused by lack of feminine contact, he often promoted female prostitution. The National Socialist regime’s goal was to eradicate homosexual behavior and not the “homosexual” himself, although the end result was often the same (Heger 96). They often believed that this could be done through re-education or castration.

Paragraph 175 is part of the German Criminal Code that made all homosexual acts between males a crime (Plant 206).

175(a): A jail sentence of up to ten years or, if mitigating circumstances can be established, a jail sentence of no less than three years will be imposed on:

175(b): Criminally indecent activities by males with animals are to be punished by jail; in addition, the court may deprive the subject of his civil rights.

Prisoners of concentration camps were forced to wear different colored triangles so that they were easily identified throughout the camps. The colors of the triangles are as follows:

Heinrich Himmler was the driving force behind the persecution of homosexuals. He considered homosexuality an illness that poisoned the entire body and mind (Mosse 169). Himmler says the execution of homosexuals was “not punishment but simply the extinction of abnormal life” (Herzog 35). In 1937, Himmler declared that any member of the SS convicted of homosexuality must be executed. Because Himmler felt that homosexuality was caused by lack of feminine contact, he often promoted female prostitution. The National Socialist regime’s goal was to eradicate homosexual behavior and not the “homosexual” himself, although the end result was often the same (Heger 96). They often believed that this could be done through re-education or castration.

Paragraph 175 is part of the German Criminal Code that made all homosexual acts between males a crime (Plant 206).

175(a): A jail sentence of up to ten years or, if mitigating circumstances can be established, a jail sentence of no less than three years will be imposed on:

175(b): Criminally indecent activities by males with animals are to be punished by jail; in addition, the court may deprive the subject of his civil rights.

Prisoners of concentration camps were forced to wear different colored triangles so that they were easily identified throughout the camps. The colors of the triangles are as follows:

  Home   -   Holocaust Prelude   -  Euthanasia  -   Einsatzgruppen  -  Aktion Reinhard   -   Ghettos  -   Revolt & Resistance   Other Camps  -   Holocaust Economics  -   The German Occupation   -  Survivors Stories   -  Trials   -  Image Gallery  -  Appendix A-Z  

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When the world gathers at Auschwitz and other places across Europe and the United States on Tuesday to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day and the 70 th anniversary of the liberation of the camp, there will be a void. On June 24, 2012, Gad Beck, the man believed to be the last gay survivor of the Holocaust, died six days before his 89 th birthday. He was the last living witness to and representative of a period of unparalleled persecution and suffering that cost the lives of thousands of gay men and destroyed thousands more.

It is estimated that between 5,000 and 15,000 gay men were detained in concentration camps under the Nazi regime, persecuted under Paragraph 175 of the German Criminal Code, which proscribed sexual acts between men. (In total, between 1933 and 1945, around 100,000 men were arrested under Paragraph 175, half of whom were sentenced.) While the Gestapo directive expanding incarceration beyond regular prisons was issued on April 4, 1938, gay men were among the first victims of the Holocaust to be rounded up and interned in concentration camps starting in 1933.

In Nazi Germany, the war on homosexuality was in part a moral one. It was a campaign against a vice associated with the decadence of the fallen Weimar Republic, upon whose ashes they were attempting to build not just a new society but a new man. The constructed image of the weak or effeminate homosexual male was held up as a mirror image of the heterosexual Aryan man, defender of the Fatherland, begetter of racially pure children. In that sense, homosexuality also represented an existential threat to the future of the German nation.

In Nazi ideology, homosexuality was not merely immoral, nor was it simply a set of acts defined in the penal code. Rather, it was a sickness, something that had to be cured. Homosexuals were separated from other prisoners in concentrations camps to prevent the spread of the “disease.” In Buchenwald, some were experimented upon with male hormones, a system of torture that yielded no medical gains. And, if the affliction couldn’t be cured, it would be erased. Castration became a kind of plea bargain, a humiliating, degrading way of avoiding the concentration camps.

For the 5,000 to 15,000 unable to escape the camps—Sachsenhausen, Buchenwald, and Mauthausen among others—work unto death was both cure and eradication. If the individual was not transformed by labor, labor erased the individual. Whether at the cement plant in Sachsenhausen, the underground V2 rocket factory in Buchenwald, or the stone quarry at Flossenbürg, homosexuals were subject to deadly assignments and a scarring, bone-shattering system of punishments. Sixty percent of gay internees died in the camps.

