Michael Hamar

Holocaust Exhibit Details Nazi Persecution of Gays

Filed By Michael Hamar | April 05, 2011 11:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Fundie Watch
Tags: American hate groups, anti-gay propaganda, gay-bashing, Maggie Gallagher, Nazi, Tony Perkins

I've noted before on my personal blog the deliberate attempts by some in the Christian Right to tie gays to those responsible for the Nazi horrors of the "Final Solution" and World War II - even as they themselves utilize the same propaganda techniques used against Jews 70 some years ago by the Nazi regime against modern day LGBT citizens.


The clinically insane (at least in my opinion) Scott Lively is one of the worse of such pathologically lying propagandists as exemplified by his book The Pink Swastika which has been thoroughly discredited by legitimate historians even if the ignorant and uneducated fall for Lively's lie in parts of Africa.

The Seattle Times has an article that looks at the lesser recognized victims of Nazi persecution: gays. A link to more information from the Holocaust Museum is here.

Note the chilling parallels between what the Nazi propaganda said against gays and what is disseminated virtually daily by Maggie Gallagher and her cohorts at OM, Tony Perkins and FRC, Virginia Cobb and the bigots at the Family Foundation in Virginia, and of course the Wildmons at American Family Association. These people and their organizations are indeed little better than the Nazi regime of Adolph Hitler when it comes to the intentional lies lies disseminated against LGBT Americans. Here are some story highlights:

A traveling exhibit by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum sheds light on the Nazi persecution of gay Germans. Though the Nazis never intended to murder all gays, as they intended to eliminate all Jews, they nevertheless sent thousands of them to concentration camps and destroyed the lives of tens of thousands others.

Some attendees had no idea before hearing about the exhibit that Nazis targeted gays, Simon said. "With what's happening today, especially with the bullying of homosexuals in schools, people said they wanted to have a perspective of what it looked like during the Nazi era."

Within a month of taking power in 1933, the Nazis closed gay and lesbian publications and gathering places. Their aim was to terrorize gays into sexual and social conformity, according to the exhibit and a lecture Simon gave Sunday.

Nazis targeted gays partly because of Germany's declining birthrate; 2 million German men had died in World War I. They thought gays endangered public morality and they considered homosexuality an infection that could become an epidemic, particularly among youth. In forwarding their hateful agenda, the Nazis often cited "traditional family values," Simon said.

Under Nazi rule, more than 100,000 gay men were arrested; 50,000 were imprisoned. Thousands went to concentration camps. To avoid that fate, many gay men married, killed themselves or even castrated themselves, believing it would help them avoid prison, Simon said.

The next time you see Maggie Gallagher or Tony Perkins engaging in an anti-gay harangue, close your eyes and visualize the faces of some of their propoganda role models - Hitler, Goebbels and Himmler. They are the descendents of these monsters when it comes to denigrating LGBT individuals.

It's an ugly image but quickly puts today's virulently anti-gay "family values" advocates in proper context.

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One can't help but wonder how many of these right-wingnut "Christian" propagandists are themselves homosexuals, just as their Nazi role-models were...

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC includes several exhibit panels about the Nazi persecution of German gay men (about the same amount of exhibit space as they dedicate to the similar persecution of the "gypsies", who were mostly Romanian and Armenian). The exhibit include actual specimens of the "pink triangle" shirts worn by gay men in the camps.

At least one of those panels, if I remember correctly, mentions that gay men (along with other groups, especially political prisoners) were sometimes used in the "medical experiments" performed by the Nazis, which often equated to the scientific documenting of human torture.

Historians have speculated that a substantial number of German gay men joined the SS to further avoid detection. It is only logical to allow that there might be some truth to this -- but this is not that different from Republican US Congressmen railing against homosexuals on the floor of Congress, then cruising the johns on the way home. But leave it to the likes of Scott Lively and his ilk to over-exaggerate this phenomenon all out of proportion and then incorporate it into their propaganda.

Thank you Michael! I am glad someone else is noticing this. Quite scary that some people refuse to learn the lessons of history and walk down the same paths confident they have the higher ground.

The truth is when you begin a machine of hate it can begin to work on its own and no matter the limitations you might seek it can become much more dangerous.

Regan DuCasse | April 5, 2011 3:24 PM

As a member and volunteer of the Simon Weisenthal Center in Los Angeles, any one of my colleagues or Holocaust survivors can prove Scott Lively's propaganda a litany of lies and misrepresentation.

Indeed, I invited the leaders of NOM to look me up and I'd give them a tour of the WSC any time. They also have that option in D.C. where they are headquartered.
I'm also a member of the Southern Poverty Law Center ( who listed them as anti gay) on their watch list.
They all did protest being put on this list, but they did nothing to prove they didn't earn the attentions of the SPLC.
NOM and the FRC responded by trying to minimize and render illegitimate, the work of the SPLC.

It's not exaggeration that their tactics, and libel of the gay community echoes that of the world's known segregationists and supremacists.
They deny it, but the proof is everywhere for anyone to make a comparison.
An easy comparison.
But trust that NOM instead will play the victim card at such a thing.

Good work Michael, the opportunity to call them out on their activity should be taken at every turn.

Paige Listerud | April 5, 2011 4:12 PM

Let's put it all on the table and let everyone learn from history rather than letting Lively, et al, frame the discussion.

Weimar Era Germany had a budding queer movement led by gay sexologist and advocate Magnus Hirschfeld. He had built an institute for the study of human sexuality and was developing a classification of gender beyond the binary. He and his colleagues also almost succeeded in passing civil rights protections for Germany's queers at the Reichstag, their legislation defeated by a narrow vote.

