LOOKING PAST RELIGION, SEX, HATE LOVE, FAMILY AND HYSTERIA TO THE REAL POLITIQUE! OR?
GAY PRIDE COMETH BEFORE A FALL! THE POLITICAL LONG KNIVES ARE WAITING!
HITLER WAS PUT IN POWER BY A GAY CABAL, THEN HE SLAUGHTERED THEM AT THE "NIGHT OF THE LONG KNIVES." NEXT, HITLER USED THE PINK TRIANGLE TO INCARCERATE HOMOSEXUALS IN CONCENTRATION CAMPS! WILL THE AMERICAN GAY MOVEMENT BE USED BY A CERTAIN POLITICAL FACTION?
Click. Homosexuality and the Nazi Party.
Click. Homosexuals and the Holocaust.
THE PINK SWASTIKA. The original version and a right-wing commentary. Click.
The pink triangle, symbol of the "gay rights" movement, is familiar to many Americans. As the badge used by the Nazis to designate homosexuals in the concentration camps, the pink triangle perfectly expresses the message of "gay rights." That message is that homosexuals are currently and historically victims of irrational prejudice and that those who oppose homosexuality are hateful bigots. This all-important victim status engenders sympathy for the homosexual "cause" among well-meaning heterosexuals. Thus, millions of otherwise rational Americans support a movement whose sole unifying characteristic is a sexual lifestyle they personally find repugnant.
When homosexuals display the pink triangle, they are equating all opposition to homosexuality with Nazism and themselves with the Jewish victims of the Holocaust. As pro-homosexual Rabbi Bernard Mehlman puts it, "Homophobia and Anti-Semitism are part of the same disease." This quote appeared in an advertisement in a homosexual newspaper. It announced the dedication ceremony of the New England Holocaust Memorial in Boston last year. An accompanying article reported that New England homosexuals had pledged $1 million to help build the memorial, including $50,000 for an initial monument consisting of six steel and glass towers. Alongside the monument is an inscription honoring homosexual victims of the Nazis. Another Holocaust memorial being prepared in New York City is expected to similarly honor homosexuals. Washington, D.C. is home to the official U.S. Holocaust Museum which not only maintains a pro-homosexual display, but also employs noted homosexual activist Klaus Mueller as a staff researcher. Other Holocaust related projects, such as the Anne Frank Exhibit now touring the United States, incorporate a similar message in their programs.
While some homosexuals were interned in Nazi work camps, the role of homosexuals in Nazi history cannot be accurately represented solely by a pink triangle. Our review of more than 200 history texts written since the 1930s suggests that a pink swastika is equally representative, if not more so. For, ironically, while many homosexuals were persecuted by the Nazi party, there is no doubt that the Nazi party itself had many homosexuals within its own ranks, even among its highest leadership.
The "grandfather of gay rights" was a homosexual German lawyer named Karl Heinrich Ulrichs. Ulrichs had been molested at age 14 by his male riding instructor. Instead of attributing his adult homosexuality to the molestation, however, Ulrich devised in the 1860s what became known as the "third sex" theory of homosexuality. Ulrichs' model holds that male homosexuals are actually female souls trapped within male bodies. The reverse phenomenon supposedly explains lesbianism. Since homosexuality was an innate condition, reasoned Ulrichs, homosexual behavior should be decriminalized. An early follower of Ulrichs coined the term "homosexual" in an open letter to the Prussian Minister of Justice in 1869.
By the time Ulrichs died in 1895, the "gay rights" movement in Germany had gained considerable strength. Frederich Engels noted this in a letter to Karl Marx regarding Ulrich's efforts: "The pederasts start counting their numbers and discover they are a powerful group in our state. The only thing missing is an organization, but it seems to exist already, but it is hidden." After Ulrichs' death, the movement split into two separate and opposed factions. One faction followed Ulrichs' successor, Magnus Hirschfeld, who formed the Scientific Humanitarian Committee in 1897 and later opened the Institute for Sex Research in Berlin. The other faction was organized by Adolf Brand, publisher of the first homosexual magazine, Der Eigene (The Special). Brand, Benedict Friedlander and Wilhelm Janzen formed the Gemeinschaft der Eigenen (The Community of the Special) in 1902. What divided these groups was their concepts of masculinity. Ulrichs' theory embraced a feminine identity. His, and later Hirschfeld's, followers literally believed they were women trapped in men's bodies.
The followers of Brand, however, were deeply insulted by Ulrichs' theory. They perceived themselves not merely as masculine, but as a breed of men superior in masculine qualities even to heterosexuals. The Community of the Special (CS) asserted that male homosexuality was the foundation of all nation-states and that male homosexuals represented an elite strata of human society. The CS fashioned itself as a modern incarnation of the warrior cults of ancient Greece. Modeling themselves after the military heroes of Sparta, Thebes and Crete, the members of the CS were ultra-masculine, male-supremacist and pederastic (devoted to man/boy sex). Brand said in Der Eigene that he wanted men who "thirst for a revival of Greek times and Hellenic standards of beauty after centuries of Christian barbarism."
One of the keys to understanding both the rise of Nazism and the later persecution of some homosexuals by the Nazis is found in this early history of the German "gay rights" movement. For it was the CS which created and shaped what would become the Nazi persona, and it was the loathing which these "Butches" held for effeminate homosexuals ("Femmes") which led to the internment of some of the latter in slave labor camps in the Third Reich.
Rising spontaneously in the 1890s as an informal hiking and camping society, the Wandervogel became an official organization at the turn of the century, similar to the Boy Scouts. From early on, however, the Wandervogel was dominated and controlled by the pederasts of the CS. CS co-founder Wilhelm Janzen was its chief benefactor, and its leadership was rife with homosexuality. In 1912, CS theorist Hans Blueher wrote The German Wandervogel Movement as an Erotic Phenomenon which told how the organization was used to recruit young boys into homosexuality.
Wandervogel youths were indoctrinated with Greek paganism and taught to reject the Christian values of their parents (mostly Catholics and Lutherans). The CS belief in a homosexual elite took shape within the Wandervogel in the concept of "der Fuehrer" (The Leader). E.Y. Hartshorne, in German Youth and the Nazi Dream of Victory, records the recollections of a former Wandervogel member in this regard: "We little suspected then what power we had in our hands. We played with the fire that had set a world in flames, and it made our hearts hot...It was in our ranks that the word Fuehrer originated, with its meaning of blind obedience and devotion...And I shall never forget how in those early days we pronounced the word Gemeinschaft ["community"] with a trembling throaty note of excitement, as though it hid a deep secret" (Hartshorne:12). Louis Snyder notes in the Encyclopedia of the Third Reich that, "The Fuehrer Principle became identical with the elite principle. The Fuehrer elite were regarded as independent of the will of the masses" (Snyder:104). Snyder was not writing about the Gemeinschaft der Eigenen or of the Wandervogel, but of the upper ranks of the Nazi party some thirty years later. Another Nazi custom from the Wandervogel was the "Seig Heil" salute, which was an early form of greeting popular among the wandering youth. During World War I, the greatest hero of the German youth movement was Gerhard Rossbach. Described by historian Robert G. L. Waite as a "sadist, murderer and homosexual," Rossbach was "the most important single contributor of the pre-Hitler youth movement" (Waite,1969:210). More importantly, Rossbach was the bridge between the Wandervogel and the Nazi Party.
