So That We Might Not Forget

FOREWORD: In the comments section of a post updated here awhile ago, some commenters derided the notion of gay pride, labeling it as a bit too much in the making of a point about the existence of homosexuality in the society. Some people expressed the opinion that they believe Gay Prides to be unnecessary. A Kitodiariesian dug up the write-up you’ll read below, to explain why Gay Prides are necessary. It is a symbol which serves to make the international gay community not forget the horrors of the world before.

The piece is a bit of history, originally titled ‘The Gay Holocaust’ and published on stop-homophobia.com. Check on it.

*

holocaustIn 1928, there was an estimated 1.2 million “out” homosexual men living in Germany. As Adolf Hitler rose in power, gay organizations were banned and scholarly books regarding homosexuality were burned. Hitler’s racial state ideology branded homosexuals not only as “parasites” and degenerates, but as enemies of the state. In 1935, the Nazi government significantly expanded the criminalization of homosexuality.

Under the direction of SS head, police drew up “Pink Lists”, and embarked on a vicious crackdown on homosexual men and women. Many were sent to mental hospitals, others were castrated by court order, and 100,000 of these men were sent to concentration camps. The pink triangle (now a symbol of Gay Pride) was placed on the prisoners to mark that they were homosexuals. An estimated 55,000 were executed.

Heinz Dormer spent nearly ten years in prisons and concentration camps. He spoke of the “haunting agonizing cries” from “the singing forest”, a row of tall poles on which condemned men were hung: “Everyone who was sentenced to death would be lifted up onto the hook. The howling and screaming were inhuman…Beyond human comprehension”.

CONTINUED PERSECUTION – After the camps were liberated and the plight of the Jewish victims acknowledged worldwide, the persecution of homosexuals continued throughout post-war Germany. While many survivors were rebuilding their lives and families initially in displaced persons camps, homosexuals faced further persecution and social exclusion. In fact, many pink triangle survivors were re-imprisoned as homosexuals remained deviants in the eyes of post-war society.

SILENT SHAME – The gay survivors who were liberated (i.e. not subject to further prison terms) often found themselves ostracized from society. Some were not welcomed back to their homes in the aftermath of war for the ‘shame’ they had brought on their family’s reputation. Those who did return often kept their experience to themselves, fearing that the sensitive nature of the horrors would bring further distress to family members. Some never spoke out about their suffering.

NO JUSTICE – In the 1945 Nuremberg war crime trials that followed the liberation, no mention was ever made of crimes against homosexuals. No SS official was ever tried for specific atrocities against pink triangle prisoners. Many of the known SS Doctors, who had performed operations on homosexuals, were never brought to account for their actions. One of the most notorious SS doctors was Carl Peter Vaernet who performed numerous experiments on pink triangle inmates at the Buchenwald and Neuengamme camps. He was never tried for his crimes and escaped to South America where he died a free man in 1965.

Recognition did eventually come but late for many of gay victims and survivors, who lived the rest of their lives as criminals in the eyes of the law. While memorials remember the many other victims of the Holocaust, it was 54 years before one included the gay victims. In January 1999, Germany finally held its first official memorial service for the homosexual victims at the former Sachsenhausen concentration camp.

APOLOGY – However, it wasn’t until December 2000 that an actual apology came. The German government issued an apology for the prosecution of homosexuals in Germany after 1949 & agreed to recognize gays as victims of the Third Reich. Survivors were finally encouraged to come forwards and claim compensation for their treatment during the Holocaust (although claims had to be registered before the end of 2001).

The Geneva-based aid agency, International Organization for Migration (IOM) was responsible for the introducing and handling the claims.

On May 17th 2002, the process was completed as thousands of homosexuals, who suffered under the Reich, were officially pardoned by the German government. About 50,000 gay men were included. German justice minister Hertha Daeubler-Gmelin told parliament, “We all know that our decisions today are more than 50 years late, they are necessary nonetheless. We owe it to the victims of wrongful Nazi justice.” A memorial to the homosexuals who died in Nazi concentration camps was unveiled in May 2008 opposite the main Holocaust memorial for Jewish victims in Tiergarten Park in Berlin.

We Must Never Forget!

