“June 11, 1940
The Germans are thirty-six miles from Paris, and as if that were not enough, now Italy is invading France. How I feel all my love for her. We are all tense, guilty, angry, cruel to each other—selfish lives, all of ours, saving our own souls only—why? I am absolutely ready to enter the conflict. I would like to have died for France because of my love of it… simply. People everywhere are at war because they do not live by simple human feelings. I feel for the whole world. I have lived a purely individual life, and I am ashamed, but the same laws of pity by which I lived I can easily carry into the drama of war. In loving, I looked for my pleasure and found mostly suffering. So war is a drama no more terrible than the drama of love, and I am willing to serve and die as I have served and died for the love of individuals. My lovers have killed—at least they have killed me—and I return to the feeling I discovered as a girl: personal life is not important.”—
You may have seen this flawed post about pink triangle prisoners and your interset may have been peeked. Well I’m here to educate you on group of people that have been purposefully ignored.
First let’s start off with what the hell Paragraph 175 is:
Paragraph 175 was a provision in the German Criminal Code from 1871 to 1994.The original version persecutes “Unnatural fornication” – which means both sex between men and sex with a person and animal.
In 1935 it was changed under Nazi rule to persecute:
“A male who commits lewd and lascivious acts with another male or permits himself to be so abused for lewd and lascivious acts, shall be punished by imprisonment. In a case of a participant under 21 years of age at the time of the commission of the act, the court may, in especially slight cases, refrain from punishment. 175a. Confinement in a penitentiary not to exceed ten years and, under extenuating circumstances, imprisonment for not less than three months shall be imposed: 1. Upon a male who, with force or with threat of imminent danger to life and limb, compels another male to commit lewd and lascivious acts with him or compels the other party to submit to abuse for lewd and lascivious acts; 2. Upon a male who, by abuse of a relationship of dependence upon him, in consequence of service, employment, or subordination, induces another male to commit lewd and lascivious acts with him or to submit to being abused for such, acts; 3. Upon a male who being Over 21 years of age induces another male under 21 years of age to commit lewd and lascivious acts with him or to submit to being abused for such acts; 4. Upon a male who professionally engages in lewd and lascivious acts with other men, or submits to such abuse by other men, or offers himself for lewd and lascivious acts with other men.” Paragraph 175 was strengthened to “protect” society from men who were a threat to the “masculine character” of the nation. Hitler announced that homosexual men were “enemies of the state” and were charged with “corrupting” public morality and were a threat to the German birthrate.
*Under this strengthened law an estimated 100,000 homosexual men were arrested between 1935 and 1945 with 50,000 imprisoned and 5,000 – 15,000 incarcerated in concentration camps; between 1937 and 1939 half of the convictions occurred.
*On January 30, 1933 Hitler banned all homosexual and lesbian organizations, and closed gay clubs all over Germany.
*On May 6 of the same year the Institute for Sexual Science was ransacked and all “un-German” books were burned.
*In 1934 a Gestapo division on homosexuals was set up where Pink Lists (lists of suspected homosexuals) were investigated.
*Two years later Heinerich Himmler created a Reich Central office for the “Combating of Homosexuality and Abortions:” Special Office II S” which promoted a higher Aryan birth rate and increased the number of persecutions. Men were arrested based on “high degree of probability” to violate Paragraph 175, if they were “habitual sex offenders” or if they had previous convictions as a homosexual. A man suspected of violating paragraph 175 was photographed, and sent to interrogation where they were put under extreme pressure to confess to being a homosexual and then forced to give the names and addresses of other homosexuals they knew.
A survivor of such treatment remembers his interrogator saying, “That’s all, then,” he said jovially, content. “Sign here.” He handed me a sheet half written on, which I signed with a trembling hand. The letters swam in front of my eyes, my tears now flowing openly. The SS man who had brought me here was now back in the room again. “Take him away,” said the “doctor,” giving the SS man a slip of paper and bending over his files again, not deeming me worthy of further attention.“
*Often raids would occur on houses of homosexuals to steal address books to lead them to other violators of Paragraph 175. Men charged under Paragraph 175 were given no chance to communicate with family members and were held in Schutzhaft at prisons and detention centers, often without a trial.
So what happened to Pink Triangle prisoners?
*Unlike many prisoners that were mass killed in gas chambers and crematoriums, pink triangle prisoners were kept for the most dangerous and high death rate work. They were also tortured mercilessly, subjected to dehumanizing slurs, and physical abuse.
*In July of 1940 Himmler directed officers of the Criminal Police that “In future, after their release from prison all homosexuals who have seduced more than one partner are to be placed in vorbeugungshaft at concentration camps.”
*All prisoners had a triangle of a different color to announce their crime, a yellow star was for Jews, green for criminals, brown for Romas, purple for Jehovah’s Witnesses, black for anti-socials (which was the marking for the few lesbians that were put in concentration camps), red for political, and pink for homosexuals.
*Before the triangle system was used to identify prisoners a large “A” was put on the uniform of homosexual prisoners, and later a large “175” was sewn on the back of their uniform showing they were imprisoned under Paragraph 175; homosexual prisoners were often called “175-ers”.