In the turbulent days following Germany's defeat in World War I, Gerhard Rossbach was one of many former army officers placed in command of Freikorps (Free Corps) units. These unofficial auxilary military units were designed to circumvent limitations imposed on German troop strength by the Allies. Rossbach organized a Freikorps called Rossbach's Sturmabteilung (Rossbach's Storm Troopers). Rossbach also built the largest post-war youth organization in Germany, named the Schilljugend (Schill Youth) in honor of a famous Prussian soldier. In The Black Corps, historian Robert Lewis Koehl notes that both Rossbach's Storm Troopers and the Schilljugend "were notorious for wearing brown shirts which had been prepared for German colonial troops, acquired from the old Imperial army stores" (Koehl:19). These Storm Troopers would soon become known as Nazi Brownshirts. Konrad Heiden, a contemporary of Hitler and a leading authority on Nazi history, wrote that the Freikorps "were breeding places of perversion" and that "Rossbach's troop...was especially proud" of being homosexual (Heiden:295). Rossbach's adjutant was Edmund Heines, noted for his ability to procure boys for sexual orgies. Ernst Roehm, recruited by Rossbach into homosexuality, later commanded the Storm Troopers for the Nazis, where they were more commonly known as the SA (an acronym for Sturmabteilung).
Betraying his roots in the "Butch" faction of the German "gay rights" movement, Roehm viewed homosexuality as the basis for a new society. Louis Snyder writes that Roehm "projected a social order in which homosexuality would be regarded as a human behavior pattern of high repute...he flaunted his homosexuality in public and insisted that his cronies do the same. What was needed, Roehm believed, was a proud and arrogant lot who could brawl, carouse, smash windows, kill and slaughter for the hell of it. Straights, in his eyes, were not as adept in such behavior as practicing homosexuals" (Snyder:55). "The principle function of this army-like organization," writes historian Thomas Fuchs, "was beating up anyone who opposed the Nazis, and Hitler believed this was a job best undertaken by homosexuals" (Fuchs:48f).
Was not the most outstanding, most notorious, of all homosexuals the celebrated Nazi leader Ernst Ro[e]hm, the virile and manly chief of the SA, the du buddy of Adolf Hitler from the beginning of his political career? Hitler's rise had in fact depended upon Ro[e]hm and everyone knew it. Ro[e]hm's gay fun and games were certainly no secret; his amorous forays to gay bars and gay Turkish baths were riotous. Whatever anti-homosexual sentiments may have been expressed by straight Nazis were more than offset by the reality of highly visible, spectacular, gay-loving Ro[e]hm. If there were occasional ominous rumblings and grumblings about "all those queers" in the SA and Movement, and some anti-gay flare-ups, homosexual Nazis felt more-or-less secure in the lap of the Party. After all, the National Socialist Party member who wielded the greatest power aside from Hitler was Ro[e]hm (Rector:50f).
The favorite meeting place of the SA was a "gay" bar in Munich called the Bratwurstglockl where Roehm kept a reserved table (Hohne:82). This was the same tavern where some of the earliest formative meetings of the Nazi Party had been held (Rector:69). At the Bratwurstglockl, Roehm and associates-Edmund Heines, Karl Ernst, Ernst's partner Captain Rohrbein, Captain Petersdorf, Count Ernst Helldorf and the rest-would meet to plan and strategize. These were the men who orchestrated the Nazi campaign of intimidation and terror. All of them were homosexual (Heiden:371).
Indeed, homosexuality was all that qualified many of these men for their positions in the SA. Heinrich Himmler would later complain of this: "Does it not constitute a danger to the Nazi movement if it can be said that Nazi leaders are chosen for sexual reasons?" (Gallo:57). Himmler was not so much opposed to homosexuality itself as to the fact that non- qualified people were given high rank based on their homosexual relations with Roehm and others. For example, SA Obergruppenfuhrer (Lieutenant General) Karl Ernst, a militant homosexual, had been a hotel doorman and a waiter before joining the SA. "Karl Ernst is not yet 35," writes Gallo, "he commands 250,000 men...he is simply a sadist, a common thug, transformed into a responsible official" (ibid.:50f).
This strange brand of nepotism was a hallmark of the SA. By 1933 the SA had grown far larger than the German army, yet the Vikingkorps (Officers' Corps) remained almost exclusively homosexual. "Roehm, as the head of 2,500,000 Storm Troops," writes historian H.R. Knickerbocker, "had surrounded himself with a staff of perverts. His chiefs, men of rank of Gruppenfuhrer or Obergruppenfuhrer, commanding units of several hundred thousand Storm Troopers, were almost without exception homosexuals. Indeed, unless a Storm Troop officer were homosexual he had no chance of advancement" (Knickerbocker:55).
In the SA, the Community of the Special's Hellenic ideal of masculine homosexual supremacy and militarism was fully realized. "Theirs was a very masculine brand of homosexuality," writes homosexualist historian Alfred Rowse, "they lived in a male world, without women, a world of camps and marching, rallies and sports. They had their own relaxations, and the Munich SA became notorious on account of them" (Rowse:214). The similarity of the SA to Freidlander and Brand's dream of Hellenic revival is not coincidental. In Gay American History, Jonathan Katz writes that Roehm was a prominent member of the Society for Human Rights (SHR), an offshoot of the CS (J.Katz:632).
The "relaxations" to which Rowse refers were, of course, the homosexual activities (many of them pederastic) for which the SA and the CS were both famous. Hohne writes that Roehm "used the SA for ends other than the purely political...Peter Granninger, who had been one of Roehm's partners...and was now given cover in the SA Intelligence Section. For a monthly salary of 200 marks he kept Roehm supplied with new friends, his main hunting ground being Geisela High School Munich; from this school he recruited no fewer than eleven boys, whom he first tried out and then took to Roehm" (Hohne:82).
