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Gay History - April 4, 1938: Gestapo Announces That Gay Prisoners To Be Sent To Concentration Camps

Gay History – April 4, 1938: Gestapo Announces That Homosexual Prisoners Are To Be Sent To Concentration Camps

Paragraph 175 was a provision of the German Criminal Code established in May 1871 that made homosexual acts between males a crime. It was not until the German Nazi party in April of 1935 broadened the law so that the courts could prosecute any “lewd act” whatsoever, even one involving no physical contact. That move caused convictions of gay men under Paragraph 175 yo multiply by a factor of ten to over 8,000 per year by 1937.

Just when it seemed things couldn’t get any worse for gay men in Germany, on April 4, 1938, the Gestapo publicly announced that men condemned for homosexuality would be deported to concentration camps.

Under the orders of Heinrich Himmler, leader of the SS, the police the Gestapo arrested around 100,000 men suspected of the crime of homosexuality.

In his memoirs, Rudolf Hoess, commandant at Auschwitz, describes how the camp guards would often assign homosexuals forced to wear pink triangles for recognition to some of the most dangerous jobs and they were sometimes separated from other prisoners to prevent homosexuality being “propagated” to other inmates and guards. Judges and officials at SS camps could even order the castration of homosexual prisoners without consent whenever they wished.

Survival in camps took on many forms. Some homosexual prisoners secured administrative and clerical jobs. For other prisoners, sexuality became a means of survival despite the Gestapo’s best attempts to stop it. In exchange for sexual favors, some Kapos protected a chosen prisoner, usually of young age, giving him extra food and shielding him from the abuses of other prisoners

SS doctors also performed cruel experiments on prisoners to “cure” them of their homosexuality. In fact, these tests resulted in illnesses, mutilations and the deaths of hundreds upon hundreds of gay prisoners.

Even though there are no definite statistics on the number of homosexuals murdered at the Nazi camps, estimates range anywhere from 100,000 to 200,000 gay men were detained in concentration camps under the Nazi regime with little chance of survival.

Paragraph 175 stayed in effect in Germany until 1969. Even after the concentration camps were liberated gay prisoners who had survived would be sent to sent to regular prisons to finish out the terms of their sentences.

In 1985, gays and lesbians had wanted to place a plaque in the camp at Dachau, but it was not until 10 years later, in 1995, that they would be officially recognized as victims of the Holocaust

Image result for pink triangle
Image result for pink triangle
Image result for pink triangle

In Memoriam: Rudolf Brazda, The Last Known Gay Concentration Camp Survivor Passes Away

A sad thing indeed.

Rudolf Brazda, last known survivor of the so-called “Pink Triangles” — gays interned in Nazi camps because of their homosexuality — died in France Wednesday aged 98, officials said.

In 1935, the Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honour was passed. This amended the existing Paragraph 175 of the Reich Penal Code:

An unnatural sex act committed between persons of male sex or by humans with animals is punishable by imprisonment; the loss of civil rights might also be imposed.

However, whereas previously the only punishable offence had been anal intercourse, the new Paragraph 175a ushered in 10 new possible ‘acts’ between men as crimes worthy of punishment, including kissing, embracing and having homosexual fantasies. Despite this, many anti-Nazis still attacked the Fascists as homosexual, and in revenge, the Nazis became increasingly vicious, later exporting their persecution of gays to the countries they occupied.

The number of gay men who died at the hands of Hitler’s Reich has never been fully established. It is not clear how many people lived in the gay community before or after World War II, and since many who were executed received no trial, there is only patchy evidence of how many were imprisoned or sent to their deaths.

Nevertheless, researchers estimate that some 50,000 men were convicted for committing homosexual acts, and that 15,000 gays died in Auschwitz alone, often as a result of being worked to death. At present, according to the historian Rictor Norton, the estimates for the total number of gay men who were killed by the Nazis range from 10,000 (undoubtedly too low) to 430,000 (probably too high).


Brazda, born in 1913, was sent to the Buchenwald concentration camp in August 1942 and reamined there until it was liberated by US troops in 1945.

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