*Some camp leaders took steps to make the pink triangle larger so it was more obvious that the prisoners were homosexuals, as occurred in Flossenbürg:
“His first order was that our pink triangles should be replaced by new ones that were almost double in size. And over the triangle a yellow stripe should be sewn, 2 centimeters wide and 12 centimeters long. “That’s so I can recognize you filthy queer scum before you get close,” he explained with a nasty smile.”
*Unlike the other prisoners, who were only subject to hatred from the SS officers, homosexual prisoners were subject to hatred on behalf of the other prisoners, as well as the SS officers.
When prisoners, on the way to the camps, discovered that a prisoner was homosexual they would often insult them and use the same Nazi teachings that were imprisoning them, to degrade and dehumanize the homosexual prisoners. On his way to a concentration camp Heinz Heger was put in a cell with two murderers and once they discovered he was imprisoned under Paragraph 175,
“They then started to insult me and “the whole brood of queers,” who ought to be exterminated. It was an unheard-of insult that the authorities should have put a subhuman such as this in the same cell as two relatively decent people. Even if they had come into conflict with the law, they were at least normal men and not moral degenerates. They were on a quite different level from homos, who should be classed as animals. They went on with such insults for quite a while, stressing all the time how they were decent men in comparison with filthy queers.”
*Homosexual prisoners were subjected, not only to additional torment, but also to harder, more dangerous work; their death rate is estimated at 60%. Homosexual prisoners had longer hours, fewer breaks, and reduced rations,
“Our work, then, was as follows: In the morning we had to cart the snow outside our block from the left side of the road to the right side. In the afternoon we had to cart the same snow back from the right side to the left. We didn’t have barrows and shovels to perform this work either – that would have been far too simple for us ”queers.” No, our SS masters had thought up something much better. We had to put on our coats with the buttoned side backward, and take the snow away in the container this provided. We had to shovel up the snow with our hands – our bare hands, as we didn’t have any gloves. We worked in teams of two. Twenty turns at shoveling up the snow with our hands, then twenty turns at carrying it away. And so right through the evening, and all at the double! This mental and bodily torment lasted six days, until at last new pink-triangle prisoners were delivered to our block and took over from us. Our hands were cracked all over and half frozen off, and we had become dumb and indifferent slaves of the SS.”
*Homosexual prisoners were also assigned to separate; pink triangle only, bunks, where at night the men were closely watched and did not get as much sleep as other prisoners, which contributed to their high death rate. Men were not allowed to wear their undergarments in the winter, they had to keep their hands on top of the blankets at all times, and the lights were kept on all through the night. If a man was found with his undergarments on, or his hands under the blankets he was subject to torture.
*One prisoner recalls such torture his fellow pink triangle prisoners experienced during the winter, “The windows had a centimeter of ice on them. Anyone found with his underclothes on in bed or his hands under his blanket – there were checks almost every night – was taken outside and had several bowls of water poured over him before being left standing outside for a good hour. Only a few people survived this treatment. The least result was bronchitis, and it was rare for any gay person taken into the sick bay to come out alive. We who wore the pink triangle were prioritized for medical experiments, and these generally ended in death.”
*In the sick bay pink triangle prisoners were experimented on to try and “cure” their homosexuality, one experiment involved the insertion of a testosterone capsule into the patient’s body, which almost always ended in death. The most common procedure performed on a pink triangle prisoner was castration, which was thought to remove the homosexual feelings, and in 1942 an SS decree gave all concentration camp commandants the right to order the castration of homosexual prisoners.
* Pierre Seel, a pink triangle prisoner was forced to watch as his lover was killed in front of the entire camp during roll call, “The Loudspeakers broadcast some noisy classical music while the SS stripped him naked and shoved a tin pale over his head. Next, they sicced their ferocious German shepherds on him… then devoured him right in front of us. His shrieks of pain were distorted and amplified by the pale in which his head was trapped. My rigid body reeled, my eyes gaped at so much horror, tears poured down my cheeks, I fervently prayed that he would back out quickly. Since then I sometimes wake up howling in the middle of the night. For fifty years now that scene has kept ceaselessly passing and repassing through my mind. I will never forget the barbaric murder of my love – before my eyes, before our eyes, for there were hundreds of witnesses…”
So why haven’t I learned this?
* “Within the realm of Holocaust research, gay men belonged for a long time to the so-called group of forgotten victims – those groups of Holocaust victims who for a long time were not acknowledged as such… who were labeled as asocial or otherwise “alienated to the people” under the Nazi Regime. Calling homosexual victims of the Nazis “forgotten victims,” however distorts history. The postwar German government did not simply forget about homosexuals; on the contrary, it actively continued to persecute them, and to justify the efforts of the Nazis in this respect.”
*On May 7, 1945 when Nazi Germany surrendered to Allied forces homosexuals were still regarded as criminals, and were transferred to German prisons to serve the remainder of their sentences.
*The German government refused to acknowledge them as victims of the Nazi Regime, due to their continuing criminal status. The camp imprisonment became part of their police record, and they constantly feared the threat of re-arrest under Paragraph 175, which continued to be upheld by Germany’s new government.
