Holo­caust ex­hibit doc­u­ments per­se­cu­tion of gays by Nazis

100,000 ar­rested dur­ing Hitler’s rule from 1933-1945

Sun Sentinel Broward Edition - Showtime - Broward - - ART - By Lisa J. Huri­ash

The per­se­cu­tion and killing of gay men in Nazi Ger­many will be the fo­cus of a trav­el­ing mu­seum ex­hibit this month in Wil­ton Manors.

Thou­sands of gays were thought to have per­ished in Ger­many dur­ing the Nazi regime. The Third Reich con­sid­ered ho­mo­sex­u­als a threat be­cause they “did not pro­duce off­spring for the fa­ther­land,” says Jake New­some, spokesman for the United States Holo­caust Me­mo­rial Mu­seum. New­some spe­cial­izes in gay re­search dur­ing the Hitler era.

Between1933 and1945, an es­ti­mated 100,000 men were ar­rested for vi­o­lat­ing Nazi Ger­many’s anti-ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity law. Of these men, about 53,000 were con­victed and sen­tenced to prison, New­some says. About 10,000 men were sent on sim­i­lar charges to con­cen­tra­tion camps, where about 65 per­cent of them died.

Be­cause some of them were clas­si­fied as crim­i­nals be­cause they broke a na­tional law, ex­act num­bers of those who were ar­rested or per­ished aren’t avail- able.

The United States Holo­caust Me­mo­rial Mu­seum’s trav­el­ing ex­hi­bi­tion “Nazi Per­se­cu­tion of Ho­mo­sex­u­als 1933-1945” will be dis­played July 19 to Oct. 14 at the Stonewall Na­tional Mu­seum and Archives, 2157 Wil­ton Drive, in Wil­ton Manors. Ad­mis­sion to the ex­hi­bi­tion is free.

Items on dis­play in­clude three pink-tri­an­gle arm­bands worn by ho­mo­sex­ual prison­ers in­car­cer­ated at the Buchen­wald con­cen­tra­tion camp, near Weimar, Ger­many.

The ex­hibit will delve into Nazi be­liefs, which in­cluded “cur­ing” ho­mo­sex­ual be­hav­ior through la­bor and “re-ed­u­ca­tion.” Their ef­forts to erad­i­cate ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity left gay men sub­ject to im­pris­on­ment, cas­tra­tion, in­sti­tu­tion­al­iza­tion and de­por­ta­tion to con­cen­tra­tion camps.

In 1933, the year Adolf Hitler as­sumed power, an es­ti­mated 1 mil­lion ho­mo­sex­ual men lived in Ger­many. New­some says there was a “vi­brant gay com­mu­nity,” with gay bars and pub­li­ca­tions, in the big ci­ties of Berlin, Frank­furt and Mu­nich. It was com­mon for gay men to em­i­grate from New York, Paris and Lon­don to Berlin “be­cause they knew they could be ac­cepted,” New­some says. “Lit­er­ally within months it was de­stroyed.”

Gays in other coun­tries that

Nazi Per­se­cu­tion of Ho­mo­sex­u­als 1933-1945

Where: Stonewall Na­tional Mu­seum and Archives, 2157 Wil­ton Drive, in Wil­ton Manors. When: Thurs­day through Oct. 14 Cost: Free Ger­many oc­cu­pied were not de­ported. “They were only want­ing to ‘clean up’ Ger­many,” New­some says.

The law did not crim­i­nal­ize ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity among women. “Women weren’t in lead­er­ship roles, so their ‘de­viance’ posed no threat to the state,” New­some says. Still, these woman masked their iden­tity.

Five mil­lion non-Jews were killed un­der Hitler’s rule, in­clud­ing gays, the phys­i­cally and men­tally dis­abled, Roma (Gyp­sies), Je­ho­vah’s Wit­nesses and mem­bers of po­lit­i­cal op­po­si­tion groups (which in­cludes Soviet prison­ers of war). An­other 6 mil­lion Jews were sys­tem­at­i­cally killed in Europe.

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