RUDOLF BRAZDA Aug 5, 2011 12:47:53 GMT -5
Post by bluepride on Aug 5, 2011 12:47:53 GMT -5
Rudolf Brazda, who died on August 3 aged 98 was the last known survivor of the thousands of men who were sent to Nazi concentration camps for being homosexual.
Some six million Jews perished in the Holocaust. The Nazis also killed Gypsies, Jehovah’s Witnesses and political opponents. And they persecuted gay men. Heinrich Himmler was obsessed with the idea that homosexuality was an infectious disease, endangering the “National Sexual Budget”. Gay men were seen as obstacles to Hitler’s programme to increase the master race.
Estimates suggest that between 10 and 15 thousand gay men from all over Europe were sent to the concentration camps where, like other inmates, they had to wear coloured badges to denote the nature of their “crimes”. The red triangle was for political prisoners, green for common criminals, blue for would-be emigrants from Germany, purple for Jehovah’s Witnesses, black for Gypsies and other “antisocials”, and pink for homosexuals. Jews wore a yellow triangle with a triangle of another colour superimposed to make a Star of David.
Although homosexuals constituted one of the smallest categories in the camps, they were often treated with a special ferocity — subjected to beatings, “extermination through labour” in the quarries, castration and medical experiments to make them “normal”; they also often suffered the homophobia of their fellow inmates.
Brazda was living an openly gay life in Leipzig when Hitler came to power. Though homosexuality was technically illegal, the Weimar Republic was largely tolerant: “We had our own meetings. There was a dance club in Leipzig where we would often meet,” Brazda recalled. “There was great freedom for us. I couldn’t imagine anything else. Then we started hearing about Hitler and his bandits.”
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