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The last man to have been imprisoned in a concentration camp for being homosexual under the Nazis has died, his obituary is more interesting than that sounds.
August 9, 2011 3:21 PM   Subscribe

Last gay concentration camp inmate dies.
posted by maiamaia (28 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
I wrote a post about his recollections over here.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:26 PM on August 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


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posted by darkstar at 3:30 PM on August 9, 2011


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posted by OverlappingElvis at 3:44 PM on August 9, 2011


RIP.

Rudolf Brazda was a remarkable historical figure (I was thinking of doing an FPP about him a few days ago), and it's good to see this in the blue.

From the LA Times:

"Brazda was among thousands of gay men deported to the death camps during World War II because of their sexual orientation. Adolf Hitler's Nazis saw homosexuals as an aberration and a threat to the Aryan race.

They were known as the "Pink Triangles" because of the pink triangle they were forced to wear on their clothes.

"After everything I have been through, I have no more fears," Brazda said in an interview with German journalists two years ago.
"

Amazing person, who was not afraid to live openly, no matter what the society around him tried to do to suppress or eliminate people like him.
posted by VikingSword at 3:45 PM on August 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Somewhere, probably on a jacket I haven't worn in years, I have a pink triangle button that I wore through much of the late 80s and through the 90s. I should go find it and put it on a current jacket.
posted by rtha at 3:59 PM on August 9, 2011 [7 favorites]


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posted by treepour at 4:00 PM on August 9, 2011


I heard about this on NPR and was moved to quiet tears while driving to work. There is so much intensity and sadness and modern empowerment to be found in the story of the Pink Triangles.

Here is Brazda relating his story in his own words.

It brings to mind, yet again, the excellent documentary Paragraph 175, which can be found on YouTube in 5 parts via this playlist page. Recommended viewing for any and all.
posted by hippybear at 4:16 PM on August 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


Oh, and for Brazda, and all who died in the camps and lived beyond that and have also passed.

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posted by hippybear at 4:16 PM on August 9, 2011


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posted by Obscure Reference at 4:46 PM on August 9, 2011


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posted by Dreadnought at 5:00 PM on August 9, 2011


what a remarkable individual.

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posted by dismas at 5:02 PM on August 9, 2011


On one hand, I grieve for his death, and feel this is the sort of history that we need a living witness to tell, so it doesn't become academic.

On the other hand, I want this to be as far into the past as possible, and want to be in a future where this history is incomprehensible and intolerable.

I wish we were closer to that future. At this moment, when a virulent homophobe like Michele Bachmann, who actually owns an ex-gay treatment clinic, is polling well, precisely because of her homophobia ...

I fear we are closer to the past.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 5:12 PM on August 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


Holykrap bunny...you just turned this funeral even sadder.
posted by hal_c_on at 5:43 PM on August 9, 2011


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posted by zylocomotion at 6:07 PM on August 9, 2011


At this moment, when a virulent homophobe like Michele Bachmann, who actually owns an ex-gay treatment clinic, is polling well, precisely because of her homophobia ...

Germany after WWI and before the rise of Hitler, was considered a "gay paradise", where gay people could live the most open lives of anywhere in the developed world.

A few short years later, and they were being rounded up into prisons and concentration camps, where most perished, frequently tortured to death.

Keep this in mind, when we celebrate the great progress gay rights have made in this country.

Because people like Bachmann are always there, waiting for just the right spark. The official Nazi policy wrt. homosexuals, was that they were to be "re-educated" and "cured". Bachmann and the "gay-treatment" clinics have a long pedigree. And devastating consequences for many of their victims, including death by suicide.

These "clinics", and these politicians, are not just a distant memory from Germany of the 30's. They are here, with us, in the U.S., in 2011, making political capital out of homophobia.

As to Germany - paragraph 175, which was used to persecute gay people by the Nazis, was in full force in East Germany, until 1968 - and West Germany, until 1969. And it wasn't simply a disused law barely on the books. As just one example - one man, interviewed for the movie "Paragraph 175" mentioned above, was of course persecuted during the war... but was also arrested, under paragraph 175, repeatedly, after the war, during the 50's and 60's.

This stuff is still quite fresh, and quite virulent, and Bachmann is but one sign of it.
posted by VikingSword at 6:11 PM on August 9, 2011 [13 favorites]


Another living gay Holocaust survivor identified (via).
posted by metabrilliant at 6:16 PM on August 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


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posted by radiocontrolled at 6:44 PM on August 9, 2011


§175 dates from 1872 and remained in its 1935 state in West Germany until 1969 (which didn't alter the age of consent, but reduced the penalties for men working as prostitutes and men coercing men they were in a position of authority over) . In 1973 the age of consent for 'sexual acts' between two men was lowered to 18, as opposed to 14 for heterosexual activity. (Sexual activity between two women wasn't covered in §175 ever, I don't think. The Nazis targeted lesbians as 'Asoziale', rather than as homosexuals.)

East Germany started with §175 as it was from 1935, then revered to the pre-1935 version, before replacing it with §151 in 1968, making the age of consent for all same-sex sexual activity 18. (Prosecution of consenting adults had been abandoned in the late 1950s.) The courts ruled this unconstitutional in 1987 and §151 was scrapped in its entirety 1989.

After reunification, §171 was scrapped in 1994 as part of the process of reconciling the two sets of laws, resulting in equal age of consent.

The German wikipedia page for §171 has some graphics showing the number of convictions and prosecutions.

I guess that's probably more than anyone wanted to know. And lastly, . for Mr Brazda.
posted by hoyland at 7:35 PM on August 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


Damn it, got my 175s and 151s merged. Those 171s should be 175s.
posted by hoyland at 7:35 PM on August 9, 2011


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posted by clavdivs at 7:50 PM on August 9, 2011


Trans women still get killed at a horrific rate, too.

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posted by jiawen at 9:52 PM on August 9, 2011


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posted by Mitheral at 9:56 PM on August 9, 2011


The NY Times obit (which I'm mostly posting because it quotes a friend of mine.)
posted by gingerbeer at 10:19 PM on August 9, 2011


Germany after WWI and before the rise of Hitler, was considered a "gay paradise", where gay people could live the most open lives of anywhere in the developed world.

A lot of the Jews in Germany were there because it was more liberal than the Eastern European countries they'd come from; parts of Germany were remarkably liberal.

A few short years later, and they were being rounded up into prisons and concentration camps, where most perished, frequently tortured to death.

Keep this in mind, when we celebrate the great progress gay rights have made in this country.


That's one of my little nightmare scenarios. There are some toxic local political commentators for whom "Gays" have replaced "Jews" in their paranoid political fantasies - right down to the shadowy secret cabal of queers running the county. It's very disturbing seen from theat perspective.
posted by rodgerd at 1:34 AM on August 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


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posted by Not The Stig at 4:38 AM on August 10, 2011


A very brave man.

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As for current cultures vs 1920's-1040's German: Not only can it happen again, it does. Over and over, with different groups filling the archetype roles.
posted by rmd1023 at 7:03 AM on August 10, 2011


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posted by mumimor at 2:18 PM on August 10, 2011


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posted by londonmark at 2:20 PM on August 10, 2011


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