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Homosexuals by mikeholy



                       As part of the Nazis’ attempt to purify

                       German society and propagate an

                       “Aryan master race,” they condemned

                       homosexuals as “socially aberrant.”

                       Soon after taking office on January 30,

                       1933, Hitler banned all homosexual

                       and lesbian organizations. Brownshirted

                       storm troopers raided the institutions

                       and gathering places of homosexuals.

                       Greatly weakened and driven under-

                       ground, this subculture had flourished

                       in the relative freedom of the 1920s, in

Cover: A portrait of   the pubs and cafes of Berlin, Hamburg,
  two companions.
 Berlin, Germany,
 1926. Schwules        Munich, Bremen, and other cities.
Museum, Berlin.
                                                                                                 HOMOSEXUALS: VICTIMS OF THE NAZI ERA

                                                                                                   On May 6, 1933, Nazis           In 1934, a special Gestapo
                                                                                                 ransacked the “Institute        (Secret State Police) division
                                                                                                 for Sexual Science” in          on homosexuals was set up.
                                                                                                 Berlin; four days later as      One of its first acts was to
                                                                                                 part of large public burn-      order the police “pink lists”
                                                                                                 ings of books viewed as         from all over Germany.
                                                                                                 “un-German,” thousands          The police had been compil-
                                                                                                 of books plundered from the     ing these lists of suspected
                                                                                                 Institute’s library were        homosexual men since 1900.
                                                                                                 thrown into a huge bonfire.     On September 1, 1935, a
                                                                                                 The institute was founded       harsher, amended version
                                                                         Auschwitz mug shot      in 1919 by Dr. Magnus           of Paragraph 175 of the
                                                                       of homosexual August      Hirschfeld (1868–1935).         Criminal Code, originally
                                                                      Pfeiffer, a servant, who
                                                                                                 It sponsored research and       framed in 1871, went into
                                                                          was born August 8,
                                                                      1895, in Weferlingen,      discussion on marital prob-     effect, punishing a broad
                                                                       Germany. He arrived       lems, sexually transmitted      range of “lewd and lascivi-
                                                                              at Auschwitz on
                                                                                                 diseases, and laws relating     ous” behavior between men.
                                                                          November 1, 1941,
                                                                                and died there   to sexual offenses, abortion,   In 1936 Nazi leader
                                                                        December 28, 1941.       and homosexuality. The          Heinrich Himmler created a
                                                                                                 author of many works,           Reich Central Office for the
                                                                                 Mug shot of
                                                                         Friedrich Althoff, a    Hirschfeld, himself a homo-     Combating of Homosexuality
                                                                                  waiter from    sexual, led efforts for three   and Abortion: Special Office
                                                                        Düsseldorf, who was
                                                                       born May 16, 1899.
                                                                                                 decades to reform laws crim-    (II S), a subdepartment of
                                                                         He was arrested on      inalizing homosexuality. (In    Executive Department II of
                                                                       charges of homosexu-      1933 Hirschfeld happened        the Gestapo. The linking of
                                                                           ality. Düsseldorf,
                                                                         Germany, January        to be in France, where he       homosexuality and abortion
                                                                                   25, 1939.     remained until his death.)      reflected the Nazi regime’s
(Top) State Museum Auschwitz, Oswiecim, Poland. (Bottom) Nordrhein-
Westfälisches Hauptstaatsarchiv, Düsseldorf, RW 58-61940.
population policies to pro-     Germany in 1928. Between                                  A HOMOSEXUAL RECALLS 1933
mote a higher birthrate of      1933–45, an estimated
its “Aryan” population. On      100,000 men were arrested         One man (right)
                                                                  recounts how the
this subject, Himmler spoke     as homosexuals, and of            Nazis’ assumption of             Then came the thunderbolt of the 30 January 1933, and we
in Bad Tölz on February 18,     these, some 50,000 officially     power in 1933 limited         knew that a change of political climate had taken place. What we
                                                                  homosexuals’ freedom
1937, before a group of high-   defined homosexuals were                                        had tried to prevent, had taken place.
                                                                  and created an atmos-
ranking SS officers on the      sentenced. Most of these          phere of fear.                   Over the years, more and more of my political friends disap-
dangers both homosexuality      men spent time in regular                                       peared, of my Jewish and of my homosexual friends. Fear came
                                                                                                over us with the increasingly coordinated pressure of the Nazis.
and abortion posed to the       prisons, and an estimated
                                                                                                For heaven’s sake not to attract attention, to exercise restraint.
German birthrate.               5,000 to 15,000 of the total                                    1933 was the starting-point for the persecution of homosexuals.
  Under the revised Para-       sentenced were incarcerated                                     Already in this year we heard of raids on homosexual pubs and
graph 175 and the creation      in concentration camps.                                         meeting places. Maybe individual, politically uneducated homo-
of Special Office II S, the       How many of these 5,000                                       sexuals who were only interested in immediate gratification did
number of prosecutions          to 15,000 “175ers” perished                                     not recognize the significance of the year 1933, but for us homo-
                                                                                                sexuals who were also politically active, who had defended the
increased sharply, peaking      in the concentration camps
                                                                                                Weimar Republic, and who had tried to forestall the Nazi threat,
in the years 1937–1939.         will probably never be                                          1933 initially signified a reinforcing of our resistance.
Half of all convictions for     known. Historical research                                         In order not to mutually incriminate ourselves, we decided to
homosexual activity under       to date has been very limited.                                  no longer recognize each other. When we came across each other
the Nazi regime occurred        One leading scholar,                                            in the street, we passed by without looking at one another. There
during these years. The         Ruediger Lautmann,                                              were certain possibilities for us to meet, but that never happened
                                                                                                in public.
police stepped up raids on      believes that the death
                                                                                                   For a politicized homosexual, visiting places which were part of
homosexual meeting places,      rate for “175ers” in the                                        the homosexual subculture was too dangerous. Friends told me
seized address books of         camps may have been                                             that raids on bars were becoming more frequent. And someone
arrested men to find addi-      as high as sixty percent.                                       had written on the wall of the subway tunnel of the Hamburg S-
tional suspects, and created      All prisoners of the camps                                    Bahn between Dammtor station and the main station, “Street of
networks of informers to        wore marks of various colors                                    the Lost.” That was some sort of film or book title. We found this
                                                                                                graffiti very amusing, for most of us tried to cope with the thing by
compile lists of names and      and shapes, which allowed
                                                                                                developing a sort of gallows humor.
make arrests.                   guards and camp function-
  An estimated 1.2 million      aries to identify them by cate-                                 From Hans-Georg Stümke and Rudi Finkler, Rosa Winkel, Rosa Listen,
men were homosexuals in         gory. The uniforms of those                                     Homosexuelle und ‘Gesundes Volksempfinden’ von Auschwitz bis
                                                                                                heute (Hamburg, 1981), trans. in Michael Burleigh and Wolfgang Wippermann,
                                                                                                The Racial State: Germany 1933–1945 (New York, 1991), pp. 182–83.
                                                                PARAGRAPH 175                               sentenced as homosexuals       men to heterosexuals: the
                                                                                                            bore various identifying       surgical insertion of a
                                                                                                            marks, including a large       capsule which released the

