Saturday, November 1, 2014

The Pink Triangle

Pink Triangle was the Nazi Camp designation for male homosexuals

From Nazi Classification of Undesired People  a bog by Matt & Andrej Koymasky. In this photo above the "P" would indicate a Polish homosexual within the camp structure.

This week's New York Times has a book review of Gay Berlin by Robert Beachy. I haven't read the book but the review sound like it would be an interesting read.
"Under the Reich, homosexual men were subjected to persecution, deemed decadent misfits who could be “cured” only by harsh “education.” Homosexuals thus became yet another minority that was discriminated against, incarcerated and killed. An estimated 100,000 were arrested, and as many as 15,000 were eventually sent to concentration camps, where they were identified by a pink triangle sewn on their prison uniforms. Thousands of them perished."
I am looking forward to reading this book for a couple of reasons, first, I lived in Berlin for awhile in the late 70's and I like to read about the city that was my home for this short period of time and second, I find it interesting that when the rest of Germany was very harsh on homosexuality, Berlin's gay community was allowed to thrive.
"While other German cities pursued stricter policies, it was in Prussian Berlin, under a police commissioner named Leopold von Meerscheidt-Hüllessem, that more liberal policies were adopted, a development that occurred after undercover officers concluded that private clubs and bars for homosexuals were peaceful establishments and did not constitute a public threat or nuisance."
And so it seems it was this more liberal policy in Berlin that helped to establish the German roots leading to a conclusion that homosexuality was a biologically fixed trait.
"Given the extremism of the Nazi solution to human difference, it took the Germans quite a long time after 1945 to reach the sort of openness and tolerance that had existed in “Gay Berlin” before 1914."
Yet, one hundred years later we continue to struggle with homosexuality, hoping that all it takes will be to "pray away the gay". 



  1. I didn't know you lived in Berlin. So that's why you're so sophisticated. I would have liked to visit the Berlin that existed when the young Beatles played there. That seemed to be an interesting time in Berlin's history. I guess it would have been 1963 or so. Cool place. It still is, from what I hear.

  2. I would love to revisit the city as well, to see how it looks after reunification. But to be there when the wall was still up gave me a chance to experience a bit of history.

    I attended the German-American Women's club when I lived there. To talk with the older German women was an experience. To hear them tell their tales of Berlin when it was the capitol of Europe years before WWI. Their eyes would sparkle and shine.

    During the walled off years when Berlin was an island of West Germany, surrounded by East Germany on all sides, every effort was made to make sure Berlin had everything the west had to offer. It really was an amazing time.

  3. This is the tragedy of human existence: things exist only for a time. The Berlin that was, is gone. I hate that. We really-really need a time machine so we can exert control over this.