Homosexuals in Nazi Germany

To what extent can homosexual people be called “ one of the most persecuted groups in Nazi Germany ” ?

“ Anyone who thinks of homosexual ‘love’ is our enemy. We reject anything which emasculates our people and makes it a plaything for our enemies, for we know that life is fight, and it is madness to believe that work forces will of all time encompass fraternally ” . [ 1 ] This position throughout the Nazi party would take to ten to fifteen thousand homophiles being sent to work cantonments in which they were tortured, castrated or worked to decease. The Nazis are regarded as one of the most intolerant and pitiless governments in modern times. Their purpose to make a society that conforms to their racialist political orientations would take to the persecution of many groups and condemn 1000000s of people to decease. This essay will concentrate on the homosexual community and why some people view the neglecting of homophiles within Nazi Germany led them to be one of the most persecuted groups during their disposal.

On January 30, 1933 Adolf Hitler was sworn in and began the Nazis effort to sublimate German society and propagate an Aryan race. Not blowing anytime, Hitler banned all homosexual administrations and orders the SA to bust saloon, coffeehouse and establishments, driving this subculture resistance. The most celebrated institute to have such intervention on May 6, 1933 was the Dr. Magnus Hirschfield’s ( who was a homosexual himself ) “Institute for Sexual Science” and harmonizing to Neil Miller in his bookOut of the Pastwas the “first shooting of the Nazi war against homosexuals” . [ 2 ] However, many thought this was in portion an act of antisemitism.

During these early foraies many in the Gay community like the Jewish community, believed that it was impermanent and that they could endure the storm. However, world shortly hit with the blackwash of Ernst Roehm in the “The Knight of The Long Knives” incident in 1934. As a homosexual himself and one of the Nazis most influential leaders, homophiles possibly felt optimistic as possibly Roehm would offer protection and as Richard Plant stated in his bookThe Pink Triangle“…it was an extremely unsafe delusion” . [ 3 ] The misreading of the early warning marks particularly from Hitlers ain book in 1925Mein Kampfcould hold given many homophiles and others the opportunity to get away Germany before persecution.

However, Plant argues that blackwash of Roehm was more to make with Hitlers paranoia fed by Henrich Himmler and Joseph Goebbels, “Roehm sexual wonts were a sideshow ; they were ne’er the existent cause of his downfall” . [ 4 ] Therefore, it was more of a gambit by Hitler in order to look as a moral leader. However, Hitler had stated within a private conversation that “homosexuality had destroyed ancient Greece by its infective activity” . [ 5 ]

With Roehm now removed, Himmler became the 2nd most powerful adult male in Germany. The “Grand Inquisitor” as Plant describes him and like many within the Nazi party was obsessed with reproduction and wished to make a ‘Mannertaadt’ province in which George Mosse described as “a province dedicated to the worship of maleness and to the community of work forces as opinion elite” . [ 6 ] However, this could be viewed every bit counterproductive as possibly it could be interpreted as homoerotic.

A twelvemonth on from Roehm’s decease, an extension of Paragraph 175 on June 28, 1935 was put through which allowed the Gestapo to collar any male on the most farcical of charges such as a buss or even a touch would be considered as reprehensively indecorous. Therefore, purpose would merely hold to be considered, non the existent act. As a consequence, strong beliefs went up from 856 in 1933 to 8562 in 1938. [ 7 ]

Yet, Paragraph 175 did non widen to adult females. Miller points out that adult female “fell outside the existence of Himmler’s sexual obsessions” . [ 8 ] As his concentration on the Nazi ‘Mannerstaadt’ which sees maleness and the males as dominant leaders therefore females were a non-threat as they were seen as child carriers.

