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WAS "THE NIGHT OF THE LONG KNIVES" A HOMOSEXUAL KRISTALLNACHT?

HETEROSEXUAL SAME-SEX LOVERS

HOMOPHOBIA AND THE HOLOCAUST

THE PINK CROSS AND THE PINK TRIANGLE COALITION

Proposal for a Cy Pres Allocation for Homosexual Victims of the Nazis.
Respectfully Submitted to Special Master Judah Gribetz, Esq. Corrected Version submitted on November 7, 2001 by the Pink Triangle Coalition.


ANTI-SEMISTISM AND HETEROSEXISM: Common Constructs of Oppression

why
Joe



Disclaimer: June 2008. This article was written over ten years ago when our knowledge base was less than it is today. The general concept came when my father told me that he remembered the conversations when Roemer was killed during the weekend of the Night of the Long Knives. When I asked him what the average person was told about this mass killing, he explained that he was told that they were homosexuals, and that at that time, it seemed like a logical reason. That was the point of the article and why I wrote it for the same group that I was part of. I posted it on our website, which was the device that we used to keep in touch and had no idea how many times it would be copied and used in other articles. Please read more recent articles that use more recent research before making any conclusions. We now know more about the numbers of people killed and who they were. But the general question still remains. If a society starts off my de-humanizing people and using capital punishment as an excuse for killing people (even terrible people) who you say are gay, then it can escalate in the future.

WAS "THE NIGHT OF THE LONG KNIVES" A HOMOSEXUAL KRISTALLNACHT? by Rick Landman Just as the Holocaust showed what happens when overt anti-Semitism goes unpunished, it also showed how socially sanctioned homophobia set the stage for murder years before Kristallnacht. In order to fully understand how Hitler reached the point where he could kill millions of Jews without any mass protest, one must understand how early Nazi anti-minority persecution was used to terrorize the general public. But for years this part of history has been closeted. Even Martin Niemoller's famous quote concerning how he didn't speak up when they came for the communists, Jews, trade unionists and Catholics, had a very selective memory by leaving out homosexuals. It seems that for over 50 years, the world has had amnesia to this particular brutal part of Nazi history. For not only were homosexuals persecuted before and during the war by the Nazis, but their victims were ignored after the war.

I am not equating the extermination of the Jews with the Nazis desire for the eradication of homosexuality from German life. One cannot equate the planned systematic murder of six million Jews with the killing of 5,000 - 10,000 homosexuals. But if one doesn't acknowledge the homophobic persecution, arrests, deaths, and book burnings, one cannot fully understand how the German people allowed the Nazis to develop policies of mass murder.

As a child, I never considered myself to be the son of Holocaust Survivors, and I never even heard the term "Kristallnacht". I was the son of two German Jewish refugees and November 9th was the day my father was sent to Dachau. But sometime in the 1980's all this changed. I learned to know November 9, 1938 as "Kristallnacht" (The Night of Broken Glass, the night so many Jewish store windows and synagogues were destroyed that broken glass crystals littered the streets). It was the day the Holocaust began in earnest for the Jews.

As a gay man, I also wanted to know when Nazi persecution towards the homosexual population began in earnest. Homophobia, like anti-Semitism, was around in Germany for ages, but was actually lessening as Hitler was coming to power. During the Weimar Republic, Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld's Sexual Science movement had almost succeeded in getting the Bismarkian sodomy laws repealed. Berlin was becoming just as great a center of homosexual culture as it was for Jewish culture.

But as soon as Hitler came to power, repression towards Jews and homosexuals escalated. In 1933, five years before Kristallnacht, one of Hitler's first acts was the closing of all homosexual bars, cabarets and even the Institute for Sexual Science itself that Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld founded. The famous photograph of the book burnings of May 1933, not only included books by Jewish authors, but it also included the entirety of the Institute's research papers and books.

Then on the weekend of June 28, 1934 (which ironically coincides with the 1969 date of the Gay Uprising at the Stonewall) an event occurred which could be considered another type of Kristallnacht. On the "Night of the Long Knives" Hitler ordered the murder of S.A. members (many of who were probably heterosexual) using the excuse that they were homosexual. We now know that Hitler killed the Ernst Roehm the leader of the S.A. Stormtroopers and other political opponents that night for political or personal reasons. So the same thugs who were beating and killing others with no penalty of retribution of real law, were now gunned down themselves. Just like November 9th, random murders were now escalated into large scale killing regardless of the reason. There was no real public opposition to these killings and a homosexual justification seemed enough for some.

