Gay rarely means happy

Heinrich Himmler, Chief of the SS, … exclaimed, “We must exterminate these people root and branch. . . . the homosexual must be eliminated” (Plant, 1986, p. 99).

Yesterday was the 65th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, by the Allied troops whose evil overlords had known all about it years before and done … nothing.  And so Jews and gypsies, the “mentally retarded” and homosexuals and so on – those who couldn’t or wouldn’t or didn’t manage to flee, hide, pretend to be something else, vanished into emaciation, torture, starvation.

I watched some of the candle lighting ceremony at Auschwitz in TV and thought I should do some research, find out more.

If researchers into sexuality are correct in estimating that four percent of the European population has homosexual tendencies, this would mean that there may have been approximately 16,000 gays and lesbians among the 400,000 registered Auschwitz prisoners. Although this is hardly a small number, we know nothing about them to this day, because this subject has been nonexistent in the historical research on Auschwitz. One reason for this is the fact that sexuality in general, and same-sex relationships in particular, are covered-up in our society and represent a zone of taboos and various fears. Homophobia is widespread in Judaeo-Christian civilization, and speaking of homosexuality in the shadow of the Holocaust strikes many citizens, and not only the ordinary ones, as tasteless. A group of orthodox Jews in the USA recently threatened to boycott the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington as long as the Museum depicted the persecution of gays. [source]

Despite this non-existent research, there’s a bunch of stuff on that page pretty much saying that the homos didn’t have it so bad after all.  Hmm.

And it’s OK … In most cases, the Nazis were prepared to accept former homosexuals into the “racial community” provided that they became “racially conscious” and gave up their lifestyle. [source]

Here’s someone who was put into Ravensbrueck:

Henny Schermann - killed in 1942. Ravensbrueck

On the whole, it seems, lesbians “got away with it”, because as women, they were inferior and subordinate anyway.  Henny didn’t, she was gassed.  She was, however, not only a so called “licentious lesbian,” but also a “stateless Jew.”  The fact remains that feminism and lesbianism weren’t taken very seriously to start off with.

It is also known that the SS were keen on sending lesbian women to the brothels for “re-orientation,” to put them back on the “right path” of heterosexuality through sexual contact with men.  [source]

Lesbians were not systematically persecuted, they weren’t included in the infamous Paragraph 175 and usually, they wore shapes and colours identifying them as Jews, criminals etc, not the pink triangle.

While young gay men and lesbians have the luxury to put on and take off the symbol of hatred that the pink and black triangles represent to many of us, those who have survived the camps cannot erase the tattooed numbers from their skins. They are as permanent and painful as the memories that cannot be extinguished. [source]

Progress since World War II?  Gay marriage still isn’t legal in the USA, Uganda wants to behead homosexuals, South Africa rapes and kills its lesbians to cure them … the space outside the closet is rarely safe unless you have enough money to make it safe.

{Legacy of Hope}


About ulla

queer. antisocial. verbose. View all posts by ulla

4 responses to “Gay rarely means happy

  • T.

    In the article you sited, I was struck by the fact that certain language used by the Nazi’s is very much the same language being used today by the religious right in the US:

    “Among the many diabolical instincts that characterize the Jewish race, one specifically has to do with sexual relations. Jews always attempt to support sexual relations among siblings, between people and animals, or between men. We National Socialists will soon bring them before the law and condemn them..”


    …”the role and sanctity of family life…”

    The religious right and their allies, the social conservatives have recently posited,as an arguement against gay marriage, the premise that if “we” allow gays to marry that will certainly open the door for all sorts of debauchery – such as people demanding the right to marry animals. As well as the ever popular arguement that gay marriage will ruin the “sanctity of family life”. It so deeply disturbs me that, despite the worldwide abhorrence of the Nazi Party and its despicable beliefs and practices – when it comes to homosexuals – we are all still fair game.

    Great post.

  • moominboy

    It’s a horrible and depressing place :(

    Hmm, it might have changed since last time I visited there (1995, I think) but the documentary movie they showed in the museum didn’t mention homosexuals. But they were mentioned in other publications, fortunately.

    Either way, since when does humanity learn from its mistakes? Our lifespans are too short for learning, I think :(

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