Monday, November 13, 2017

Today in 1933: German Third Reich Advises Police to Send Gays to Concentration Camp

Upon the rise of Adolf Hitler and the National Socialist German Workers Party (the Nazi Party) in Germany, gay men and, to a lesser extent, lesbians, were two of the numerous groups targeted by the Nazis and were ultimately among Holocaust victims. Beginning in 1933, gay organizations were banned, scholarly books about homosexuality, and sexuality in general were burned, and homosexuals within the Nazi Party itself were murdered. The Gestapo compiled lists of homosexuals, who were compelled to sexually conform to the "German norm."

Today, November 13, in 1933, top-level members of the Third Reich advised the Head of Police to transport homosexuals and "transvestites" to the concentration camp Fuhlsbuttel. The camp had recently established homosexuals as a category of prisoner.

Between 1933 and 1945, an estimated 100,000 men were arrested as homosexuals, of whom some 50,000 were officially sentenced. Most of these men served time in regular prisons, and an estimated 5,000 to 15,000 of those sentenced were incarcerated in Nazi concentration camps. It is unclear how many of the 5,000 to 15,000 would die in the camps, but leading scholar Rüdiger Lautmann believes that the death rate of homosexuals in concentration camps may have been as high as 60 percent. Homosexuals in the camps were treated to an unusual degree of cruelty by their captors.

After the war, the treatment of homosexuals in concentration camps went unacknowledged by most countries, and some men were even re-arrested and imprisoned based on evidence found during the Nazi years. It was not until the 1980s that governments began to acknowledge this episode, and not until 2002 that the German government apologized to the gay community. This period still provokes controversy, however. In 2005, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on the Holocaust, which included the persecution of homosexuals.

1 comment:

Alan Scott said...

After over 80 years, it seems all the gains we've made are slowly being erased. Under the current administration many of our equal rights have been or the attempt has been made to remove them.