   175. A male who commits lewd and lascivious acts with another                                            black dot and a large          male hormone testosterone.
male or permits himself to be so abused for lewd and lascivious                                             “175” drawn on the back        Such procedures reflected
acts, shall be punished by imprisonment. In a case of a participant                                         of the jacket. Later a pink    the desire by Himmler and
under 21 years of age at the time of the commission of the act, the                                         triangular patch (rosa         others to find a medical
court may, in especially slight cases, refrain from punishment.                                             Winkel) appeared.              solution to homosexuality.
   175a. Confinement in a penitentiary not to exceed ten years
                                                                                                              Conditions in the camps        The vast majority of homo-
and, under extenuating circumstances, imprisonment for not less
than three months shall be imposed:                                                                         were generally harsh for all   sexual victims were males;
   1. Upon a male who, with force or with threat of imminent dan-                                           inmates, many of whom died     lesbians were not subjected
ger to life and limb, compels another male to commit lewd and                                               from hunger, disease,          to systematic persecution.
lascivious acts with him or compels the other party to submit to                                            exhaustion, exposure to the    While lesbian bars were
abuse for lewd and lascivious acts;                                                                         cold, and brutal treatment.    closed, few women are
   2. Upon a male who, by abuse of a relationship of dependence
                                                                                                            Many survivors have testi-     believed to have been arrest-
upon him, in consequence of service, employment, or subordina-
tion, induces another male to commit lewd and lascivious acts                                               fied that men with pink        ed. Paragraph 175 did not
with him or to submit to being abused for such acts;                                                        triangles were often treated   mention female homosexual-
   3. Upon a male who being over 21 years of age induces another                                            particularly severely by       ity. Lesbianism was seen by
male under 21 years of age to commit lewd and lascivious acts                                               guards and inmates alike       many Nazi officials as alien
with him or to submit to being abused for such acts;                                                        because of widespread biases   to the nature of the Aryan
   4. Upon a male who professionally engages in lewd and lascivi-
                                                                                                            against homosexuals. As was    woman. In some cases, the
ous acts with other men, or submits to such abuse by other men,
or offers himself for lewd and lascivious acts with other men.                                              true with other prisoner       police arrested lesbians as
   175b. Lewd and lascivious acts contrary to nature between                                                categories, some homosexu-     “asocials” or “prostitutes.”
human beings and animals shall be punished by imprisonment;                          In 1935 the Nazi       als were also victims of       One woman, Henny
loss of civil rights may also be imposed.                                                regime revised     cruel medical experiments,     Schermann, was arrested in
                                                                                 Paragraph 175 of the
                                                                                                            including castration. At       1940 in Frankfurt and was
                                                                                 German criminal code
                                                                                 to make illegal a very     Buchenwald concentration       labelled “licentious lesbian”
                                                                                         broad range of     camp, SS physician Dr. Carl    on her mug shot; but she was
                                                                                behavior between men.
                                                                                      This is the text of   Vaernet performed opera-       also a “stateless Jew,” suffi-
                                                                                  the revised law (left).   tions designed to convert      cient cause for deportation.
English translation by Warren Johannson and William Percy in “Homosexuals in
Nazi Germany,” Simon Wiesenthal Center Annual, Vol. 7 (1990).
H o m o s e x u a l s ~ V i c t i m s             o f    t h e   N a z i                E r a ~ 1 9 3 3 - 1 9 4 5

