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Nazi Persecution of Homosexuals

Divided into twelve chapters the curators of the exhibtion chose to give a detailed account of the history of the persecution of homosexuals, focusing on men. For in the racist practice of Nazi eugenics, women were valued primarily for their ability to bear children. The state presumed that women homosexuals were still capable of reproducing. Lesbians were not systematically persecuted under Nazi rule, but they nonetheless did suffer the loss of their own gathering places and associations.

The Nazi campaign against homosexuality targeted the more than one million German men who, the state asserted, carried a "degeneracy" that threatened the "disciplined masculinity" of Germany. Denounced as "antisocial parasites" and as "enemies of the state," more than 100,000 men were arrested under a broadly interpreted law against homosexuality. Approximately 50,000 men served prison terms as convicted homosexuals, while an unknown number were institutionalized in mental hospitals. Others—perhaps hundreds—were castrated under court order or coercion. Analyses of fragmentary records suggest that between 5,000 and 15,000 homosexual men were imprisoned in concentration camps, where many died from starvation, disease, exhaustion, beatings, and murder.

The website offers extensive teaching material, introducing the stories of severals persecuted homosexual men and other online ressources.

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is America’s national institution for the documentation, study, and interpretation of Holocaust history and serves as this country’s memorial to the millions of people murdered during the Holocaust.

To the online exhibition. 

 

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