Langer, a psychiatrist, was commissioned by the Allies in 1943 to prepare a thorough psychological study of Hitler. His report, kept under wraps for 29 years, was published in book form in 1972 as The Mind of Adolf Hitler. Langer writes that Hitler was certainly a coprophile (a person who is sexually aroused by human excrement) and may have practiced homosexuality as an adult. He cites the testimony of Hermann Rauschning, a former Hitler confidante who "reports that he has met two boys who claimed that they were Hitler's homosexual partners, but their testimony can hardly be taken at face value. More condemning," adds Langer, "would be the remarks dropped by [Albert] Foerster, the Danzig gauleiter, in conversation with Rauschning. Even here, however, the remarks deal only with Hitler's impotence as far as heterosexual relationships go, without actually implying that he indulges in homosexuality. It is probably true that Hitler calls Foerster 'Bubi,' which is a common nickname employed by homosexuals in addressing their partners. This alone is not adequate proof that he has actually indulged in homosexual practices with Foerster, who is known to be a homosexual" (Langer:178). However, writes Langer, "Even today, Hitler derives sexual pleasure from looking at men's bodies and associating with homosexuals" (Langer:179). Too, Hitler's greatest hero was Frederick the Great, a well-known homosexual (Garde:44).
Like Langer, Waite also hesitates to label Hitler a homosexual but cites substantial circumstantial evidence that he was.
Hitler, if homosexual, was certainly not exclusively so. There are at least four women, including his own niece, with whom Hitler had sexual relationships, although these relationships were not normal. Both Waite and Langer suggest that his sexual encounters with women included expressions of his coprophilic perversion as well as other extremely degrading forms of masochism. It is interesting to note that all four women attempted suicide after becoming sexually involved with Hitler. Two succeeded (Langer:175f).
It is true that Hitler was closely associated with Ernst Ro[e]hm and Rudolf Hess, two homosexuals who were among the very few people with whom he used the familiar du. But one cannot conclude that he therefore shared his friend's sexual tastes. Still, during the months he was with Hess in Landsberg, their relationship must have become very close. When Hitler left the prison he fretted about his friend who languished there, and spoke of him tenderly, using Austrian diminutives: 'Ach mein Rudy, mein Hesserl, isn't it appalling to think that he's still there.' One of Hitler's valets, Schneider, made no explicit statement about the relationship, but he did find it strange that whenever Hitler got a present he liked or drew an architectural sketch that particularly pleased him, he would run to Hess- who was known in homosexual circles as "Fraulein Anna"-as a little boy would run to his mother to show his prize to her...Finally there is the nonconclusive but interesting fact that one of Hitler's prized possessions was a handwritten love letter which King Ludwig II had written to a manservant" (Waite, 1977:283f).
Igra, who confidently asserts that the above men were homosexuals, cites still other Hitler aides and close friends who were known homosexuals as well. He states that Hitler's chauffeur and one-time personal secretary, Emile Maurice, for example, was homosexual, as well as the pornographer Julius Streicher, who "was originally a school teacher, but was dismissed by the Nuremberg School Authorities, following numerous charges of pederasty brought against him" (Igra:72f). SS Chief Heinrich Himmler's "pederastic proclivities [were] captured on film" by Nazi filmmaker Walter Frenz (Washington City Paper, April 4, 1995). Reinhard Heydrich, mastermind of the first pogrom, Kristallnacht, and of the death camps, was homosexual (Calic:64). In The Twelve Year Reich, Richard Grunberger tells of a party given by Nazi propagandist, Joseph Goebbels, which degenerated into a homosexual orgy (Grunberger:70). A recent biography of Albert Speer by Gitta Sereny speaks of a "homo-erotic (not sexual) relationship" between Speer and Hitler (Newsweek, Oct. 30, 1995). Langer notes that Hitler's personal bodyguards were "almost always 100 percent homosexuals" (Langer:179). Hitler's later public pronouncements against homosexuality never quite fit with the lifelong intimacy-sexual or otherwise-which he maintained with men he knew and accepted as homosexuals.
Reportedly, Hitler Youth leader, Baldur von Schirach was bisexual; Hitler's private attorney, Reich Legal Director, Minister of Justice, butcher Governor- General of Poland, and public gay-hater Hans Frank was said to be a homosexual; Hitler's adjutant Wilhelm Bruckner was said to be bisexual;...Walter Funk, Reich Minister of Economics [and Hitler's personal financial advisor] has frequently been called a "notorious" homosexual ...or as a jealous predecessor in Funk's post, Hjalmar Schacht, contemptuously claimed, Funk was a "harmless homosexual and alcoholic;" ...[Hitler's second in command] Hermann Goering liked to dress up in drag and wear campy make-up; and so on and so forth (Rector:57).
In light of the above it is not surprising that many of those whose ideas influenced Hitler were also homo-sexual. Chief among those were occultists Jorg Lanz Von Liebenfels and Guido von List. In 1958, Austrian psychologist Wilhelm Daim published Der Mann der Hitler die Ideen gab ("The Man Who Gave Hitler His Ideas") in which he called Lanz the true "father" of National Socialism. Lanz was a former Cistercian monk who had been excommunicated for homosexuality (Sklar:19). After being expelled from the monastery, Lanz formed an occultic order called the Ordo Novi Templi or The Order of the New Temple (ONT). The ONT was an offshoot of the Ordo Templi Orientis which practiced tantric sex rituals (Howard:91).
On Christmas day, 1907, many years before it would become the symbol of the Third Reich, Lanz and other members of the ONT raised the swastika flag over the castle which Lanz had purchased to house the order (Goodrick-Clarke:109). Lanz chose the swastika, he said, because it was the ancient pagan symbol of Wotan, the god of storms (Cavendish:1983). (Wotan, the inspiration for "Storm Troopers," was the Teutonic equivalent of Baal in the Old Testament and Zeus in Greek culture). Waite notes that it was through Lanz that Hitler would learn that most of his heroes of history were also "practicing homosexuals" (Waite, 1977:94f).
The law against homosexual conduct had existed in Germany for many years prior to the Nazi regime as Paragraph 175 of the Reich Criminal Code, to wit: "A male who indulges in criminally indecent activity with another male, or who allows himself to participate in such activity, will be punished with imprisonment" (Burleigh and Wipperman:188). When Hitler came to power he used this law as a means of tracking down and punishing those homosexuals who, in the words of one victim, "had defended the Weimar Republic, and who had tried to forestall the Nazi threat" (ibid.:183). Later he expanded the law and used it as a convenient tool to detain other enemies of the regime.
In February of 1933, Hitler banned pornography, ho-mosexual bars and bath-houses, and groups which promoted "gay rights" (Plant:50). Ostensibly, this decree was a blanket condemnation of all homosexual activity in Germany, but in practice it served as just another means to find and destroy anti-Nazi groups and individuals. "Hitler," admit Oosterhuis and Kennedy, "employed the charge of homosexuality primarily as a means to eliminate political opponents, both inside his party and out" (Oosterhuis and Kennedy: 248).
