|Posted on June 22, 2013 at 2:40 AM|
By Dennis Stone
Most people know that the Nazis persecuted gay people as part of their attempt to purify the German people. They sent between 5000 and 15,000 to concentration camps wearing the infamous pink triangle. As part of their hopes to cure homosexuality the Nazis performed various tests and procedures on the prisoners, often with horrific results, including castration.
Image via the Freedom Files
What most people don’t know is what happened when the concentration camps were liberated by the Allies in 1945. Gay prisoners were not considered “victims” by the Allied Military Government, and no reparations were authorized. Worse, many of the prisoners were forced to serve out their sentences in regular prisons. Gay acts were criminal under Paragraph 175 of the German criminal code, which had been broadened in 1935 to include anything that the court could consider a “lewd act”, even if there was no physical contact with another person. So in the eyes of the Allied government, gay concentration camp survivors were simple criminals, not innocent victims.
The 1935 version of Paragraph 175 was not eased at all until 1969, and it was not abolished until the reunification with East Germany in 1994. East Germany had already abolished it by then. Between 1945 and 1969 about 100,000 men were charged under the law, and 50,000 were convicted. Interestingly, Paragraph 175 did not apply to women.
Categories: History Lessons