After that weekend, a death penalty was now justified for homosexuals and government sponsored murder became an acceptable practice for eradicating homosexuality. In addition to creating a cover of a false coup, being homosexual seemed a permissible reason for being killed. Granted, these first victims were brutal S.A. Nazis, so there is a question whether the event should be commemorated. But like Kristallnacht, that night was one of Hitler's trial balloons testing if the world would protest. On Kristallnacht, Hitler showed the world that he was serious in eliminating the Jews from Europe and on the Night of the Long Knives he showed that he could kill men under the pretext of homosexuality; and in both cases received no real condemnation from the world's leaders.

In an ironic twist to today's' "Family Value" politicians, Field Marshal Heinrich Himmler created a Reich Central Office for the Combating of Homosexuality and Abortion in the early 1930's, with his own famous "Family Values" campaign. Before the Nuremberg Laws of 1935 (which prevented Jews from participating in normal German society and prevented Jews from marrying "Aryans") the homosexual population was already living as outcasts or hiding in fear.

On June 28, 1934, Hitler showed the world that he could kill homosexuals, in addition to sending them to prisons or concentration camps. All this while terrorizing the rest of the German people with a sense of moral dignity.

That is why I am initiating the discussion as to whether today's gay and lesbian community should remember the anniversary of the Night of the Long Knives as the "Kristallnacht" of the Nazi's escalation of governmental murder with the justification that they were homosexual. Not as a memorial service for the death of the SA Nazis, but as a commemoration of the date when Germany elevated one's sexual orientation to become an acceptable reason for government-sanctioned mass murder.



HETEROSEXUAL SAME-SEX LOVERS by Rick Landman Just as the Holocaust showed what happens when overt anti-Semitism goes unpunished, it also showed how socially sanctioned homophobia set the stage for murder years before Kristallnacht. In order to fully understand how Hitler reached the point where he could kill millions of Jews without any mass protest, one must understand how early Nazi anti-minority persecution was used to terrorize the general public. But for years this part of history has been closeted. Even Martin Niemoller's famous quote concerning how he didn't speak up when they came for the communists, Jews, trade unionists and Catholics, had a very selective memory by leaving out homosexuals. It seems that for over 50 years, the world has had amnesia to this particular brutal part of Nazi history. For not only were homosexuals persecuted before and during the war by the Nazis, but their victims were ignored after the war.

I am not equating the extermination of the Jews with the Nazis desire for the eradication of homosexuality from German life. One cannot equate the planned systematic murder of six million Jews with the killing of 5,000 - 10,000 homosexuals. But if one doesn't acknowledge the homophobic persecution, arrests, deaths, and book burnings, one cannot fully understand how the German people allowed the Nazis to develop policies of mass murder.

Contradictions about homosexuality in Nazi Germany were very blatant. The Nazi policy changed depending on where you were, who you were and which year you are considering. For example, the treatment of "Aryan" homosexual men was quite different from that of Polish or Russian homosexuals. In the early 1930's, Field Marshal Heinrich Himmler's Committee to Combat Homosexuality and Abortion used "Family Values" to encourage larger "Aryan" families to produce more Nazi soldiers, which explains why homosexuality was discouraged only for German "Aryans". (Homosexuality was ignored for "inferior" people who were to be eventually eliminated, such as Poles and Russians. The policy towards Aryan lesbians was also different, using rape and coerced pregnancies to avoid arrests, and since Jews were already marked for extermination, being a homosexual Jew was just an additional strike against the condemned person.)

Another contradiction concerns Ernst Roehm, Hitler's second in command, who was known to be homosexual. In 1933, Roehm was running Hitler's Brown Shirted mob of hoodlums called the S.A., and he was allowed to reach a stance of prominence even though the sodomy laws were on the books since the time of Bismarck. This is why the Russians and now the anti-gay revisionists claim that homosexuals were Nazi perpetrators and not victims. But Hitler's true agenda became clear when on June 28, 1934, during "The Night of the Long Knives", Hitler ordered over 2,000 of the S.A. to be murdered to make way for his S.S. unit under the guise of ridding Germany of some of its homosexual population.

