Four articles about Gay Holocaust Survivors

Remembering the gay victims of the Holocaust

pink-triangle-holocaust-inmate1 via ADignorantium.

In collective memory, gay victims of the camps have long been neglected, but in the past few years memorialization has begun to recognize gay suffering.

via Remembering the gay victims of the Holocaust | Slate.

Re-Victimization of Homosexual Targets of the Nazi Regime

Lisa Wade, PhD |Sociological Images

A hundred thousand men and women identified as homosexuals were imprisoned during the Nazi regime. They were detained under a law known as “paragraph 175,” which made sodomy illegal.  Up to 15,000 were sent to concentration camps instead of prisons.  Nearly 2/3rds would die there.  The last surviving victim is believed to have died in 2011.

These men and women were not only victims of Nazi Germany, surviving torture in concentration camps, they were also denied validation as victims of the Third Reich.  They were classified as criminals upon release and included on lists of sex offenders.  Some were re-captured and imprisoned again.

The world went on to mourn the inhumanity of the Holocaust, but not for them.  Because they were designated as non-victims, and also because they were stigmatized sexual minorities, they were largely excluded from the official history of Hitler’s Germany.

via The Re-Victimization of Homosexual Targets of the Nazi RegimeSociological Images. [2013]

Last Known gay Holocaust survivor has died

gad beck obituary
via The last known gay Jewish Holocaust survivor has died. [2012]

Remembering Gay Victims of the Holocaust


By now, most people are familiar with the Pink Triangle which […] has a dark history, one that isn’t taught in school. I remember a teacher talking about nazis exterminating millions of Jews and “others,” as if the others were an insignificant footnote of world history. When pressed, he explained that the ‘others’ were made up of gypsies, socialists, deviants and political prisoners.

via #InternationalHolocaustRememberanceDay Remembering Gay Victims of the Holocaust | ADignorantium.

“ Other Victims ”


In terms of Germany’s postwar rehabilitation efforts, said Dorf, gay men were excluded from reparation claims because, until 1969, Paragraph 175 remained on the books.


“They weren’t acknowledged as victims, because they were still criminals,” she said.


Interestingly, Dorf pointed out, homosexuals are the only group of people oppressed by the Nazis whose modern descendants—the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community—have reclaimed a forced Nazi emblem. The pink triangle—an identifier much like the yellow star Jews were made to wear—is now used as a symbol of their movement for equality.


Likewise, “Paragraph 175” producer Michael Ehrenzweig — who is Jewish, part-German, Austrian-born and gay — explained to the audience, “German Television told me, ‘This is not the Holocaust, this is another story,'” when he approached them about airing the film.

He also said the immediate reaction toward the documentary by viewers at two Israeli film festivals was, “Don’t take the Holocaust away from us.”

After participating in similar panels in Tel Aviv and Haifa, Ehrenzweig said that initial attitude evolved into one of profound realization.

“Many Jews had no idea there were non-Jews involved in Nazi persecution… People realized they were in the same boat; it’s the same lack of humanity.”

However, Parks and Dorf both relayed they had been confronted by Jewish leaders and groups who felt their work on behalf of non-Jewish survivors was “negating” the fact that, as Lichti put it, “the central demonizing character for the Nazis was the Jew.”

via Advocates in S.F. speak out for Holocaust’s ‘other’ victims | j. the Jewish news weekly of Northern California. [2000]


4 thoughts on “Four articles about Gay Holocaust Survivors

  1. I can certainly understand how Jewish leaders and groups could feel that work on behalf of ‘non-Jewish’ survivors was negating the fact that “the central demonizing character for the Nazis was the Jew.” Those who belong to the groups of “others” must respect that. As a gay man, I might empathize with homosexual Holocaust victims but I will never know the pain and loss felt by those whose family had been torn apart.

    My issue has always been with the glossing over of the “others” by educators. Thankfully, we seem to be correcting that.

    Anyway, Thank you for including me in your well put together post.

    • I get that they feel sometimes it is a misplacement, but it hardly ‘negates’ that. Especially as these articles points out that they were FURTHER victimized afterwards by being refused acknowledgement until 1980, after decriminalization in 1960s (or the end to Paragraph 175). However if I speak on the Transatlantic Slave Trade or the genocide of indigenous people in America, and again possibly call them a “Holocaust” (when by some counts they exceed the deaths by the Nazis) I’m not doing them a disservice either … although I understand (as in people calling things “their 9/11” etc… (having lost someone close this is infuriating).

      Yet when talking about the other victims of the Holocaust, who get very little attention, it is not a disservice to anyone, in fact it can often be more inclusive, helping people see beyond the Jewish, and that they could in turn have been one of the victims. (sorry going to hit send now, so long I can’t check for typos or even clarity)

    • To bring what I was trying to say more clarity ~ I included just that sort of push back against the film for in recognizing it, and the ultimate final “aha” moments, going from “take the Holocaust away from us” mentality… because again the people we are talking about viewing the film etc…are from another generation, another era… and bringing a wider understanding to what happened is important. The actual diaspora not just of the victims, but of the lives touched. Writing that history of the other marginalized & oppressed people should be paramount moving forward. Likewise I don’t mind saying that surely the movie was met with some rather opaque homophobia, among other things, and that audiences today will not feel exactly as those people did even a few years ago.

      The “memorialization” process has just only begun, and we have a long way to go to recording and capturing it, even absent any first-hand survivors or accounts. Which is why the movie Paragraph 175 moved me so. The Holocaust Museum and many other spaces & orgs have made a place to remember and connect with this part. Again, my goal is reminding people that the forces worldwide have not all aligned to see the injustice (as part of an even greater system of injustices) that was done then, recognize it and work it into our stories of history.

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