The masculine homosexuals in the Nazi leadership selectively enforced this policy only against their enemies and not against all homosexuals. Even Rector lends credence to this perspective, citing the fact that the decree "was not enforced in all cases" (Rector:66). Another indication is that the pro-Nazi Society for Human Rights (SHR) continued to participate in German society for several years after the decree. In The Racial State, Michael Burleigh and Wolfgang Wippermann remind us that Roehm was a leading member of the SHR; and we know from Anthony Read and David Fisher that the SHR was still active in Germany as late as 1940 (Read and Fisher:245). Furthermore, Oosterhuis and Kennedy write that "although he was well known as a gay-activist, [Adolf] Brand was not arrested by the Nazis" (Oosterhuis and Kennedy:7). Some of Brand's files were confiscated by the Nazis in their attempt to gather all potentially self-incriminating evidence.
In 1935, Paragraph 175 was amended with Paragraph 175a which criminalized any type of behavior that could be construed as indicating a homosexual inclination or desire (Burleigh and Wipperman: 190). (Interestingly, the new criminal code addressing homosexuality deleted the word "unnatural" from the definition-Reisman, 1994:3.) This new law provided the Nazis with an especially potent legal weapon against their enemies. It will never be known how many non-homosexuals were charged under this law, but it is indisputable that the Nazis used false accusations of homosexuality to justify the detainment and imprisonment of many of their opponents. "The law was so loosely formulated," writes Steakley, "that it could be, and was, applied against heterosexuals that the Nazis wanted to eliminate...the law was also used repeatedly against Catholic clergymen" (Steakley:111). Kogon writes that "The Gestapo readily had recourse to the charge of homosexuality if it was unable to find any pretext for proceeding against Catholic priests or irksome critics" (Kogon:44).
The charge of homosexuality was convenient for the Nazis to use against their political enemies because it was so difficult to defend against and so easy to justify to the populace. Since long before the Nazis, homosexuals had generally lived clandestine lives, so it was not unusual for revelations of their conduct to come as a surprise to their communities when it became a police matter. This is not to say that actual homosexuals were not prosecuted under the law. Many were. But the law was used selectively against the "Femmes." And even when they were threatened, many effeminate homosexuals, especially those in the arts community, were given protection by certain Nazi leaders (Oosterhuis and Kennedy:248). Plant writes:
There is one additional reason why the Nazis arrested homosexuals and raided even the homes of their supporters. They were looking for incriminating evidence against themselves (the Nazi leaders). Blackmail of homosexuals by estranged partners and prostitutes was a simple fact of life in Germany. "[H]omosexuals were particularly vulnerable to blackmailers, known as Chanteure on the homosexual scene," write Burleigh and Wippermann. "Blackmail, and the threat of public exposure, resulted in frequent suicides or suicide attempts" (Burleigh and Wipperman:184). The Nazi leaders were quite familiar with this phenomenon. Igra reports that Heinrich Hoffman, the official Nazi photographer, gained his position by using information about Hitler's perverse abuse of his (Hoffman's) daughter to blackmail the future Fuehrer (Igra:74). Heiden relates another story in which Hitler bought an entire collection of rare political writings to regain possession of a letter to his niece in which he openly revealed his "masochistic- coprophil inclinations" (Heiden:385). Once he was in power he had other ways to solve these kinds of problems.
The most famous example is that of the actor Gustaf Grundgens...Despite the fact that his homosexual affairs were as notorious as those of Roehm's, Goering appointed him director of the State Theater...[And] On October 29, 1937 ...Himmler advised that actors and other artists could be arrested for offenses against paragraph 175 only with his personal consent, unless the police caught them in flagrante (Plant:116).
Homosexualist James Steakley acknowledges the "Butch/Femme" aspect of the incident, saying that some German homosexuals "could conceivably have approved of the measure, particularly if they were Nazi sympathizers or male supremacists" (Steakley:105).
Although the Nazis themselves derived great profit from Hirschfeld's theories (and called on him personally for help), they continued his persecution relentlessly; they terrorized his meetings and closed his lecture halls, so that for the safety of his audiences and himself, Hirschfeld was no longer able to make public appearances (Haeberle:368).
However, the attack against the Institute was not motivated solely by the Nazi enmity against effeminate homosexuals. It was an attempt to cover up the truth about rampant homosexuality and other perversions in the Nazi Party. Sklar writes that, "Hitler attempted to bury all his earlier influences and his origins, and he spent a great deal of energy hiding them...[In this campaign to erase his past] Hitler ordered the murder of Reinhold Hanish, a friend who had shared his down-and-out days in Vienna" (where Hitler is suspected of having been a homosexual prostitute) (Sklar:21). Hitler also knew that Hirschfeld's facility had extensive records that could be damaging to himself and his inner circle. This was the reason for the raid, according to Ludwig L. Lenz, the assistant director of the Sex Research Institute, who was in charge on the day of the raid. A part of the following quote was cited earlier:
Burleigh and Wipperman report that the ransackers had "lists" of materials they were looking for (Burleigh and Wipperman:189) and that they carted away two truckloads of books and files. The materials taken from the Institute were burned in a public ceremony, captured on film, on May 10th. The spectacular and oft replayed newsreel footage of this event has caused the burning of books to become synonymous with Nazism. What information went up in smoke on that day will never be known, but we can infer that the pile of burning paper contained many Nazi secrets. According to homosexual sources at the time, the Nazis destroyed twelve thousand books and thirty-five thousand photographs. The building itself was confiscated from the SHC and turned over to the Nazi Association of Jurists and Lawyers (Steakley:105).
...our Institute was used by all classes of the population and members of every political party...We thus had a great many Nazis under treatment at the Institute. Why was it then, since we were completely non-party, that our purely scientific Institute was the first victim which fell to the new regime? The answer to this is simple...We knew too much. It would be against medical principles to provide a list of the Nazi leaders and their perversions [but]...not ten percent of the men who, in 1933, took the fate of Germany into their hands, were sexually normal...Many of these personages were known to us directly through consultations; we heard about others from their comrades in the party...and of others we saw the tragic results....Our knowledge of such intimate secrets regarding members of the Nazi Party and other documentary material-we possessed about forty thousand confessions and biographical letters-was the cause of the complete and utter destruction of the Institute of Sexology (Haberle:369).
We have emphasized that the leadership of the SA was mostly, if not entirely, homosexual. The fact that SA leaders were the primary targets in the massacre could therefore be construed as a sort of "moral cleansing" of the Nazi ranks, which, in fact, Hitler claimed it was. But Hitler lied. The Roehm Purge was driven by political, not moral concerns. Hitler feigned disgust and outrage about the homosexuality of the murdered SA leaders to justify himself to the German people; it was a tactic he had used previously to allay public suspicions about the sexual deviancy of his inner circle. The importance of this fact is asserted in many leading works by both mainstream and homosexualist historians. The following are excerpts from four different historians who have examined the issue:
Hitler eliminated his closest friend Roehm and certain SA leaders as potential rivals. The strictly political motivation of this ruthless power play was initially too obvious to be entirely denied, but later it was conveniently obscured by charges of homosexual depravity (Haberle:369f).