With this in mind, we can begin to see why people see the persecution of homosexuality on the Holocaust in different ways. German "Aryan" homosexual men were persecuted from as early as 1933 and those approximately 4,000 survivors out of the 10 - 15,000 homosexual men who were sent to the camps had a different experience than what the Polish Jews thought they saw in the camps in the mid 1940's. All this may account for some of the intense homophobic reactions felt by this segment of the Jewish community. Here again, another contradictory phenomena occurs. Many of the heterosexual concentration camp Capos {barrack leaders}, who were political or criminal inmates (green or red triangles) had so-called "dolly boys" for their sexual gratification. These young Polish or Russian men, many of whom were heterosexual in their orientation, were "kept" by their heterosexual Capos and given better treatment than any of the Jewish inmates or the "Pink Triangle Homosexuals" (those arrested specifically on the charge of homosexuality). These young boys were fed better and received better work assignments than Jews. That is why Polish Jews came away with a very different impression of the degree of homosexual persecution. This is very clearly covered in a book entitled, The Men With The Pink Triangle, by Heinz Heger. It is ironic, but Pink Triangle men who were arrested for being homosexual, had to sleep with the lights on with their hands above the blankets to prevent any sexual experiences. But heterosexual men could use other heterosexual men for sexual gratification without being afraid of being considered a "Pink Triangle Homosexual".

This phenomena of heterosexual men using young heterosexual boys for pure sexual gratification is not new, but is should not be compared to what we consider "gay or lesbian relationships" in the 1990's. Ancient civilizations like Greece, and current institutions like prisons and the military are also prime examples of this same-sex behavior between heterosexual men. It is interesting to note, that if a young celibate man with a homosexual orientation just states that he is gay, he will be discharged from today's U.S. military under the "Don't ask, Don't tell Policy". But a heterosexual man, who is caught engaging in a sex act with another man, but then declares that he is heterosexual, is not subject to this immediate discharge. I believe that this policy of recanting was quite popular during the Inquisition, which is why I think that many gays in the military are living lives similar to closeted Marrano Jews. It seems that heterosexual men can get away with having sex with other men in many cultures, as long as they do not show emotions of attachment, respect, or enjoyment; or recant the experience afterwards.

Again people are not concerned with the value of expressing the truth about one's sexual orientation, or the value of love in a deep relationship. The socially accepted value is either to keep things in the closet and lie about one's orientation, be celibate, or to use another for sexual gratification and then recant or repent.

It is this obvious contradiction that appeared in the camps, as well as throughout history that I would like to explore in a more Biblical setting. The one sentence in Leviticus, which some Christians and Jews use to condemn gay and lesbian relationships ("no man should lie with another as is a woman") I believe is condemning the ancient practice of heterosexual men using young boys for their sexual pleasure. To me, it would be an abomination for a homosexual man "to lie with a woman as if she was another man". I believe Leviticus taught the Hebrews about having deep caring relationships, and stable families. I firmly believe that gay and lesbian couples (with or without children) can continue this pattern. That is why I feel that it can be totally consistent to be Jewish and gay, and why it is wrong to lie about one's sexual orientation to fit in to what orthodoxy considers the proper way to mate.

We have to make the distinction between today's lesbian and gay couples and heterosexual same sex partners or Nazi sado-masochistic relationships. Whether by studying the lessons of the Holocaust, or by reading all of Leviticus, (with all of its interpreted sexual regulations) can we see that they may not be referring to today's homosexual families. And just as the Germans had to change their way of life of hating and humiliating Jews was morally wrong, one day American bigots will have to learn that they were making gays and lesbians life miserable for no real reason.



HOMOPHOBIA AND THE HOLOCAUST by Rick Landman, Esq. Founder of the International Association of Lesbian and Gay Children of Holocaust Survivors Every year in April, on the Anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, the world commemorates Yom HaShoah or the Day of Remembrance for the Holocaust. The services usually focus on the Jewish victims of the Nazi terror, never mentioning what happened to the homosexuals at the time. While I agree that the systematically planned mass extermination of the European Jewish community was a unique experience in history, I believe that the lessons from the Holocaust go further than anti-Semitism.

As a Jewish son of two Holocaust Survivors, I grew up with a constant reminder of the Holocaust. I developed a vigilance against right wing politics, and a special sensitivity to those who are being persecuted. But as a gay son, I am surprised to say how little I knew about Nazi anti-homosexual persecution until recently. No one told me how Hitler's first actions were to close down homosexual cabarets, bars, sexual research institutes, etc. and to use existing laws to send homosexual men to concentration camps. And all this was years before Jews were systematically rounded up.

