The Pink Triangle

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Gays in the Holocaust

Before the Nazi era, Berlin had been home to a vibrant gay and lesbian culture. At the conclusion of World War II, the Allies came upon Nazi concentration camps and other sites of atrocity to find thousands upon thousands of people – suffering terribly, emaciated, near death – whom the SS had incarcerated because they were Jewish, Roma or Sinti, dissenting Lutheran and Catholic Clergy, mentally or physically disabled, homosexuals, political dissidents… the list of groups which offended Adolf Hitler was a long one. While great effort was made to repatriate most victims of Nazi brutality, the homosexual survivors were not “liberated.” At the recommendation of British and American lawyers, the men who had been arrested under Germany’s anti-homosexual ‘Paragraph 175’ statute – identified by the pink triangles many were forced to wear – were to be re-imprisoned. The enforcement of anti-homosexuality laws across the U.S. and Europe, meant that many gay survivors of Nazism faced continued persecution, arrest, and detention long after Hitler was defeated. For decades, most of these men were unable to relate the saga of their torture at the hands of the Nazis for fear of outing themselves to a hostile society. No celebrations. No tearful reunions. No commiseration with friends. No community of survivors with which to share their stories. The German government did not recognize or grant reparations to gay survivors of Nazism until 2002, by which time almost all had died. The Pink Triangle was adopted by the modern LGBTQ Rights Movement in the 1970s and became emblematic of life and death during the 1980s and 90s when the male homosexual population once again faced mass death – this time by AIDS and the judgmental indifference that condemned them to a “deserved” fate. Once a hallmark of Hitler’s cruelty and madness, the Pink Triangle is now both a universal symbol of LGBTQ Pride and an international declaration of “NEVER AGAIN!”

Pink Triangle/Gays-in-the-Holocaust Memorial

Plaque Sponsor

Paul Highfield, Ronald Puskarits, Edward Seslowsky, Paul DeSousa, Patrick F. Torres, Myron Mix, Bill Wade, Laura Angelucci and Jennifer Baker, Daniel K. West, Barb Silnes and Tina Chabak

Demography

Era/Epoch Cold War (1945-1991) Great Depression (1929-1939) Information Age (1970-present) World War II (1939-1945)

Commemorations & Honors

AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power (ACT UP) Logo Created With Inverted Pink Triangle and Slogan "SILENCE = DEATH" by 6 Gay Activists in New York City (1987)

Pink Triangle Plaque Installed at the Dachau Memorial Museum Commemorating the Suffering of Gay Inmates (1995)

Pink Triangle Basis of Design for Homomonument in Amsterdam, the Gay and Lesbian Holocaust Memorial in Sydney, the Pink Triangle Park in the Castro Neighborhood of San Francisco and the Pink Triangle on Twin Peaks Displayed Every Year During San Francisco

Pink Triangle Memorial Erected in Tel Aviv Israel

Monument Honoring Gay People Killed by the Nazi's Erected in Berlin Germany

Resources

Related Images

The Pink Triangle Bronze Casting Source Image

The Pink Triangle- Gays in the Holocaust

Pink Triangle Affixed to Gay Men's Clothes in a Nazi Concentration Camp

Nazi Concentration Camp Triangle Classification Flyer

1980's "Silence = Death" AIDS Protest Pin from Gran Fury/Act-UP

Gay Men Awaiting Nazi Judgment

Gay Man with the Pink Triangle

Related Videos

The Pink Triangle Explained

Euronews Report on the Last Gay Holocaust Survivor and Itinerary of a Pink Tria…

AFP News Report on the Pink Triangle Monument Erected in 2014 in Tel Aviv Israe…

USC Shoah Foundation Interview With Gay Holocaust Survivor Stefan Kosinski

AP Report on the Berlin Germany Monument Honoring Gay People Killed by the Nazi…

Authorship

Original Description Author
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Image Source for Bronze Casting
Resources Coordination