World War II - The giant backward leap (1939-1945)

Author: Queer Memory — 16.3. 2021 — Share on Facebook / Copy link

A good German man must be white, non-Jewish and heterosexual. The rest is in trouble.

Germany and its movement for the emancipation of homosexuality was an inspiration for activists from Czechoslovakia and Hungary. However, after Hitler came to power in 1933, the atmosphere changed drastically. The Nazi regime set up a department to deal with the so-called “purity of the German nation”, which was to be freed from various "diseases" such as homosexuality or abortions. Thus, based on various allegations and political manipulations, about 100,000 people appeared on the lists of homosexuals. About one half of them were sentenced to prison, hundreds more were sent to psychiatry clinics. Some avoided imprisonment by undergoing a so-called "voluntary" castration. From 1937 on, a so-called pink triangle was used to set them apart from other inmates in concentration camps. They faced various forms of suffering and torture, including inhumane pseudo-medical experiments. It is estimated that the regime imprisoned about 10,000 to 15,000 homosexuals in concentration camps. Most of them did not survive.

In Slovakia, national legislation was still in place, and homosexuals continued to face prosecution under section 241. However, there were no organised transports of homosexuals to concentration camps. Homosexual Czechs in the Protectorate were not endangered by concentration camps, but they risked to be punishhed by a heavy prison sentence in a regular prison, just like they did before the war.

In the 1940s, Hungarian State Security considered homosexuals to be "unreliable people in terms of public morality." Hungary therefore proposed to enroll them in a compulsory service where they would perform dangerous work for the army in the first front line. However, this plan could not be implemented.

Shortly after coming to power in 1933, the Nazis also plundered the Institute for Sexual Sciences, which served as a place for research, education, and counseling in the areas of sexual health and sexuality in general. It also sought to achieve the decriminalisation of homosexuality.
Author: Queer Memory
Published at: 16.3. 2021

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