It is well documented that Hitler's racist philosophy began harassing Jews from the outset in 1933. It is also well documented that Nazism was anti-homosexual before Hitler ordered Roehm and his SA to be slaughtered on June 28, 1934. The Reich Office for the Combating Homosexuality and Abortion which was officially established in October 26, 1936 was the reorganization of several smaller bureaus in effect since 1933. Five years before Kristallnacht, Hitler ordered the destruction of Magnus Hirschfeld's Institute of Sexual Science which was trying to repeal the anti-sodomy laws of the Weimar Republic. The famous pictures of the May 10, 1933 book burnings by the youth in the town square was not only an anti-Jewish event as much as a way of destroying Hirschfeld's Institute's documents. Remember Hirschfeld was arrested for being a homosexual and not for being a Jew.

I used to ask my father why the German people didn't say anything in 1938 when the stores and synagogues were destroyed and Jewish boys and men were sent to concentration camps. He answered that it was too late. By 1938 a climate of fear was so great that few would risk public denunciation of Hitler's practices. But why didn't people get upset earlier on when homosexuals were sent to concentration camps or lost their businesses?

The Ministry of Propaganda had started a campaign for against "a-socials" and warned that family values were being threatened by homosexuals and inferior races. A massive push against abortions for Aryan women, as well as moralizing against homosexuals was the early Nazi philosophy. Once again, we see the right wing combining these issues into a rallying cry. What scares me is that even some right wing Jews have fallen for this. I was appalled to hear that certain Orthodox rabbis felt that they had more in common with the Pope than with reformed Jews because of their common stance on combating homosexuality, abortion (and resistance to women in the clergy).

Another Nazi philosophy that has gained acceptance in modern Catholic and some areas of Jewish thought is the concept of "loving the homosexual, but condemning homosexuality". Hitler felt that with hard labor, (or later with medical experiments) that most homosexuals could change their orientation. He wanted the Aryan homosexuals to be able to reproduce and fight in the army, so at first, he just wanted to "re-educate the homosexual and eradicate homosexuality". But this belief quickly escalated into the destruction of all homosexual culture and thousands of homosexuals.

I didn't know that when the war ended and the Jews were freed from the camps, homosexuals still had to live in fear. When the Jews received restitution money, the homosexuals were told that if they applied for restitution for their longer time in the camps that they could still be sent to jail for their crime. What we never learn in the books about the Holocaust is that the anti-homosexual laws were first written in 1871 and remained on the books until 1970. Therefore, even though some homosexual inmates may have survived over 10 years in the camps, they received no restitution or acknowledgment of the atrocities.

Today, I see New York City passing laws to close down all adult use gay establishments from Greenwich Village under the guise of moving adult use businesses from residential neighborhoods. I see demagogues defining family values as being the total domain of heterosexuals, and demeaning anything that has to do with equal rights for gays and lesbians.

I only hope that my fathers words about the end of World War II come true in my life. He told me how foolish some of his German gentile friends must have felt when they realized that all the anti-Semitic propaganda was not true. I hope to live long enough to see the time when the homophobes (gentile and Jewish) will see that we too are part of God's work and that we deserve the same love and pursuit of happiness as others.

Editorial Note:
There are now two new organizations which have recently been formed. "The Pink Cross" is a Swiss gay organization that is a member of our Pink Triangle Coalition, and is officially part of the Swiss Fund. The Pink Triangle Coalition is comprised of several groups which are focusing on the issue of "Pink Triangle" concentration camp victims of the Nazi Era. Our group, the International Association of Lesbian and Gay Children of Holocaust Survivors is a member of the Pink Triangle Coalition.
The following letter explains what is going onů
>From ILGA EuroLetter 59:
>

>ILGA-EUROPE JOINS THE PINK TRIANGLE COALITION


>By Kurt Krickler

>At a two-day meeting held in Berlin, 21-22 February 1998, the >"Pink Triangle Coalition - An International Coalition for >Co-ordinating Affairs Related to the Nazi Persecution of Gay Men >and Lesbians" was informally established by representatives of >the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission >(IGLHRC), the World Congress of Gay and Lesbian Jewish >Organisations (WCGLJO), ILGA-Europe, Pink Cross (Switzerland), >and Homosexuelle Initiative (HOSI) Wien (Austria). Several >German scientists and researchers also attended the meeting but >no representative from "Schwulenverband in Deutschland", the >national German gay organisation, which will also be invited to >join the Coalition, as will be the International Organisation of >Lesbian/Gay Children of Survivors. There are no plans for the >time being, however, to make the Coalition into a formal >organisation.