Heinrich Himmler was the driving force behind the persecution of homosexuals. He considered homosexuality an illness that poisoned the entire body and mind (Mosse 169). Himmler says the execution of homosexuals was “not punishment but simply the extinction of abnormal life” (Herzog 35). In 1937, Himmler declared that any member of the SS convicted of homosexuality must be executed. Because Himmler felt that homosexuality was caused by lack of feminine contact, he often promoted female prostitution. The National Socialist regime’s goal was to eradicate homosexual behavior and not the “homosexual” himself, although the end result was often the same (Heger 96). They often believed that this could be done through re-education or castration.

Paragraph 175 is part of the German Criminal Code that made all homosexual acts between males a crime (Plant 206).

175(a): A jail sentence of up to ten years or, if mitigating circumstances can be established, a jail sentence of no less than three years will be imposed on:

175(b): Criminally indecent activities by males with animals are to be punished by jail; in addition, the court may deprive the subject of his civil rights.

Prisoners of concentration camps were forced to wear different colored triangles so that they were easily identified throughout the camps. The colors of the triangles are as follows:

  Home   -   Holocaust Prelude   -  Euthanasia  -   Einsatzgruppen  -  Aktion Reinhard   -   Ghettos  -   Revolt & Resistance   Other Camps  -   Holocaust Economics  -   The German Occupation   -  Survivors Stories   -  Trials   -  Image Gallery  -  Appendix A-Z  

Heinrich Himmler was the driving force behind the persecution of homosexuals. He considered homosexuality an illness that poisoned the entire body and mind (Mosse 169). Himmler says the execution of homosexuals was “not punishment but simply the extinction of abnormal life” (Herzog 35). In 1937, Himmler declared that any member of the SS convicted of homosexuality must be executed. Because Himmler felt that homosexuality was caused by lack of feminine contact, he often promoted female prostitution. The National Socialist regime’s goal was to eradicate homosexual behavior and not the “homosexual” himself, although the end result was often the same (Heger 96). They often believed that this could be done through re-education or castration.

Paragraph 175 is part of the German Criminal Code that made all homosexual acts between males a crime (Plant 206).

175(a): A jail sentence of up to ten years or, if mitigating circumstances can be established, a jail sentence of no less than three years will be imposed on:

175(b): Criminally indecent activities by males with animals are to be punished by jail; in addition, the court may deprive the subject of his civil rights.

Prisoners of concentration camps were forced to wear different colored triangles so that they were easily identified throughout the camps. The colors of the triangles are as follows:

  Home   -   Holocaust Prelude   -  Euthanasia  -   Einsatzgruppen  -  Aktion Reinhard   -   Ghettos  -   Revolt & Resistance   Other Camps  -   Holocaust Economics  -   The German Occupation   -  Survivors Stories   -  Trials   -  Image Gallery  -  Appendix A-Z  

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gays in the holocaust

Heinrich Himmler was the driving force behind the persecution of homosexuals. He considered homosexuality an illness that poisoned the entire body and mind (Mosse 169). Himmler says the execution of homosexuals was “not punishment but simply the extinction of abnormal life” (Herzog 35). In 1937, Himmler declared that any member of the SS convicted of homosexuality must be executed. Because Himmler felt that homosexuality was caused by lack of feminine contact, he often promoted female prostitution. The National Socialist regime’s goal was to eradicate homosexual behavior and not the “homosexual” himself, although the end result was often the same (Heger 96). They often believed that this could be done through re-education or castration.

Paragraph 175 is part of the German Criminal Code that made all homosexual acts between males a crime (Plant 206).

175(a): A jail sentence of up to ten years or, if mitigating circumstances can be established, a jail sentence of no less than three years will be imposed on:

175(b): Criminally indecent activities by males with animals are to be punished by jail; in addition, the court may deprive the subject of his civil rights.

Prisoners of concentration camps were forced to wear different colored triangles so that they were easily identified throughout the camps. The colors of the triangles are as follows:

  Home   -   Holocaust Prelude   -  Euthanasia  -   Einsatzgruppen  -  Aktion Reinhard   -   Ghettos  -   Revolt & Resistance   Other Camps  -   Holocaust Economics  -   The German Occupation   -  Survivors Stories   -  Trials   -  Image Gallery  -  Appendix A-Z  

Oops. A firewall is blocking access to Prezi content. Check out this article to learn more or contact your system administrator.

When the world gathers at Auschwitz and other places across Europe and the United States on Tuesday to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day and the 70 th anniversary of the liberation of the camp, there will be a void. On June 24, 2012, Gad Beck, the man believed to be the last gay survivor of the Holocaust, died six days before his 89 th birthday. He was the last living witness to and representative of a period of unparalleled persecution and suffering that cost the lives of thousands of gay men and destroyed thousands more.