49 thoughts on “So That We Might Not Forget

  1. Shame on me.. really I dint know this.. I thought the pride was just a party thing and we sure love partying. I ve stayed in Berlin during Summers and never heard this. Thanks for the education and shame on the main media for not educating us, embarrassed at myself for never researching on this.

  2. What a lovely piece and I dare say that when the time comes for Nigeria to finally accept the gay brother in their midst then we would hear the most outrageous stories of hiding and backstabbing we could ever imagine……

  3. It’s always good to be informed before speaking up about something. This was quite a history class, thankyou.

    The surgery carried out on them, what were they for?

  4. We’ve really endured unspeakable horror in history…
    When is it gonna end??
    For y’all who think gay prides are not necessary, think again… Its not an event to throw it to ppls faces about being gay…Its about something deeper, even though today the shows are embellished with lots of colour & activities.
    Y’all stupid Nigerian gay ppl shld take note…
    STOP HATING YOURSELVES!!!! ITS UNNATURAL ..
    Just bcos someone told you you’re less awesome than the rest of the society doesn’t mean you are. I see a lot of people who still aren’t sure of themselves (the self guilt/hate). Well, the sooner u wake up and start being happy &enjoying life, the better for you…
    Being gay won’t make you go to hell if that’s what u think….there are 1001 sins that’ll lead you there already…
    The moronic homophobes are all going to hell one way or another…In fact if the supernatural trumpet sounds today, I’m not sure if anyone in Nigeria will rapture(just using Nigeria cos that’s where we live, it’ll be mostly the same in other places). The so called pastors might fly to the ceiling and then come crashing down..
    Let’s stop deceiving ourselves…Just live a good life, try to be true to yourself and be happy.

    • Hahahahahaa! I got to ‘the so called pastors might fly to the ceiling and then come crashing down’ and I just couldn’t help my laughter. The sheer image of Chris Okotie tumbling down from the ceiling during rapture call… Lmao

      • You know I rarely use foul language, but do get off your bloody high horse and stop being condescendingly silly. Stupidity is not exclusive to gay people!

      • Errrmm Dennis the self proclaimed alpha gay, I don’t have ur time…
        Never have and never will…
        I don’t direct insult @ anyone here.. If u don’t like my comments here, shut ur eyes when you see it…
        If you’re so freaked out about my high horse, go get urs…mtchew…

    • Nna,not so fast.im rapturable bcos I have accepted Christ as my personal Lord and saviour so my sins no matter how heavy is nailed to d cross and I bear them no more. The only thing that takes people to hell is the rejection of Christ and His free offer of salvation. This piece is indeed insightful.im just knowing this

      • smh … This opium is strong sha, the brainwashing is so thorough!! i have to applaud … Enjoy nwannem, if it makes you happy, suck away at your opium pipes, you’re already blissfully enraptured … why do you need a second rapture sef … ***goes back to brushing long silky curls***

    • @King, “men of God” my gay ass!! those are highly intelligent advanced scam artists abeg. I dont listen to a single word of their drivel. However, if it helps you sleep better at night, who am i to stop you? **smiles and retouches makeup***

      • So pray tell khaleesi luv how much did you pay for the oxygen you just breathed today or ok yesterday oh sooo sorry last week or even when you were born??? How much?? Oh sorry even if you didn’t pay you know the guy from where you get it freely right…eh his your friend or brother or something right?? WRONG!!! Whether you like it or not or whether you believe it or not there is something called GRAVITY….and so if you like tell yourself I don’t believe in gravity cause I don’t see it..its still there…SO IS GOD my dear…whether you believe or not and whether even I believe it or not HE IS STILL GOD!!! So suck it up and until you manufacture your own oxygen or pay for it or even stop gravity oh pls……

      • belief in God and anti – religion are not mutually exclusive you know? @King and Gad, religion is not the only path to God, i prefer to embrace and pursue a more personal and enriching relationship with God devoid of all the man – made crap with its heavy infusion of Judeo – European medieval cultural, norms and lifestlyes and its major pillar of false validity which is a 4000+ year old book of highly dubious origins authored by a bunch of jews (at various times). whose motives and circumstances we shall probably never understand. Nahhh, i reject that biko … if it makes you happy and helps you sleep better at night, please please suck away furiously at your opium pipes ***hugs you tightly***

  5. I’ve always suspected that gay prides had deeper meanings than just parading through the city and partying. But I’m very grateful for this wonderful piece. It was a real eye opener.