The formal accusations against Roehm and those arrested with him centered on their homosexual activities, which Hitler had of course known about for fifteen years and shrugged off, it being alleged that these activities disgraced the party. For those victims without any homosexual background, "the Great Blood Purge" continued all over Germany, as Nazi leaders got rid of all their most hated enemies, as well as the inevitable "mistakes" (Garde:726f).
Ernst Roehm wasn't shot because the Nazi Party felt outraged by the abrupt discovery that he was "having" his storm troopers-that had been known for ages; but because his sway over the SA had become a menace to Hitler. In the Hitler Youth the "dear love of comrades" was evilly turned into a political end. And if the Nazi hierarchy was well larded with homosexuals, so was Wilhelm II's court and so was the Weimar Republic (Davidson:152).
Hitler himself, of course, had been well aware of Roehm's sexual orientation from the earliest days of their long association....So strong was Roehm that the Wehrmacht [German Army High Command] was concerned that he might seize control of the army. In 1934, Hitler became fearful that the Wehrmacht was plotting a coup against him to prevent such a takeover. To forestall this danger, Hitler had Roehm and about one thousand other men murdered one weekend in June 1934, the famous "Night of the Long Knives" (Crompton:79f).Igra provides us with a long and detailed account of the power struggle which led to the purge, beginning with a refutation of the idea that it represented a policy of extermination of homosexuals by Hitler:
The Roehm Purge, then, was not a "moral cleansing" of the Nazi ranks, but a re-alignment of power behind the German government which was primarily forced upon Hitler by powerful political elements whose support he needed to maintain control. Igra goes on to point out that not only did the majority of the SA homosexuals survive the purge, but that the massacre was largely implemented by homosexuals. He cites Strasser's statement that "the Chief Killers of Munich [were] Wagner, Esser, Maurice, Weber and Buch." These men "were all known to be sex perverts or sexual maniacs of one type or another," concludes Igra (ibid.:80). Plant records that the larger campaign of assassinations across Germany was orchestrated by Reinhard Heydrich, also a well-known homosexual (Plant:56). Igra addresses Hitler's justification for the purge:
We shall find that, far from eliminating the sex perverts from his party, Hitler retained most of them, and that he moved against those whom he did eliminate only with the greatest reluctance and after he had been relentlessly pushed by outside forces and circumstances. On June 14 and 15 Hitler was in Venice to see Mussolini. It soon became common knowledge that the German Dictator and his entourage had made an unfavorable impression upon the Italians... Mussolini was never a stickler for puritan morality, to say the least, but there was one vice which the Italians particularly loathe; they call it il visio tedesco, the German vice. The conduct of some members in Hitler's entourage at Venice disgusted the Italians. Mussolini protested against the moral character and political unreliability of the leading personnel in the Nazi Storm Troops and warned Hitler that he would have to sacrifice his favorite colleagues if he wished to save his own personal prestige and that of his regime. Among those colleagues, Roehm, Heines and Karl Ernst were mentioned (Igra:77f).
In his defense before the Reichstag a week later Hitler talked of "traitors." That was his alibi...In his speech to the Reichstag he admitted that one of the motives for ordering the massacre was to get rid of the moral perverts in his party and that they were traitors because they practiced homosexualism. But under the dictatorship it was not possible for anyone to put Hitler at question. Nobody asked him to explain how it was that, if his purpose was to get rid of homosexuals, he really didn't rid himself of them but used them as the instruments of his own murder lust and still retained most of them as members of his personal entourage, as well as in key positions of the party organization and the government. Otto Strasser, in his book, The German St. Bartholemew's Night (which has not been published in English), mentions sixteen of these highly placed homosexualist officials who survived the massacres of June 30 and retained their posts (Igra:82).
While any prisoner could be chosen as a Kapo (a slave overseer), none of the other interned groups except homosexuals had counterparts among the Nazi guards and administrators. Examples of the homosexuality of the concentration camp guards can be found in many of the personal accounts of Holocaust survivors. Elie Wiesel, sent to the Buna factory camp in the Auschwitz complex, for example, acknowledges this in his book Night:
In Treblinka, the narrative account of the Treblinka uprising, Steiner records the story of another Nazi administrator, taken from interviews with survivors:
The head of our tent was a German. An assassin's face, fleshy lips, hands like wolf's paws. He was so fat he could hardly move. Like the leader of the camp he loved children...(Actually this was not a disinterested affection: there was a considerable traffic in young children among homosexuals here, I learned later) (Wiesel:59).
The enduring "Butch/Femme" conflict among German homosexuals clearly had a substantial bearing on the treatment of pink-triangle prisoners. Plant writes of one survivor who reported that "the guards lashed out with special fury against those who showed 'effeminate traits'" (Plant:172). And Rector records an interview with a former Pink Triangle named Wolf (a pseudonym) in which the issue of effeminacy was raised. "The ones who were soft, shall I say, were the ones who suffered terribly," said Wolf. Rudolf Hoess, the infamous commandant of Auschwitz, who may himself have been a "Butch" homosexual, defined "genuine homosexuals... [by their] soft and girlish affectations and fastidiousness, their sickly sweet manner of speech, and their altogether too affectionate deportment toward their fellows" (Hoess in Rector:137f). These "genuine homosexuals" were considered incorrigible and held in special barracks, while many non-effeminate homosexuals were released (ibid.:137). Hoess, incidentally, had at one time been a close friend of Edmund Heines (Snyder:301), the procurer of boys for Roehm's pederastic orgies.
Max Bielas had a harem of little Jewish boys. He liked them young, no older than seventeen. He had a kind of parody of the shepherds of Arcadia, their role was to take care of the camp flock of geese. They were dressed like little princes...Bielas had a little barracks built for them that looked like a doll's house...Bielas sought in Treblinka only the satisfaction of his homosexual instincts (Steiner:117f).
Toward the end of World War II, many homosexuals were released from the concentration camps and drafted into the German army (Shaul:688). Steven Katz cites records that "indicate that 13 percent of all homosexual camp inmates were reprieved and released" (S. Katz:146). This was happening at the same time as the Nazis' frantic push to increase their "production" in the death camps, in an effort to exterminate every last Jew in Europe before the Allies could liberate the camps.
The most famous incident in the history of the American Nazi Party resulted from its 1977 demand to stage a march through the largely Jewish neighborhood of Skokie, Illinois, a Chicago suburb and the home of many Holocaust survivors. This plan was devised by Frank Collin, who often appeared with his followers "in full Nazi regalia: brown shirts, black boots, and armbands..." Civil authorities effectively blocked the march at first, but the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) rose to Collin's aid and forced the City of Chicago to allow it. The subsequent event drew international media attention. Homosexualists Johansson and Percy in Outing: Shattering the Conspiracy of Silence have finally revealed, more than 15 years later, that Collin was a homosexual pederast. In 1979 Collin was arrested "for taking indecent liberties with boys between ages 10 and 14" and was sentenced to seven years in prison (Johansson and Percy, 1994:130).