> >The main purpose of the Coalition is to represent the gay and >lesbian interests and concerns vis-Í-vis the two recently >established funds, e.g., the "Swiss Fund for Needy Victims of >the Holocaust/Shoah" and the "International Fund for Needy >Victims of Nazi Persecution" set up in the context of the London >Conference on Nazi Gold in December 1997 by the British >Government and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. While the >Swiss Fund is fed by monies (275 million CHF) provided by the >Swiss Government and Swiss banks (not to confuse with the funds >in "ownerless accounts" in Swiss banks), the International Fund >will be fed by money given by donor countries which can also >have a say how to use their donations.

> >ILGA-Europe member Pink Cross is represented in the respective >body of the Swiss Fund, established in February 1997. Pink Cross >is also dealing with applications from gay men (and hopefully >lesbians) because individual claims cannot be made directly to >the Fund but only through one of the organisations representing >victim groups. Until today, five gay men persecuted by the Nazis >have filed applications to the Swiss Fund via Pink Cross. All >five have been granted financial assistance, e.g., 2,000 CHF >each, which is not really a huge sum.

> >It was, however, not so easy to establish a gay/lesbian >representation at the "International Fund". Therefore, there >have already been contacts between WCGLJO, IGLHRC, ILGA-Europe >and Pink Cross in late summer 1997 in order to establish an >international coalition, and this "Coalition", which had no name >yet at that time, approached the London Conference on Nazi Gold >in the beginning of December 1997. WCGLJO and "Coalition" >representative Jack Gilbert, however, was refused to attend the >London Conference. Therefore, the persecution of gays and >lesbians in the Nazi era was completely ignored by the >conference. That's why the Coalition has prepared a Paper - >titled "Nazi Persecution of Gay Men and Lesbians" - to be >included in the Final Report of the London Conference on Nazi >Gold. In order to have it included, this Paper had to be >submitted by another NGO that attended the meeting. This was >done by the European Jewish Congress. >

>Another issue with the International Fund is to get the Pink >Triangle Coalition on the Annex B List of Recognised NGOs for >the purposes of the fund as established in London. The purpose >is twofold: 1. to support "needy" victims individually, and 2. >to support education about the Holocaust/Shoah. Each donor >country will designate how they wish their contribution to be >distributed but only to the NGOs on this list. The Coalition >will now have to convince at least one donor country to request >the Coalition to be added to this Annex B List. And for that, >the Coalition must convince this country that it is in a >position to distribute monies under those two criteria. To >complicate things, Pink Cross is already on this list but, of >course, the Coalition is striving to get on the list as such. >

>In this context, ILGA-Europe is looking for needy victims of the >Nazi regime, "needy" meaning that they leave below or just at >poverty line in their country. There are great chances that >their applications will be accepted at both Funds. Additionally, >we invite ILGA-Europe members to come forward with proposals for >educational projects on the Holocaust/Shoah (exhibitions, >seminars, lectures, commemorative sites, etc.) which could be >submitted especially to the International Fund. >

>More information is available from Kurt Krickler, HOSI Wien, >Novaragasse 40, A-1020 Vienna; Tel./Fax: +43-1-5451310; e-mail: >hosiwien@via.at

> >===================================================== >Sydney Levy

>Research and Advocacy Director >International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission >1360 Mission St, Ste 200 >San Francisco, CA 94103 >USA >Phone: +1-415-255-8680 >Fax: +1-415-255-8662 >Email: sydney@iglhrc.org >Check out our website at http://www.iglhrc.org/ >

>*The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission* is a non-profit >humanitarian organization that monitors, documents, and mobilizes urgent >responses to human rights violations against lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, >the transgendered, and people with HIV and AIDS worldwide. >

Julie Dorf Executive Director International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission 1360 Mission Street, Suite 200 San Francisco, CA 94103 USA

Tel. +1-415-255-8680 Fax +1-415-255-8662 email: Julie@iglhrc.org Check out our website at http://www.iglhrc.org/

The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) is a US-based, non-profit, non-governmental organization that protects and advances the fundamental human rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgendered people, people living with HIV or AIDS, and other sexual minorities throughout the world. Established in 1990, IGLHRC responds to human rights violations on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity and HIV sero-status through documentation, advocacy, coalition building, public education, technical assistance and internal development.

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