*In June of 1956 West Germany declared men held at concentration camps under Paragraph 175 should be disqualified from receiving compensation, and one year later in a West Germany Supreme Court case it was said that Paragraph 175 “was necessary for the protection of the German people” and Paragraph 175 couldn’t be seen as Nazi ideology because anti-gay laws existed before 1933.
*Even in Holocaust memorials homosexual prisoners were excluded because they were viewed as “criminals and perverts.” Some men turned to castration because police would tell them it would prevent them from being rearrested; however even after castration men were arrested. Other men turned to marriage, to try and hide their sexuality and become a “normal” member of society. Some even resorted to isolation, or suicide.
“The death penalty for murder has been abolished on grounds of humanity, and this is certainly a good thing. But why are we homosexuals still treated so inhumanely, why are we still persecuted and imprisoned by the courts, just as in Hitler’s time? True, our modern “open” society accepts homosexuality in it’s own way, making plays and films about it, but at the same time homosexuals themselves are despised and persecuted. It is up to science and humanitarian organizations to enlighten people about homosexuality and put an end to this contradiction. Until this is done, we shall still have to live in the shadows of society, and lead an existence that is not compatible with human dignity. “
*On May 8, 1985, 40 years after the end of World War II, West Germany acknowledged homosexuals as victims of the Nazi Regime.
*In 1994, 59 years after Hitler strengthened it, and 123 years after it was first instated that Paragraph 175 was abolished. In January of 1999, 54 years after the end of World War II, the first official memorial service was held for homosexual victims.
*Since 1985, only a handful of books, movies, and personal stories have come out, and for most personal stories the people have asked for anonymity:
“Thousands upon thousands of homosexuals must have lost their tormented lives there, victims of a deliberate operation of destruction by the Hitler regime. And yet this very day no one has come forward to describe this and honor its victims. It seems that “good taste” nowadays prevents people from speaking of the destruction of concentration-camp victims, particularly when these were homosexuals.”
Why haven’t I learned this info:  (Pg. 8 – Introduction by Dr. Klaus Müller) Heger, Heinz. The Men with the Pink Triangle: The True Life-and-Death Story of Homosexuals in the Nazi Death Camps. Trans. David Fernbach. Los Angeles: Alyson Books, 1994.
 (Pg. 117-8) Heger, Heinz. The Men with the Pink Triangle: The True Life-and-Death Story of Homosexuals in the Nazi Death Camps. Trans. David Fernbach. Los Angeles: Alyson Books, 1994.
 (Pg. 37) Heger, Heinz. The Men with the Pink Triangle: The True Life-and-Death Story of Homosexuals in the Nazi Death Camps. Trans. David Fernbach. Los Angeles: Alyson Books, 1994.
What happened to pink triangle prisoners info:  (Pg 67) Heger, Heinz. The Men with the Pink Triangle: The True Life-and-Death Story of Homosexuals in the Nazi Death Camps. Trans. David Fernbach. Los Angeles: Alyson Books, 1994.
 (Pg. 23)Heger, Heinz. The Men with the Pink Triangle: The True Life-and-Death Story of Homosexuals in the Nazi Death Camps. Trans. David Fernbach. Los Angeles: Alyson Books, 1994.
 (Pg. 35-6) Heger, Heinz. The Men with the Pink Triangle: The True Life-and-Death Story of Homosexuals in the Nazi Death Camps. Trans. David Fernbach. Los Angeles: Alyson Books, 1994.
 (Pg. 34) Heger, Heinz. The Men with the Pink Triangle: The True Life-and-Death Story of Homosexuals in the Nazi Death Camps. Trans. David Fernbach. Los Angeles: Alyson Books, 1994.
Paragraph 175 info: English translation by Warren Johannson and William Perry in “Homosexuals in Nazi Germany,” Simon Wiesenthal Center Annual, Vol. 7(1990). (from Holocaust Teacher Resource Center - http://www.holocaust-trc.org/parag175.htm)
 (Pg. 22) Heger, Heinz. The Men with the Pink Triangle: The True Life-and-Death Story of Homosexuals in the Nazi Death Camps. Trans. David Fernbach. Los Angeles: Alyson Books, 1994.
“The sea refreshes our imagination because it does not make us think of human life; yet it rejoices the soul, because, like the soul, it is an infinite and impotent striving, a strength that is ceaselessly broken by falls, an eternal and exquisite lament. The sea thus enchants us like music, which, unlike language, never bears the traces of things, never tells us anything about human beings, but imitates the stirrings of the soul. Sweeping up with the waves of those movements, plunging back with them, the heart thus forgets its own failures and finds solace in an intimate harmony between its own sadness and the sea’s sadness, which merges the sea’s destiny with the destinies of all things.”—Marcel Proust, Regrets, Reveries the Color of Time (via frauleinzooey)
“Let someone love you just the way you are-– as flawed as you might be, as unattractive as you sometimes feel, and as unaccomplished as you think you are. To believe that you must hide all the parts of you that are broken, out of fear that someone else is incapable of loving what is less than perfect, is to believe that sunlight is incapable of entering a broken window and illuminating a dark room.”—Marc Hack (via clumsiest)