                                                                                                                               Dr. Magnus
                                                                                                                      Hirschfeld, a Jew and
                                                                                                                      homosexual, founded
                                                                                                                    the Institute for Sexual
                                                                                                                          Sciences. Berlin,
                                                                                                                          Germany, 1928.

                                                                  The Institute for
                                                                  Sexual Sciences
                                                                  during a Nazi raid.
                                                                  Berlin, Germany,
                                                                  May 6, 1933.

                                    The closing of the
                               Eldorado, a club where
                               homosexuals socialized.
                                   Berlin, Germany,
                                     March 5, 1933.

                                                                  (Top) Suddeutscher Verlag Bilderdienst, Munich, Germany. (Bottom) Akademie
Landesbildstelle Berlin.                                          der Kunste, Berlin.
                                                                                          NAZI LEADER HEINRICH HIMMLER ON THE
Among the Jewish inmates         deported to Nazi-established   In a speech that
                                                                Himmler gave before a
                                                                                         “QUESTION OF HOMOSEXUALITY”
at Ravensbrück concentra-        ghettos in eastern Europe.
                                                                conference of SS offi-
tion camp selected for exter-    Nor were they transported      cers on February 17,
mination, she was gassed in      in mass groups of homosex-     1937, he included
                                                                                                  If you further take into account the facts I have not yet men-
                                                                remarks on the ques-
the Bernburg psychiatric         ual prisoners to Nazi exter-                                  tioned, namely that with a static number of women, we have
                                                                tion of homosexuality.
hospital, a “euthanasia”         mination camps in Poland.                                     two million men too few on account of those who fell in the war
killing center in Germany,         It should be noted that                                     [of 1914–18], then you can well imagine how this imbalance of
in 1942.                         Nazi authorities sometimes                                    two million homosexuals and two million war dead, or in other
                                                                                               words a lack of about four million men capable of having sex,
  Homosexuality outside          used the charge of homosex-
                                                                                               has upset the sexual balance sheet of Germany, and will result
Germany (and incorporated        uality to discredit and                                       in a catastrophe.
Austria and other annexed        undermine their political                                        I would like to develop a couple of ideas for you on the ques-
territories) was not a subject   opponents. Charges of                                         tion of homosexuality. There are those homosexuals who take the
generally addressed in Nazi      homosexuality among the                                       view: what I do is my business, a purely private matter. However,
ideology or policy; the          SA (Storm trooper) leader-                                    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,
concern focused on the           ship figured prominently
                                                                                               signify world power or ‘swissification.’ The people which has many
impact of homosexuality on       among justifications for the                                   children has the candidature for world power and world domina-
the strength and birthrate       bloody purge of SA chief                                      tion. A people of good race which has too few children has a one-
of the Aryan population.         Ernst Röhm in June 1934.                                      way ticket to the grave, for insignificance in fifty or a hundred
During the war years, 1939       Nazi leader Hermann                                           years, for burial in two hundred and fifty years….
to 1945, the Nazis did not       Göring used trumped-up                                           Therefore we must be absolutely clear that if we continue to
                                                                                               have this burden in Germany, without being able to fight it, then
generally instigate drives       accusations of homosexual
                                                                                               that is the end of Germany, and the end of the Germanic world….
against homosexuality in         improprieties to unseat
German-occupied countries.       army supreme commander
  Consequently, the vast         Von Fritsch, an opponent of
majority of homosexuals          Hitler’s military policy, in
arrested under Paragraph         early 1938. Finally, a 1935
175 were Germans or              propaganda campaign and
Austrians. Unlike Jews, men      two show trials in 1936 and
arrested as homosexuals          1937 alleging rampant
were not systematically          homosexuality in the priest-
                                                                                               Translated in Michael Burleigh and Wolfgang Wipperman, The Racial State:
                                                                                               Germany 1933–1945 (New York, 1991), pp. 192–93.
                                       BREAKING THE SILENCE:                                       hood, attempted to undercut    Republic (West Germany)
                              FRIEDRICH-PAUL VON GROSZHEIM                                         the power of the Roman         until 1969, so that well after
                                                                            Friedrich-Paul von     Catholic Church in             liberation, homosexuals
                                                                         Groszheim, one of the
   Friedrich-Paul von Groszheim was arrested for the first time in        “forgotten victims” of   Germany, an institution        continued to fear arrest
1937 with 230 other men, in a mass arrest of homosexuals in             the Holocaust, recently    which many Nazi officials      and incarceration.
                                                                            broke his silence to
Lübeck, a German port on the Baltic Sea. In 1938 von Groszheim                                     considered their most            Research on Nazi persecu-
                                                                                give testimony.
was again arrested, tortured, and given the choice between castra-                                 powerful potential enemy.      tion of homosexuals was
tion and concentration camp. He submitted to the operation and
                                                                                                     After the war, homosexual    impeded by the criminaliza-
survived, but only told his story in 1992.
                      Von Groszheim told his story on a new film in                                concentration camp prison-     tion and social stigmatiza-
                   German with English subtitles We Were Marked                                    ers were not acknowledged      tion of homosexuals in
                   with a Big A, which was shown at the United                                     as victims of Nazi persecu-    Europe and the United
                   States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 1993.                                       tion, and reparations were     States in the decades follow-
                   A video of the film is available in the Museum
                                                                                                   refused. Under the Allied      ing the Holocaust. Most
                   Shop. Von Groszheim’s story is also one of nine
                                                                                                   Military Government of         survivors were afraid or
                   stories of homosexual victims told on Museum
                   Identity Cards; his identity card may be                                        Germany, some homosexuals      ashamed to tell their stories.
                   accessed at the Wexner Learning Center by                                       were forced to serve out       Recently, especially in
touching I.D. Card Stories on the menu and then keying in 5364.                                    their terms of imprisonment,   Germany, new research
   Von Groszheim was never acknowledged as a victim of the Nazi                                    regardless of the time spent   findings on these “forgotten
regime, and due to on-going persecution of homosexuals in
                                                                                                   in concentration camps.        victims” have been pub-
Germany, it took nearly half a century before he broke his silence.
Recently he explained why he began to speak out: “I’m living                                       The 1935 version of            lished, and some survivors
proof that Hitler didn’t win. I’m aware of that every day. If I don’t                              Paragraph 175 remained in      have broken their silence to
tell my story, who will know the truth?”                                                           effect in the Federal          give testimony.
              FOR FURTHER INFORMATION                                                      MUSEUM HOLDINGS