It was after the vote that a member of the Nazi party stood up and declared the pro-queer legislation part of a Jewish plot to emasculate Germany. Hirschfeld was Jewish as well as gay.

Unfortunately, the Nazi party also had its queers. Ernst Roehm was the homosexual leader of the SA, the storm troopers, who were made up of working class thugs whose same-sex activities were well known to everyone in the Nazi Party. It's impossible that Hitler could have been ignorant of Roehm and his troops' homosexuality--according to one source, Roehm was a member of Hirschfeld's League for Human Rights. But Roehm was Hitler's principle agent of Nazi brutality and terror, second only to Hitler in terms of power and control in the party.

I guess so long as Roehm homosexuals were beating up Jews, Hitler could tolerate having them around--for a little while.

Finally, June 30, 1934, Hitler ordered the Night of the Long Knives, which murdered Roehm and purged 1000 leading storm troopers from the Nazi Party.

From that point forward, the Nazis stormed Hirschfeld's institute, burning all its records and research and raided the bars, cafes and nightclubs frequented by LGBTQ. The party threw queer men into concentration camps, forced to wear pink triangles. Queer women were often lumped in with "anti-social" women, which could include prostitutes and other marginalized women. Himmler established the Reich Central Office for the Combating of Homosexuality and Abortion, which was later taken over by Joseph Meisinger. Below is a statement made by Meisinger in 1937 regarding Third Reich policy toward homosexuals:

"No one says to the police: you shouldn’t arrest this thief because he might have acquired kleptomania. Similarly, once we have recognized that a homosexual is an enemy of the state, we shan’t ask the police—and much less the Political Police—whether he has acquired his vice or whether he was born with it. I should mention here that experience has shown beyond doubt that only a vanishingly small number of homosexuals have a truly homosexual inclination, that most of them by far have been quite normally active at one time or another and then turned to this area simply because they were sated with life’s pleasures or for various other reasons such as fear of venereal diseases. I should also say that, with firm education and order, and regulated labor, a great number of homosexuals who have come to the attention of the authorities have been taught to become useful members of the national community."

". . . firm education and order and regulated labor . . . " Don't you just love Nazi euphemisms for concentration camps? Anyway, if there's a lesson to be learned it's that Third Reich history isn't simple. They knew how to turn people against each other and ultimately get their way. Left wing, liberal and moderate queers were ultimately undone by right wing queers siding with manically corrupt and abusive power.

Brad Bailey | April 5, 2011 6:46 PM

There is no doubt that the religious right is the spiritual impetus behind a broader fascist movement in the U.S. spurred on by wealthy Republican corporatists and their lackeys in the lobbying industry. Their influence extends from the highest echelons of government all the way down to the state and local level.

These people give lip service to smaller government only when it serves their laissez-faire corporate agenda. For the rest of us, they promote a repressive, authoritarian, Big Brother style of government.

Witness the anti-abortion, anti-gay, anti-union legislation currently signed into law or under review in many states. Witness the get-tough-on-crime and get-tough-on-drugs legislation of the last 30 years, which has created a 50 billion dollar a year anti-drug beaurocracy and a burgeoning prison-industrial complex.

Witness our interventionist foreign policy which combines a continuous warfare state with U.S. imperialism. This policy has nothing to do with "national security" and everything to do with big oil and continued reliance on a vast military-industrial complex.

Powerful and continuing nationalism, a disdain of human rights, the identification of scapegoats as a unifying cause, the supremacy of the military, obsession with national security, the entwining of religion and government, the protection of corporate power and suppression of labor power, and an obsession with crime and punishment--- ALL characteristics of fascism.

Mark my words: it's only a matter of time before some "national emergency" occurs in this country and martial law is declared, similar to the burning of the Reichstag prior to the rise of the Nazi state.

Regan DuCasse | April 5, 2011 9:53 PM

Employing homosexuals or Jews into the Nazi's agenda, was certainly a way of KNOWING WHERE THEY ALL WERE.
A matter of divide and conquer going on for sure. In the end though, homosexuals, innocent of EVER being a part of the Nazis were murdered along with everyone else on the Nazi hit list.

What should piss anyone off, is how the religious right in this country, will wrap themselves in the mantle of victim and persecuted. Will engage the challenge to their overreach as a compromise of their rights. They are claiming all over again, that it's gay people who threaten the best of society's future.
And it's gay people who are less and less protected by the Constitution, or even protection from casual street violence and vandalism.

Every damn time an American Christian opens their mouth and cries "I'm being persecuted!" is showing their disrespect for those in their graves from the Holocaust THEN, and the attack on even the most innocent of gay or perceived as gay children NOW.
Alan Turing was a gay man who gave millions of people their lives, thanks to his genius AGAINST the Nazis. And we all know how he was thanked for that.

If Lively, et al, REALLY believed that gay people are more favored than they are, and have more rights...ask them how soon they'd like to take the PLACE of a gay person.

Great post. Wish I could see the exhibit.

And it's true. When you actually read about what the Nazis were doing, their propaganda techniques, the political forces that brought them into being, the economic situation they were responding to, it makes it clear what their agenda was and the parallels to today are noticeable.

You don't even have to have a propagandist linking it to the American right today with you, it just jumps right out. But that's why the American right likes to link Hitler to the American left - their followers aren't going to look any of this stuff up and they have to keep ahead in order to fully pin it on the left.

The fact that the rest of us feel that we can't make any comparisons to that period in history because it was just too terrible (as if that means we should forget it) means that we've already given up that debate.