It is estimated that between 5,000 and 15,000 gay men were detained in concentration camps under the Nazi regime, persecuted under Paragraph 175 of the German Criminal Code, which proscribed sexual acts between men. (In total, between 1933 and 1945, around 100,000 men were arrested under Paragraph 175, half of whom were sentenced.) While the Gestapo directive expanding incarceration beyond regular prisons was issued on April 4, 1938, gay men were among the first victims of the Holocaust to be rounded up and interned in concentration camps starting in 1933.

In Nazi Germany, the war on homosexuality was in part a moral one. It was a campaign against a vice associated with the decadence of the fallen Weimar Republic, upon whose ashes they were attempting to build not just a new society but a new man. The constructed image of the weak or effeminate homosexual male was held up as a mirror image of the heterosexual Aryan man, defender of the Fatherland, begetter of racially pure children. In that sense, homosexuality also represented an existential threat to the future of the German nation.

In Nazi ideology, homosexuality was not merely immoral, nor was it simply a set of acts defined in the penal code. Rather, it was a sickness, something that had to be cured. Homosexuals were separated from other prisoners in concentrations camps to prevent the spread of the “disease.” In Buchenwald, some were experimented upon with male hormones, a system of torture that yielded no medical gains. And, if the affliction couldn’t be cured, it would be erased. Castration became a kind of plea bargain, a humiliating, degrading way of avoiding the concentration camps.

For the 5,000 to 15,000 unable to escape the camps—Sachsenhausen, Buchenwald, and Mauthausen among others—work unto death was both cure and eradication. If the individual was not transformed by labor, labor erased the individual. Whether at the cement plant in Sachsenhausen, the underground V2 rocket factory in Buchenwald, or the stone quarry at Flossenbürg, homosexuals were subject to deadly assignments and a scarring, bone-shattering system of punishments. Sixty percent of gay internees died in the camps.

Heinrich Himmler was the driving force behind the persecution of homosexuals. He considered homosexuality an illness that poisoned the entire body and mind (Mosse 169). Himmler says the execution of homosexuals was “not punishment but simply the extinction of abnormal life” (Herzog 35). In 1937, Himmler declared that any member of the SS convicted of homosexuality must be executed. Because Himmler felt that homosexuality was caused by lack of feminine contact, he often promoted female prostitution. The National Socialist regime’s goal was to eradicate homosexual behavior and not the “homosexual” himself, although the end result was often the same (Heger 96). They often believed that this could be done through re-education or castration.

Paragraph 175 is part of the German Criminal Code that made all homosexual acts between males a crime (Plant 206).

175(a): A jail sentence of up to ten years or, if mitigating circumstances can be established, a jail sentence of no less than three years will be imposed on:

175(b): Criminally indecent activities by males with animals are to be punished by jail; in addition, the court may deprive the subject of his civil rights.

Prisoners of concentration camps were forced to wear different colored triangles so that they were easily identified throughout the camps. The colors of the triangles are as follows:

  Home   -   Holocaust Prelude   -  Euthanasia  -   Einsatzgruppen  -  Aktion Reinhard   -   Ghettos  -   Revolt & Resistance   Other Camps  -   Holocaust Economics  -   The German Occupation   -  Survivors Stories   -  Trials   -  Image Gallery  -  Appendix A-Z  

Oops. A firewall is blocking access to Prezi content. Check out this article to learn more or contact your system administrator.

Heinrich Himmler was the driving force behind the persecution of homosexuals. He considered homosexuality an illness that poisoned the entire body and mind (Mosse 169). Himmler says the execution of homosexuals was “not punishment but simply the extinction of abnormal life” (Herzog 35). In 1937, Himmler declared that any member of the SS convicted of homosexuality must be executed. Because Himmler felt that homosexuality was caused by lack of feminine contact, he often promoted female prostitution. The National Socialist regime’s goal was to eradicate homosexual behavior and not the “homosexual” himself, although the end result was often the same (Heger 96). They often believed that this could be done through re-education or castration.

Paragraph 175 is part of the German Criminal Code that made all homosexual acts between males a crime (Plant 206).

175(a): A jail sentence of up to ten years or, if mitigating circumstances can be established, a jail sentence of no less than three years will be imposed on:

175(b): Criminally indecent activities by males with animals are to be punished by jail; in addition, the court may deprive the subject of his civil rights.

Prisoners of concentration camps were forced to wear different colored triangles so that they were easily identified throughout the camps. The colors of the triangles are as follows:

  Home   -   Holocaust Prelude   -  Euthanasia  -   Einsatzgruppen  -  Aktion Reinhard   -   Ghettos  -   Revolt & Resistance   Other Camps  -   Holocaust Economics  -   The German Occupation   -  Survivors Stories   -  Trials   -  Image Gallery  -  Appendix A-Z