In commemoration of June as Gay Pride Month, the Institute recognizes the gay men and women persecuted under the Nazis from as early as 1934 to the end of the war in 1945, some of whose stories are in the Institute’s Visual History Archive. They are stories of survival, resistance, rescue, and heartbreaking loss. Some of the witnesses were targeted by the Nazis for being gay under the German penal code, Paragraph 175. Other witnesses recall their encounters with gay men and women who provided rescue and aid at great risk to their own lives.
There are 14 indexing terms related to homosexuality in the Visual History Archive that are mentioned across 437 testimonies.
The “Homosexual Survivor” experience group contains only six testimonies, which are conducted in German, Dutch, English and French. By the time that the Institute began recording testimony in 1994, almost 50 years after the end of the war, very few homosexual survivors of the Holocaust were still alive, being already adults during World War II. However, the Archive contains testimonies from gay men and women from other experience groups including Jewish survivors and Rescuer/Aid Providers.
This is a showcase of video clips from the Archive, blog posts, and links to lectures by visiting scholars to the Institute, providing a glimpse into the complexity of the gay experience under Nazi persecution.
What makes Gad Beck’s story so remarkable, however, was that not only was he a “Mischling” but he was also a gay teenager living in Nazi Berlin, the epicenter of a military power antagonistic to both Jews and gays.
Watch Testimony Clips from the Visual History Archive
Albrecht Becker recounts the atmosphere for gays in Nazi Germany while Röhm was still in charge of the SA and how the relative freedom he enjoyed during that time changed dramatically after Röhm's assassination in June 1934.
A Lecture from visiting professor Peter Hayes (Northwestern University)
Bertram Schaffner’s story is a unique one because of the multiple roles he played as a gay German American during the period that saw the rise of Nazi Germany and World War II.
Stefan (Teofil) Kosinski’s testimony is the only English-language testimony we have in the Visual History Archive from a homosexual survivor, which is also remarkable for the fact that Stefan is not a native English speaker.