On the other manus that is non to state they were ne’er persecuted against, Plant describes how a immature lieutenant was rejected by a girlfriend of a sapphic he wanted to bed and hence arrested them both and was reported to assure a captive a “rare wages for each adult female they penetrated” . [ 9 ]

Furthermore, the extension of Paragraph 175 allowed the Gestapo to imprison a big figure of cheery work forces into concentration cantonments and here is where they would have the most barbarous intervention. It was believed that under the Nazi epoch homophiles were seen as “sick, either because of an congenital pathology or an evil pick they had made” . [ 10 ] Therefore, unlike Jews or Gypsies, if they were ill so there must be a remedy. Was this a approval in camouflage as maybe homophiles, if seen as ill, might hold a opportunity of endurance if a remedy was believed to be available? This, nevertheless, could be far from the truth. The Nazis did believe there was a remedy, but their thought of a remedy was to be as barbarous if non more sadistic than the intervention given to other groups within the concentration cantonments.

When geting at the concentration camps a procedure of dehumanization would get down, this would include shaving off the prisoner’s hair and depriving them naked which was designed to take their self-respect and personal individuality. After this procedure, captives were put into groups nevertheless, puting them within their ain cabins “ … homophiles were segregated in order to forestall homosexualism from distributing to other inmates and guards” [ 11 ] wrote Rudolf Hoess, commanding officer of Auschwitz.

Besides, each group was given a colored symbol in order to place what group they belonged to, for the Jews they had the xanthous Star of David and political captives had ruddy trigons whilst homophiles had pink trigons which was possibly a clear indicant of seeking to mortify them farther by tie ining them with an emasculate coloring material whilst besides being larger than other symbols. [ 12 ]

Additionally, non merely were homophiles segregated from the remainder of the cantonment they tended to have specialized penalties as some Nazi personal believed that they could be ‘cured’ or ‘re-educated’ through humiliation and difficult work, particularly in the rock preies at Flossenburg were most assignments tended to hold deathly effects. Other penalties would include emasculation, whippings and experimentation. However, in other establishments homophiles sometimes shared quarters with the likes of asocials and aliens and were reported to be “treated no worse than other prisoners” . [ 13 ] This possibly depended on the forces in charge and how they felt about homosexualism personally.

Furthermore, in order to last, many homophiles had to go sex slaves to the Kapos or even with the Nazis guards. This on occasion led to resentment with other groups in the cantonment as they would sometimes have particular privileges such as excess rations and front-runners would be established.

Once release came in 1945, it could be argued that after the barbarous neglecting of homophiles, although be it a little minority, the worse portion could be the fact that the Allied forces refused to recognize that clip served within the cantonments could be seen as clip served in prison as at that clip it was still illegal within the Allied states. Therefore, the subsisters were put back into prison in order to function clip and were still persecuted until 1969. [ 14 ]

However, the figures and the beginnings they were gathered from would hold to be treated with cautiousness as historiographers can merely gauge how many died or were imprisoned as the Nazis burnt the grounds or were at book maintaining with the added fact that really few homosexual subsisters did non come frontward to state of at that place narrative.

To reason, like many groups within Nazi Germany, Homosexuals received hideous intervention and although little in Numberss in comparing to other groups, penalties towards homophiles tended to be more specially focused on humiliation, decease work and perverted sexual Acts of the Apostless. Physical penalty was non plenty for homophiles, the psyche besides had to be attacked. This entirely, you could reason makes the intervention of Gays to be put in the bracket of one of the most persecuted groups within Nazi Germany. Never the lupus erythematosus, that is non state we can disregard other groups that suffered greatly within Nazi Germany. All we can make is listen, reflect and take lessons from this hideous clip in order for this to ne’er go on once more.


Secondary beginnings

Plant, Richard.The Pink Triangle: The Nazi War against Homosexuals. New York: H. Holt, 1986.

Mosse, George L.Patriotism and Sex: Respectability and Abnormal Sexuality in Modern Europe. New York: H. Fertig, 1985.

Miller, Neil.Out of the Past: Gay and Lesbian History from 1869 to the Present. New York: Vintage, 1995.

McLaren, Angus.Twentieth-century Sex: A History. Oxford, UK: Blackwell, 1999.

Herzog, Dagmar.Sex in Europe: A Twentieth-century History. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge UP, 2011

Articles in Diaries

Oosterhuis, Harry. “ Medicine, Male Bonding and Homosexuality in Nazi Germany. ”Journal of Contemporary History32.2 ( 1997 )

Web sites