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Gays: Nazi persecution, World War II

Nazi persecution of Gays during World War II.
Latest hand-picked WWII news.

Stanford researcher sheds light on the limited toleration of lesbians in Nazi Germany
Lesbians may have enjoyed limited toleration during the Nazi regime in Germany, according to new Stanford research. Samuel Clowes Huneke, a doctoral candidate in history, examined police investigation files from the 1940s involving alleged violations of same-sex relations laws. His findings and analysis were recently published in the Journal of Contemporary History. "These files add a new level of nuance to existing scholarship. They hint at a more normal existence that was the daily experience of some lesbians in the Third Reich."

Germany to clear gays convicted under Nazi-era law
The German government approved plans to quash the convictions of 50,000 men sentenced for homosexuality under a Nazi-era law which remained in force after the war, and offer compensation. The measure marks a triumph for activists after a decades-long struggle to clear the names of gay men who lived with a criminal record under Article 175 of the penal code. 5,000 of those found guilty are still alive. The compensation scheme under the new legislation includes a one-off payment of €3,000 (US$3,200) for every man convicted and an additional €1,500 for each year spent in prison.

Records reveal U.S. Army forcibly lobotomized 2,000 WWII veterans
Newly uncovered documents show the U.S. Army embraced frontal lobotomy as a way to treat at least 2,000 troops in the aftermath of World War II, the Wall Street Journal reported. "They just wanted to ruin my head, it seemed to me," recalled Roman Tritz, who told he was forcibly lobotomized on July 1, 1953, after resisting previous attempts. Though the Department of Veterans Affairs has no record of the procedures taking place, other government records, inter-office correspondence and letters reveal that they took place at VA facilities around the country to treat troops who were identified as gay, along with those diagnosed with schizophrenia, depression and psychosis. The records show the bulk of the procedures were carried out between April 1947 and September 1950.

Rudolf Brazda - The last survivor of Nazis' persecution of gays passes away at 98
Rudolf Brazda, one of the last known survivors of Nazi Germany's persecution of gays, has passed away at 98. He was among thousands of gay men - known as the "Pink Triangles" because of the pink triangle they were forced to wear on their clothes - deported to the Nazi death camps because of their sexual orientation. One day at Buchenwald, after giving an SS guard the wrong answer to a question, the guard attacked him, knocking out three teeth and ordering his execution. But another SS guard stepped in to convince his superiors that Brazda was a vital worker, and he was given a reprieve.

Rudolf Brazda, maybe the last gay concentration camp survivor, shares his story in a book
For decades, the subject of the Nazi persecution of homosexuals during the Third Reich was swept under the rug. Rudolf Brazda, who may be the last living gay man to have survived the Holocaust, shares his life story in a newly published book called "Das Glück kam immer zu mir Rudolf Brazda - das Überleben eines Homosexuellen im Dritten Reich" (I Had Always Been Blessed with Good Fortune: Rudolf Brazda - a Homosexual's Survival in the Third Reich).

Gay codebreaker Alan Turing, who helped Britain to win World War II, was driven to a suicide
PM Gordon Brown has said he is sorry for the "appalling" way WWII code-breaker Alan Turing - famous for his work at Bletchley Park, helping to create the Bombe that broke messages encrypted with the Nazi Enigma machines - was treated for being gay. A petition had called for a posthumous apology to the computer pioneer. In 1952 Turing was prosecuted for gross indecency after admitting a relationship with a man. He was given experimental chemical castration as a "treatment" and his security privileges were took away, meaning he could not continue to work for the UK Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ). Two years later he committed suicide.

Adored by Adolf Hitler, Gay Tenor with Jewish wife thrived in Third Reich
A new release highlights the strange career of Max Lorenz, Adolf Hitler's favorite tenor. Though homosexually inclined and married to a Jew, he flourished in Nazi Germany. Had Lorenz been a singer of Mozart or Puccini he and his wife would have ended up in the Nazi camp Theresienstadt. But Lorenz focused in the heroes of Richard Wagner, especially Siegfried. "Max Lorenz: Wagner's Mastersinger, Hitler's Siegfried" is a welcome combo set of a biographical DVD and a CD of highlights from a 1938 "Siegfried" performance in Buenos Aires. The DVD includes archival footage, interviews, and documents.

British PM honours gay victims in Holocaust Memorial Day statement
PM Gordon Brown has released a statement ahead of Holocaust Memorial Day: "The theme of this Holocaust Memorial Day is Standing up to Hatred... Hatred may begin with small acts of prejudice or bigotry, but it rarely ends with them. That is why we all have an obligation to stand up to hatred." The Nazis thought that male homosexuals were weak men who could not fight for the Nazi Germany. They saw homosexuals as unlikely to produce children and increase the German birthrate. SS chief Heinrich Himmler led the persecution of gays in the Third Reich - Lesbians were not viewed as a threat to Nazi racial policies and were usually not targeted.