Meanwhile, back in Germany, the alarming increase of neo-Nazi skinheads is also linked to homosexuality. Elmay Kraushaar, a journalist for Der Spiegel, Germany's equivalent to TIME, is quoted in The Advocate:
There is a gay skinhead movement in Berlin. They go to cruising areas with leaflets that say, "We don't want foreigners." A major leader of the neo-Nazis in Germany, Michael Kuhnen was an openly gay man who died of AIDS two years ago. He wrote a paper on the links between homosexuality and fascism, saying fascism is based on the love of comrades, that having sex with your comrades strengthens this bond (Anderson:54).
It was the pederasts of the Community of the Special who sponsored the revival of Hellenic pagan ideals in German society. These men were viciously anti-Jew and anti-Christian because of the injunctions against homosexuality inherent in the Judeo-Christian sexual ethic. Homosexualist Warren Johansson notes that Hans Blueher, one of the leading theoreticians of the Community of the Special, "maintained that Judaism had suppressed the homosexual aspect of its culture, with concomitant hypertrophy [enlargement] of the family" (Johansson:816). Benedict Friedlander, in an essay for Der Eigene titled "Seven Propositions," chose as his first proposition an attack on Christianity. "The white race is becoming ever sicker under the curse of Christianity, which is foreign to it and mostly harmful," writes Friedlander. "That is the genuinely bad 'Jewish influence,' an opinion that has proven true, especially through the conditions in North America" (Friedlander in Oosterhuis and Kennedy:219). For his part, Adolf Brand called Christianity "barbarism" and "expressed his desire to fight 'beyond good and evil,' not for the sake of the masses, since the happiness of 'the weak' would result in a 'slave mentality,' but for the human being who proclaimed himself a god and was not to be subdued by human laws and ethics" (Oosterhuis and Kennedy:183). We should not forget Nietzsche, who called Christianity "the lie of millennia" (Macintyre: 188).
Much has been made of the reported silence, and in some cases complicity, of the supposed Christian churches during the Third Reich. But few have noted the long period of "Biblical deconstruction" that preceded the rise of Nazism, and fewer still have chronicled the diabolical perversion of German religious culture by the Nazis themselves. While the neo-pagans were busy attacking from without, liberal theologians undermined Biblical authority from within the Christian church. The school of so-called "higher criticism," which began in Germany in the late 1800s, portrayed the miracles of God as myths; by implication making true believers (Jew and Christian alike) into fools. And since the Bible was no longer accepted as God's divine and inerrant guide, it could be ignored or reinterpreted. By the time the Nazis came to power, "Bible-believing" Christians, (the Confessing Church) were a small minority. As Grunberger asserts, Nazism itself was a "pseudo-religion" (ibid.:79) that competed, in a sense, with Christianity and Judaism.
The schools were heavily targeted in order to de-Christianize the young. Mandatory prayer in schools was stopped in 1935, and from 1941 onward, religious instruction was completely eliminated for all students over 14 years old (ibid.:494f). The Nazi Teachers Association actively discouraged its members from taking religious instruction, while at the same time many teachers of religious studies (who were all required to be licensed by the state) "inculcated neo-paganism into their pupils during periods of religious instruction." Later, teachers were outright prohibited from attending voluntary religion classes organized by the Catholic church (ibid.:495).
From the early years, leading Nazis openly attacked Christianity. Joseph Goebbels declared that "Christianity has infused our erotic attitudes with dishonesty" (Taylor:20). It is in this campaign against Judeo- Christian morality that we find the reason for the German people's acceptance of Nazism's most extreme atrocities. Their religious foundations had been systematically eroded over a period of decades by powerful social forces. By the time the Nazis came to power, German culture was spiritually bankrupt. Too often, historians have largely ignored the spiritual element of Nazi history; but if we look closely at Hitler's campaign of extermination of the Jews, it becomes clear that his ostensive racial motive obscures a deeper and more primal hatred of the Jews as the "People of God."
The probable reason for Hitler's attack on Christianity was his perception that it alone had the moral authority to stop the Nazi movement. But Christians stumbled before the flood of evil. As Poliakov notes, "[W]hen moral barriers collapsed under the impact of Nazi preaching...the same anti-Semitic movement that led to the slaughter of the Jews gave scope and license to an obscene revolt against God and the moral law. An open and implacable war was declared on the Christian tradition...[which unleashed] a frenzied and unavowed hatred of Christ and the Ten Commandments" (Poliakov:300).
There is no question that homosexuality figures prominently in the history of the Holocaust. As we have noted, the ideas for disposing of the Jews originated with Lanz von Leibenfels. The first years of terrorism against the Jews were carried out by the homosexuals of the SA. The first concentration camp, as well as the system for training its brutal guards, was the work of Ernst Roehm. The first pogrom, Kristallnacht, was orchestrated in 1938 by the homosexual Reinhard Heydrich. And it was the transvestite Goering who started the "evolution of the Final Solution...[with an] order to Heydrich (Jan. 24, 1939) concerning the solution of the Jewish question by 'emigration' and 'evacuation'" (Robinson:25). Still, despite their disproportionate role, homosexuals did not cause the Holocaust. They, along with so many others who had lost their moral bearings, were merely instruments in its enactment. The Holocaust must be blamed on the one whom the Bible compares to "a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour" (NKJ:I Peter 5:8).
Yet, while we cannot say that homosexuals caused the Holocaust, we must not ignore their central role in Nazism. To the myth of the "pink triangle"-the notion that all homosexuals in Nazi Germany were persecuted-we must respond with the reality of the "pink swastika."
[This article, excerpts from The Pink Swastika: Homosexuality in the Nazi Party by Scott Lively and Kevin Abrams (Founders Publishing Company, 1995), first appeared in Culture Wars (April 1996), edited by Dr. E. Michael Jones. The excerpt was prepared for Culture Wars by Scott Lively. Culture Wars, 206 Marquette Avenue, South Bend, IN 46617, phone (219) 289-9786.]
Click to read Bibliography attached to this article.
Laws prescribing the death penalty existed in France up to the French Revolution, in England until the early 1860's and in Scotland until the 1880's. The Enlightenment brought about some liberalization, i.e., decriminalization, of homosexuality in France and some of the German states, e.g., Bavaria. An exception to this trend, however, was Prussia. In 1871, when the Prussian-dominated German Empire (the First Reich) was established, the Reich Criminal Code expressly prohibited unnatural sex acts, including sex acts "committed between persons of male sex or by humans with animals." Such behaviors were "punishable by imprisonment; the loss of civil rights" might also be imposed. Paragraph 175 of the Reich Criminal Code reads:
Around the turn of the century there was a fairly significant gay rights movement in Germany under the leadership of Magnus Hirschfeld and his organization, the Scientific Humanitarian Committee. The major goals of the movement were to educate the public and to bring about the repeal of Paragraph 175. At the close of World War I, there was a somewhat more liberal climate in Germany and the Weimar Republic, while it did not repeal the existing law, did not enforce the law with the same zeal as the First Reich. There was a proliferation of homosexual meeting places, books, articles and films and homosexuality was considerably more open and more openly discussed.