    Homophobia is really very bad. And it is one of the worst things that can happen to a human being. Homophobia makes the homophobic blind to the humanity inherent in the gay person.

    As for gay prides happening in Nigeria, it will take a very long time before that happens. Even if every other homophobic nation in Africa changes her stand and becomes more open, tolerant and accepting of gays, I still fear that Nigeria will insist on being firmly homophobic.

    We still have a long way to go.
    SMH.

  6. If homosexuals are really doomed for hell den I’m sure we’re already in hell, abi which kain hell wan pass dis one???…nah to go flenjour for heaven sure pass o…untill earth stops being hell for us, heaven will continue to b our paradise!

    • Wow! Talk about a walk down memory lane.
      Pinky, thanks sooo much for this wonderful expose. I hope some narrow minded people will now see that Gay Prides Α̲̅я̩̥̊ƺ №t all about Partying but to show that through it all, we Α̲̅я̩̥̊ƺ still Strong and Standing Tall and Nothing can break our Spirit (№t even their Crappy Bill).
      Though it will take Nigeria ages to accept the LGBTIQ Community I’m positive that we will get there someday, somehow, somewhere *Well… maybe №t in our Generation*
      XOXO

  7. @PP, maybe you should dig up the Stonewall story and further educate us. Now there’s a major history lesson we shouldn’t pass up on.

    This apology came very late….imagine all the suffering and hiding that had to be done beforehand. As for our fate in Nigeria, like someone said…..that’s going to take a long while!

  8. Well maybe I am going to hell, but it will be the fun section. I will be sitting in the section with air-conditioning ofcourse, TuPac will be rapping for me and Joan Rivers will be cracking me up! What’s not to love!

    Who wants seats by me?

  9. Great piece of history!! i had earlier read about the Nazi concentration camps, I even did extensive research on the holocaust … Auschwitz Birkenau, Dachau, Buchenwald, Treblinka etc, most of my research was focused around the plight of the 6million european jews murdered by the Nazis, i didnt find a lot of material about the plight of the gays. This article really brought home the horror of that awful period of history. for those who say pride is over the top and overly showy and flamboyant. I should also add that if you have ever been to any pride events, you will instantly notice that over and above the partying and revelry, there’s a sense of trying to atone, to apologise, to compensate for the discrimination and hardships suffered by gays, there is an attempt to show that gays are now a normal, cherished and accepted part of the society. In case you didnt know, at most of the biggest gay pride events, the bulk of the attendees/onlookers are actually straight people who come out to party with the gays on their special day.
    Find time to read about the stonewall protests and the attempts in Europe at changing the sexuality of gays through electric shock treatments and other harmful means, as well as the horrible results of these experiments.
    The best thing you can do for yourself as a gay person in the present homophobic reality of Nigeria, is to thoroughly educate and inform yourself. If your only source of understanding as to sexuality is mainly from your church and your immediate environment, then am sorry, you will always remain messed up in the head and torn apart by guilt and internalized homophobia ….

      • Pinky luv don’t you know that the only thing God wants from you is your heart!!! That’s what you USE to believe that he sent his son to die for you….now if you could believe that then that’s all you need to do
        ..” only believe “. Now tell me you’ve heard this before biko….i mean no one needs you to confess all your sins anymore cause that’s not what d Bible says….so baby pls biko open your heart then you will see God or r u like khaleesi who wants to SEE him first before believing!!! Hmmm…might just be too late dear my just be too late!!!

    • Messed up.in the head??? Eh khaleesi thanx a great lot for your “wise wisdom” and your very intelligent wit!! You think you are the wisest abi???? Well there is still one wiser and I am sure you know his name….you know why!?? coz you were fashioned after him..you hail from him and whether you like him or acknowledge him he still died for you and still loves you and luv until you breathe your last oxygen…(there is the word again…hmmm someone said the best things in life are free…i agree) HE’S arms are always wide open for you ok.. never forget luv!!!

  10. Very informative. But I don’t know if its just me. This article told us a lot about persecution of homosexuals in history but nothing about gay pride. Infact gay pride was not mentioned even once. Abi I skip some lines when I read am?

    • Having suffered such persecution, isnt it logical that there would be a movement to celebrate and commemorate the traumatic past? the article doesnt have to say it, it just follows logically …

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