Monument to gay victims of the Nazis unveiled in Berlin
A monument with footage of two men kissing will be revealed in Berlin in memory of the homosexuals persecuted and murdered by the Nazi regime 1933-1945. The memorial, near the Brandenburg Gate, consists of an imposing, grey concrete slab around 4 metres high. At eye-level inside the monument is a gap with a tv screen. 5,000-15,000 gays were sent to concentration camps, and forced to wear a pink triangle, placing them at the bottom of the camp hierarchy. The last known survivor—Pierre Seel, who died in 2005, recalled in his memoirs his first love Jo was torn apart by dogs in front of other prisoners.

Exhibit: Nazi Persecution of Homosexuals, 1933-1945
"Nazi Persecution of Homosexuals, 1933-1945," a traveling exhibit now at the University of Rhode Island’s Kingston campus, focuses on homosexuals, who were persecuted both for their sexual orientation and for not doing enough to further Adolf Hitler’s dream of creating an Aryan master race. The show is divided into a series of sub-sections, each dealing with a particular theme. For instance "Germany and Homosexuality Before 1933" covers the Weimar Republic of the 1920s and early 1930s. "The New Order, 1933-1939" shows how situation changed once the Nazi Party came to power.

Pink triangles - Symbols of Nazi gay hate up for auction
Two pink triangles are up for auction in Shropshire - expected to fetch hundreds of pounds. During World War II the Nazis forced homosexual men to wear a pink triangles to id them. 60,000 men are believed to have been forced to wear the symbols 1933-1944, they were seen as a threat to the state and likely to reduce the potential for waging war and purifying the Germanic race. The Nazis compelled "undesirable" women, like lesbians, to wear an inverted black triangle. "On liberation in 1945, the wearers of the pink triangles ... were simply re-imprisoned by the newly created Federal Republic."

Berlin Will Build Memorial to Gay Victims of Nazi Regime
A memorial in Berlin to homosexuals persecuted and killed under the Nazis should be completed later in 2007 on the edge of the capital's Tiergarten Park. The memorial will be shaped as a gray concrete slab, with a window allowing visitors to view a film projection inside. Under the Nazis 5,000-10,000 were shipped off to camps and the Nazi regime also began 100,000 legal proceedings against homosexuals. After the war, 44,231 homosexuals were prosecuted in West Germany, where discrimination was outlawed in 1994. East Germany had abolished its anti-gay legislation in 1968.

Group that wasn't always liberated from the nazi camps   (Article no longer available from the original source)
In 1936, the SS Reichsfuhrer Heinrich Himmler created the Gestapo’s Central Office for the Combating of Homosexuality and Abortion. As a result, 100,000 men were arrested as homosexuals, and 50,000 sentenced. Some spent time in regular prisons, some were forcefully castrated, and thousands were sent to Nazi camps. Men with pink triangles were often treated severely by guards and other inmates alike. Some were victims of cruel medical experiments, designed to change them into heterosexuals. The liberation from the Nazi camps did not end the suffering - some were even forced to serve out their terms of imprisonment.

Bent, Not Broken - Human touch at times lacking in Nazi exhibition
From its title to its content, Nazi Persecution of Homosexuals 1933-1945 is the kind of conventional, educational exhibition designed to present the facts in an orderly and coherent manner. Perhaps too orderly and too coherent. Historical exhibits beholden to documents and text often have a bloodless, bone-dry quality that, in this case, makes it hard to connect to the men and women who suffered the terrible crimes documented in this exhibition. Some of the exhibition's most captivating aspects document lesser-known aspects of German life, like the photographs and documents that chronicle the life of subcultures in the swinging Weimar years.

Exhibit shows Nazi effort to kill gays   (Article no longer available from the original source)
"Nazi Persecution of Homosexuals 1933-1945" exhibition examines the rationale, means and impact of the Nazi regime's attempt to eradicate homosexuality. Curator Ted Phillips said finding that information was difficult because the experiences of homosexuals in Nazi Germany weren't documented because of fear of persecution. Dubbed "paragraph 175," German criminal law section 175 declared "unnatural indecency" between men to be "punishable by imprisonment" for up to two years.

Berlin to Build Memorial to Gays Persecuted by Nazis
The Berlin government has given the go-ahead for a memorial designed by a Scandinavian artist-duo in central Berlin commemorating thousands of homosexuals persecuted by Nazi Germany. The structure, which appears cool and distant at first glance actually conceals an intimate aspect -- it will have an oblique window featuring a black and white video of "an endless kiss between two men."
(DW staff)

Death of Pierre Seel, Gay Concentration Camp Survivor
Of some 200 men from the annexed French region of Alsace-Lorraine deported to Nazi concentration camps as homosexuals, Mr. Seel was the sole survivor who had spoken out publicly. In 1941, he was seized by the Nazis because his name appeared on a list of suspected homosexuals - complied by the local French police. He was tortured by the SS, then sent to the camp of Schirmeck-Vorbruck. He was forced to witness the murder of his partner, who was torn to shreds by guard dogs. After six months of severe brutality, Mr. Seel was released from the camp, only to be drafted against his will into the German army and sent to the Russian Front.