Title: Auschwitz: Lessons from the gay victims Credit: Craig Young Comment Saturday 29th January 2005 - 12:00pm1106953200 Article: 590 Rights
Six decades after the Red Army liberated Auschwitz, what are the implications of the Nazi Holocaust for lesbians and gay men? We must never forget any of the victims of that paramount historical obscenity, and relentlessly oppose anyone who promotes oppression against any of the affected communities. Over Nazi Germany's twelve-year existence, half a million people with psychiatric and intellectual disabilities were gassed as a prelude to the wider Final Solution. Six million Jews were murdered- one third of the total world Jewish community of the thirties and forties. One million Sinti and Romani (Gypsies) perished. Half a million gay men were starved or worked to death. Unfortunately, there are elements of the overseas Jewish and gay communities who lie outside the pale (so to speak) in terms of their reprehensible ideologies and affiliations. There are right-wing, Orthodox Jewish antigay holocaust revisionists, who deny that half a million gay men shared the ordeal of the Jewish communities of that period. As the Queer Resource Directory notes in their critique of one such text, The Pink Swastika, these individuals use identical tactics to anti-Semitic holocaust revisionists. Judith Reisman is one such figure. She has some explaining to do when it comes to other Jews, as well. Why does she allow her antigay and antiporn propaganda to be distributed through the anti-Semitic Australian League of Rights? One can witness this when one visits the "Family Ethics and Morality" section of their booklist. Fortunately, no New Zealand Jews are involved with this alternative form of antigay holocaust revisionism. After Destiny Church and its blackshirted march through Wellington, Wellington Jewish leaders condemned their actions as much as the anti-Semitic pond scum that desecrated Wellington Jewish community graves. Unfortunately, one fundamentalist submitter against the Civil Union Act cited Gayconspiracy, which website republishes Lively and Abrams lies. Unbelievably, there are also openly gay skinhead anti-Semites and white supremacists, known as "Gays Against Zionism" and the "American Resistance Corps'' - or, as they were previously known, "Gays Against Semitism" and the "Aryan Resistance Corps." To my knowledge, these abhorrent specimens are restricted to Europe and North America. And then there's Pim Fortuyn, the assassinated right-wing anti-immigrant gay racist politician, whose inspiration legitimised a spate of anti-Muslim hate crimes within the Netherlands. These individuals and groups do exist, but are thankfully tiny extremist sects. British gay journalist Johann Hari condemned them in a recent Attitude column, reprinted on his website. As the grandson of an Indian immigrant to this country, gay fascists sicken me utterly. Unfortunately, there's nothing to stop stupid or opportunist self-hating gay men aligning themselves with neofascist organisations. So it was when Ernest Rohm did so in the thirties, before an internal coup removed him and his SA associates. (I should note that there's also an anti-racist skinhead group called Skinheads Against Racial Prejudice, who shouldn't be lumped in with their odious counterparts.) It is not enough to mouth shallow platitudes about 'political correctness' and 'free speech' either. Granted, these sorry creatures make me sick, but the answer is detailed historical documentation and rebuttal of their odious philosophies. As for us, we need to stand in solidarity with the victims of all manner of genocidal and homophobic oppression. Let us never forget gay victims of Nazi barbarism. Or any other victims of neofascism, racism and antisemitism. Fortunately, most New Zealanders seem to share my revulsion. In yesterday's NBR, an opinion poll stated that three-quarters of sampled New Zealanders thought that the activities of neofascist organisations should be monitored through the Security Intelligence Service. Exactly. POSTSCRIPT: Corrected Account of Nazi Persecution of Gay Men in Grau's Hidden Holocaust. [Craig Young does some number-crunching in response to a query about the figures he quotes earlier, above. -Ed.] I relied on notes related to Grau's Hidden Holocaust, and inadvertantly transcribed 500,000 instead of 50,000. Moreover, I mislaid my rationale for the latter figure. Grau's work carries extensive primary documentation and it is not only the concentration camps that we have to consider. Dachau indeed imprisoned gay men, but so did Mauthausen, Natzweiler (France), Gross Rosen, Sachsenhausen, Buchenwald, Neuengamme, Dora, Lublin and Bergen-Belsen. Fifty thousand gay men were sentenced under Nazi antigay laws and five thousand were sent to the aforementioned concentration camps. Furthermore, they were from Germany, Austria, the former Czechoslovakia, the Netherlands and France. In addition, there are other factors that lead us to suspect a higher figure. I should have acknowledged that there are other possible sources of antigay judicial condemnation and murder, although it's complicated by Grau's fragmentation of statistics. Gestapo raids, arrests and incarceration often led to cell 'suicides' (covert executions). Add to this the fact that homosexuality was a capital offence for members of the Nazi armed forces and Hitler Youth; documented cases of chemical castration toxicity and other medical experimentation designed to 'cure' homosexuality; and other documented cases of immediate execution of pink triangle prisoners, overwork and starvation, and one arrives at a conservative estimate of fifty thousand fatalities from Nazi Germany and aforementioned areas of the Third Reich. I must therefore note that fifty thousand casualties are implied under all of the aforementioned headings. Grau relies on primary documentation, official correspondence and related statistics where available. As a trained medical historian, he does have relevant professional expertise. I apologise for the error of magnitude in my original work. I am indebted to fellow columnist Jim Peron for keeping me on my toes and alerting me to the factual error in the original article. Source: Gunter Grau (ed) Hidden Holocaust? Nazi Persecution of Gays and Lesbians: Cassell: London: 1995. Recommended Reading: 1: The Holocaust: Henry Friedlander: The Origins of Nazi Genocide: From Euthanasia to the Final Solution: Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press: 1995. ["Disability cleansing" in Nazi Germany, during the thirties] Gunter Grau: Hidden Holocaust? Gay and Lesbian Persecution in Germany: 1933-1945: Cassell: London: 1995. [Background documentation related to antigay aspects of the Nazi Holocaust] Heinz Heger: The Men With the Pink Triangle: Gay Men's Press: London: 1980. [Memoir of a German gay Holocaust survivor] Richard Plant: The Pink Triangle: The Nazi War Against Homosexuals: Owl Books: New York: 1988. William Shirer: The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: New York: Simon and Schuster: 1981: [Essential and encyclopedic reference work] 2.Antigay Holocaust Revisionism and Rebuttals: Gayconspiracy: Scott Lively and Kevin Abrams: The Pink Swastika: Homosexuality and the Nazi Party: Founders Press: Oregon: 1995: [Authors affiliated with antigay holocaust revisionism] Queer Resource Directory: Holocaust Revisionism and Neonazism: QRD: Annotated Pink Swastika (Critique): Judith Reisman's work can be found at the Family, Morality and Ethics Booklist at the Australian (and New Zealand) League of Rights website, along with Paul Camerons' work: 3.Rebuttal: Johann Hari [Given that it is the sixtieth anniversary of the Holocaust, I refuse to provide credence to gay anti-Semites and racists through repeating their odious anti-Semitic and racist lies. See the website below for excellent rebuttals of the associated content: Craig Young - 29th January 2005    
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