                VISIT THE PERMANENT EXHIBITION                                                    COLLECTIONS
The Burning of Books (4th floor)                                        Limited number of documents pertaining to arrest and incarcera-
                                                                        tion of homosexuals.
Enemies of the State (4th floor)
                                                                        Numerous photographs, including those of groups, mug shots,
Prisoners of the Camps (3rd floor): two pink triangular patches; “mug
                                                                        individual portraits, gay/lesbian bars, public baths, and the raid
shots” of prisoners
                                                                        on Institute for Sexual Sciences.
Return to Life (2nd floor)
                                                                        Several recently published scholarly studies in German, in addi-
                                                                        tion to older books in English, such as Heger’s and Plant’s,
From the MENU choose TOPIC LIST. From the alphabetical list of          aimed at general readers.
topics choose “MOSAIC OF VICTIMS: Nazi persecution of a mosaic
of victims.” Choose “Homosexuals” to learn more about the perse-
cution of homosexuals.
From the MENU choose ID CARD. Type in the following numbers
to read about the experiences of homosexuals who were perse-
cuted during the Holocaust: 5364; 5894; 5664; 5863; 3864; 7264;
5336; 5856; 3956.
                 RECOMMENDED READING

Burleigh, Michael, and Wolfgang Wippermann. The Racial State:
Germany 1933–1945 (Cambridge, England, 1991).
Heger, Heinz. The Men with the Pink Triangle (Boston, 1994).
Isherwood, Christopher. Christopher and His Kind (New York, 1976).
Lautmann, Ruediger. “Gay Prisoners in Concentration Camps as
Compared with Jehovah’s Witnesses and Political Prisoners,” in
Michael Berenbaum, ed., A Mosaic of Victims: Non-Jews Persecuted and
Murdered by the Nazis (New York, 1990), pp. 200–221.
Plant, Richard. The Pink Triangle: The Nazi War against Homosexuals
(New York, 1986).
Wolff, Charlotte. Magnus Hirschfeld: A Portrait of a Pioneer in Sexology
(London, 1986).
         United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
100 Raoul Wallenberg Place, SW Washington, D.C. 20024-2150

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