In the mid-1920's the government reacted to these developments by attempting to enforce the laws more vigorously and to pass more restrictive legislation. In 1929, after a couple of years of debate and discussion, the attempt failed by a narrow majority in the Reichstag. Homosexuals felt that a major victory had been achieved. However, in all of the discussion, a clear voice was heard from the Nazi deputies in the Assembly who voiced the conviction that it was the Jews who were leading this movement in an attempt to undermine the morality of the German people. The racial theme in their position also emerged in their argument that homosexuality has a detrimental impact on desired Aryan family size and population increase -- thus impacting German strength. Therefore, homosexuality was incompatible with racial purity. This was later to be one of Himmler's major arguments. That voice was to become very loud and clear when the Nazi Party gained control in 1933.
Interestingly, one of Roehm's principal defenders was Heinrich Himmler. He articulated the belief that accusations against Roehm were the work of Jews who feared the SS and were trying to discredit the movement. The mood of the party, and of Himmler, changed, however, when Hitler decided in 1934 that Roehm was a threat to his authority. Specifically, Hitler feared that Roehm was attempting to turn the SA (at this time, over 2 million strong) into a militia and was planning a military challenge to Hitler. While there is no evidence that such a plan existed, Hitler ordered a purge. On June 30, 1934, Roehm, many of his supporters, and over 1,000 of Hitler's political and personal enemies, were murdered in the famous "Night of the Long Knives." While the purge was politically motivated, the justification given for it was the homosexuality of Roehm and several of his associates in the SS command.
Himmler, who had once defended Roehm, assumed leadership of the SS and, in the process, also assumed the role of ridding the movement and Germany of homosexuals. In the wake of the Roehm execution, Hitler ordered the registration of homosexuals and the Gestapo was charged with the responsibility of creating dossiers on homosexuals and other "asocials" in the Third Reich.
The following year, in 1935, the Reichstag amended Paragraph 175 of the Criminal Code to close what were seen as loopholes in the current law. The new law had three parts:
Paragraph 175: A male who commits a sex offense with another male or allows himself to be used by another male for a sex offense shall be punished with imprisonment.
Where a party was not yet twenty-one years of age at the time of the act, the court may in especially minor cases refrain from punishment.
Paragraph 175a: Penal servitude up to 10 years or, where there are mitigating circumstances, imprisonment of not less than three months shall apply to: (1) a male who, with violence or the threat of violence to body and soul or life, compels another male to commit a sex offense with him or to allow himself to be abused for a sex offense; (2) a male who, by abusing a relationship of dependence based upon service, employment or subordination, induces another male to commit a sex offense with him or to allow himself to be abused for a sex offense; (3) a male over 21 years of age who seduces a male person under twenty-one years to commit a sex offense with him or to allow himself to be abused for a sex offense; (4) a male who publicly commits a sex offense with males or allows himself to be abused by males for a sex offense or offers himself for the same.
Paragraph 175b: An unnatural sex act committed by humans with animals is punishable by imprisonment; the loss of civil rights might also be imposed.
Paragraph 174 of the penal code forbad incest and other sexual offenses with dependents, while paragraph 176 outlawed pedophilia. Persons convicted under these laws also wore the pink triangle.
The Nazi's passed other laws that targeted sex offenders. In 1933, they enacted the Law Against Dangerous Habitual Criminals and Measures for Protection and Recovery. This law gave German judges the power to order compulsory castrations in cases involving rape, defilement, illicit sex acts with children (Paragraph 176), coercion to commit sex offenses (paragraph 177), the committing of indecent acts in public including homosexual acts (paragraph 183), murder or manslaughter of a victim (paragraphs 223-226), if they were committed to arouse or gratify the sex drive, or homosexual acts with boys under 14. The Amendment to the Law for the Prevention of Offspring with Hereditary Diseases dated June 26, 1935, allowed castration indicated by reason of crime for men convicted under paragraph 175 if the men consented. These new laws defined homosexuals as "asocials" who were a threat to the Reich and the moral purity of Germany. The punishment for "chronic homosexuals" was incarceration in a concentration camp. A May 20, 1939 memo from Himmler allows concentration camp prisoners to be blackmailed into castration.
In effect, the definition of "public morality" was made a police matter. In 1936, Himmler created the Reich Central Office for the Combating of Homosexuality and Abortion and appointed Joseph Meisinger to head up the office. The results of these administrative changes is very apparent. According to Burleigh and Wipperman (1991:192):
...While in 1934 766 males were convicted and imprisoned, in 1936 the figure exceeded 4,000, and in 1938 8,000. Moreover, from 1937 onwards many of those involved were sent to concentration camps after they had served their "regular" prison sentence...
If you further take into account the facts that I have not yet mentioned, namely that with a static number of women, we have two million men too few on account of those who fell in the war, then you can well imagine how this imbalance of two million homosexuals and two million war dead, or in other words a lack of about four million men capable of having sex, has upset the sexual balance sheet of Germany, and will result in a catastrophe.
I would like to develop a couple of ideas for you on the question of homosexuality. There are those homosexuals who take the view: what I do is my business, a purely private matter. However, all things which take place in the sexual sphere are not the private affair of the individual, but signify the life and death of the nation, signify world power...
After likening the homosexual who was killed and thrown into a peat bog to the weeding process in a garden, Himmler continued his tirade:
...In the SS, today, we still have about one case of homosexuality a month. In a whole year, about eight to ten cases occur in the entire SS. I have now decided upon the following: in each case, these people will naturally be publicly degraded, expelled, and handed over to the courts. Following completion of the punishment imposed by the court, they will be sent, by my order, to a concentration camp, and they will be shot in the concentration camp, while attempting to escape. I will make that known by order to the unit to which the person so infected belonged. Thereby, I hope finally to have done with persons of this type in the SS, and the increasingly healthy blood which we are cultivating for Germany, will be kept pure.
Over the next two years, an intricate network of informants was developed. School children were encouraged to inform on teachers they suspected of homosexuality, employers on employees and vice versa. Homosexuals who were arrested were used to create lists of homosexuals or suspected homosexuals. The clear intention was to identify every homosexual in Germany and move them to concentration camps.
Himmler clearly recognized that these strategies would not solve the sexual imbalance problem in Germany. Instead, the purpose of the plan was, in Himmler's own words, to "identify" the homosexual and remove them from society. He still needed a rationale for exterminating them. As in the case with the Gypsies , Himmler fell back on "medical science" as the solution to the homosexuality problem.
