Myth of the Gay Holocaust


The myth of the “Gay Holocaust” is a product of revisionist history. Homosexuals who died in the Holocaust were only a fraction of less than one percent of homosexuals in Nazi-occupied Europe (S. Katz, Holocaust and Genocide Studies). The camp with the highest number of “Pink Triangles” was Buchenwald, and the number of these prisoners peaked in 1944 at a mere 189 (Grau, Hidden Holocaust?). Many of these “Pink Triangles” were actually non-homosexuals who were falsely accused of homosexuality for political reasons. Communists and religious dissidents, for example, were often given the Pink Triangle designation. Although Nazi leaders often talked tough about gays, there was no systematic or sustained effort to persecute homosexuals as there was with the Jews.

Even The Washington Blade, a gay newspaper, admitted to the falsity of the “Gay Holocaust” narrative after looking into the research of historian John Fout. Most homosexuals “were imprisoned for relatively short sentences and in regular German prisons, not concentration camps as has been generally believed.” Furthermore, “The overwhelming majority of those arrested…were charged with engaging in sex in public places” (The Washington Blade, May 22, 1998). In other words, they were guilty of violating laws that pre and post-dated the Nazi regime. The Washington Blade article went on to say that the gay subculture of German cities mostly survived the Nazi era intact.

Although very few homosexuals were sent to the camps simply for the crime of being gay, some of those imprisoned did happen to be gay. Of these, many Holocaust survivors have said that they received privileged status in the camps. The Nazis administered their camps through the use of kapos, who were overseers chosen from among the prison population, and violent homosexuals were often chosen to fill this role. Stephen Ross, founder of the New England Holocaust Museum, was imprisoned for five years in the camps as a child. He testifies that he was forced to perform oral sex on some of these guards (Holocaust Survivor: Molested by Guards, The Massachusetts News, April 5, 2000). Holocaust literature abounds with examples of homosexual abuse. In his definitive account, Night, Elie Wiesel writes of Auschwitz: “there was considerable traffic in young children among homosexuals here.” (Wiesel 59).

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