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Sun Jan 27, 2019, 05:47 AM

Remembering The Gay Victims Of The Holocaust, Whose Persecution Is As Relevant As Ever

“Gad, I can’t go with you. My family needs me. If I abandon them now, I could never be free.′ No smile, no sadness. He had made his decision. We didn’t even say goodbye. He turned around and went back. In those seconds, watching him go, I grew up.”

So wrote Gad Beck, describing the moment his lover Manfred Lewin returned to his family, who were subsequently deported to their deaths at Auschwitz.

27 January marks Holocaust Memorial Day. As a student at university I recall being moved to tears by the accounts of survivors of the Holocaust. Relatable stories of uniquely beautiful people, with concerns, dreams and families, so similar to our own, but exposed to the most repulsive state sponsored persecution. Six million Jews were murdered under the Nazis, culminating in the gas chambers of the concentration camps.

Whilst most victims of the Holocaust were Jewish, there were people from other groups who were also targeted, including the Roma, Jehovah’s Witnesses and gay men. I am gay myself, but even when I was at university, around the turn of the millennium, there was a notable dearth of literature on the gay victims of the Holocaust.

We know that approximately 100,000 gay men were imprisoned by the Nazis. They were often beaten, tortured and even forced to perform sex acts with lesbians to “cure” them of their sexuality. Not all ended up in concentration camps; often they were held in normal prisons or brought into Gestapo and police custody for days or weeks, before being released again. Up to 15,000 gay men did die in the concentration camps though. Lesbians also died in the camps, but legislation in Nazi Germany was not as punitive towards gay women as gay men.


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Reply Remembering The Gay Victims Of The Holocaust, Whose Persecution Is As Relevant As Ever (Original post)
Behind the Aegis Jan 2019 OP
Odoreida Jan 2019 #1

Response to Behind the Aegis (Original post)

Sun Jan 27, 2019, 11:21 AM

1. Indeed, but also remember ...

It wasn't a peculiarly "Nazi" phenomenon.

The German anti-gay laws were from before the Nazis, and all the WWII good guy countries had similar laws.
The Soviet Union had similar enforcement.

And when the camps were liberated, the US military authorities considered the gay "displaced persons" in the same category as the various common criminals and other anti-social types who had also been imprisoned.

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