Precise figures on the number of homosexuals exterminated in Nazi Death camps have never been established. Estimates range from 10,000 to 15,000. It does not appear that the Nazis ever set it as their goal to completely eradicate all homosexuals. Rather, it seems, the official policy was to either re-educate those homosexuals who were "behaviorally" and only occasionally homosexual and to block those who were "incurable" homosexuals through castration, extreme intimidation, or both. For a fascinating empirical sociological examination of this idea, the reader is referred to the work of Reudiger Lautmann. Nor does it appear that their efforts extended beyond Germany itself to the occupied territories.
However, the numerous testimonies by homosexuals who survived the camp experience suggest that the SS had a much less tolerant view. Those who wore the pink triangle were brutally treated by camp guards and other categories of inmates, particularly those who wore the green (criminals), red (political criminals) and black (asocials) triangles. The following testimony by survivor, Heinz Heger, provides a dramatic illustration:
Extracted from: Heger, Heinz. The men with the Pink Triangles. Alyson Publications 1980:34-37.
"... Our block was only occupied by homosexuals, with about 250 men in each wing. We could only sleep in our night-shirts, and had to keep our hands outside the blankets, for: 'You queer arse-holes aren't going to start wanking here!'
"The windows of had a centimetre of ice on them. Anyone found with his underclothes on in bed, or his hand under his blanket -- there were checks almost every night -- was taken outside and had serveral bowls of water poured over him before being left standing outside for a good hour. Only a few people survived this treatment. The least result was bronchitis, and it was rare for any gay person taken into the sick-bay to come out alive. We who wore the pink triangle were prioritised for medical experiments, and these generally ended in death. For my part, therefore, I took every care I could not to offend against the regulations.
"Our block senior and his aides were 'greens', i.e. criminals. They look it, and behaved like it too. Brutal and merciless towards us 'queers', and concerned only with their own privelege and advantage, they were as much feared by us as the SS.
"In Sachsenhausen, at least, a homosexual was never permitted to have any position of responsibility. Nor could we even speak with prisoners from other blocks, with a different coloured badge; we were told we might try to seduce them. And yet, homosexuality was much more rife in the other blocks, where there were no men with the pink triangle, than it was in our own.
"We were also forbidden to approach nearer than five metres of the other blocks. Anyone caught doing so was whipped on the 'horse', and was sure of at least 15 to 20 strokes. Other categories of prisoner were similarly forbidden to enter our block. We were to remain isolated as the damnedest of the damned, the camp's 'shitty queers', condemned to liquidation and helpless prey to all torments inflicted by the SS and Capos.
"The day regularly began at 6 a.m., or 5 a.m. in the summer, and in just half an hour we had to be washed, dressed and have our beds made up in military style. If you still had time, you could have breakfast, which meant a hurried slurping down the thin flour soup, hot or luke-warm, and eating your piece of bread. Then we had to form up in eights on the parade-ground for morning roll-call. Work followed, in winter from 7.30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and in summer from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., with a half hour break at the workplace. After work, straight back to camp and immediate parade for evening roll-call.
"Each block marched in formation to the parade-ground and had its permanent position there. The morning parade was not so drawn-out as the much feared evening roll-call, for only the block numbers were counted, which took about an hour, and then the command was given for work detachments to form up.
"At every parade, those that had just died had to be present, i.e. they were laid out at the end of each block and counted as well. Only after the parade, and having been tallied by the report officer, were they taken to the mortuary and subsequently burned.
"Disabled prisoners also had to be present for parade. Time and again we helped or carried comrades to the parade-ground who had been beaten by the SS only hours before. Or we had to bring along fellow-prisoners who were half-frozen or feverish, so as to have our numbers complete. Any man missing from our block meant many blows and thus many deaths.
"We new arrivals were now assigned to our work, which was to keep the area around the block clean. That, at least, was what we were told by the NCO in charge. In reality, the purpose was to break the very last spark of independent spirit that might possibly remain in the new prisoners, by senseless yet heavy labour, and to destroy the little human dignity that we still retained. This work continued til a new batch of pink-triangle prisoners were delivered to our block and we were replaced.
"Our work, then, was as follows. In the morning we had to cart the snow outside our block from the left side of the road to the right side. In the afternoon we had to cart the same snow back from the right side to the left. We didn't have barrows and shovels to perform this work either, that would have been far too simple for us 'queers'. No, our SS masters had thought up something much better.
"We had to put our coats with the buttoned side backward, and take the snow away in the container this provided We had to shovel up the snow with our hands -- our bare hands, as we didn't have any gloves. We worked in teams of two. Twenty turns at shovelling up the snow with our hands, then twenty turns at carrying it away. And so, right throught the evening, and all at the double!
"This mental and bodily torment lasted six days, until at last new pink-triangle prisoners were delivered to our block and took over for us. Our hands were cracked all over and half frozen off, and we had become dumb and indifferent slaves of the SS.
"I learned from prisoners who had already been in our block a good while that in summer similar work was done with earth and sand. "Above the gate of the prison camp, however, the 'meaningful' Nazi slogan was written in big capitals: 'Freedom through work!'"
Furthermore, homosexuals were at another important disadvantage. They lacked the group support within the camp to maintain morale. As Lautmann observes:
The prisoners with the pink triangle had certainly shown "precamp" qualities of survival, but they did not get a chance to apply these qualities in the camp. Because their subculture and organizations had been wantonly destroyed, no group solidarity developed inside the camp...Since every contact outside was regarded as suspicious, homosexuals did not even dare speak to one another inside (as numerous survivors have reported in interviews).
Death rates for homosexuals were much higher, perhaps three to four times higher, than for other non-Jewish categories of prisoners. While their overall numbers are small, their fate in the camps more nearly approximates that of Jews than any of the other categories, except, perhaps, Gypsies. And, homosexuals did not survive for very long. Of those who were exterminated, most were exterminated within the first few months of the camp experience.
However, the contemporary Gay Rights Movement, both in the United States and in Europe, has led to a re-opening of the plight of homosexuals in Nazi Germany. The unparalleled treatment of homosexuals under the Nazi regime raises the same questions raised by the Holocaust itself: How could it happen? Can it happen again? And, how can its recurrence be prevented?
Burleigh, Michael and Wolfgang Wipperman. The Racial State: Germany, 1933-1945. New York: Cambridge, 1991.
Ford and Beach. Patterns of Sexual Behavior, New York: Harper and Row, 1952.
Heger, Heinz. The Men With the Pink Triangle. Boston: Alyson Publishing Co., 1980.
Laska, Vera. Women in the Resistance and in the Holocaust: The Voices of Eyewitnesses. Westport: Greenwood Press, 1983.
Lautmann, Reudiger. "Gay Prisoners in Concentration Camps Compared with Jehovah's Witnesses and Political Criminals," in Licata and Peterson, eds., Historical Perspectives on Homosexuality. New York: 1981. < width="32" height="32"> Return to Holocaust Page