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Gay Pride Month Inspires Testimony and Blog Series

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Gay Pride Testimony Series

Susan Dregely on Coming Out

Language: English

Susan discusses coming to terms with her identity as a lesbian, and knowing she didn't have to change who she was even while lacking support and resources.

  • Susan Dregely on Coming Out

    Language: English

    Susan discusses coming to terms with her identity as a lesbian, and knowing she didn't have to change who she was even while lacking support and resources.

  • Gad Beck on rescuing his lover Manfred Lewin

    Language: German

    Hearing that his lover, Manfred Lewin, has been taken with his family to a transit camp, Gad Beck makes the dangerous choice to go undercover as a Hitler Youth to break Manfred out.

  • Albrecht Becker on gay life in 1934 Germany

    Language: German

    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.

  • Gad Beck on coming out to his family

    Language: German

    In this clip, Gad Beck recalls the day he ran in to tell his mother that he "had his first man" and her surprising reaction. It is a sweet story of family acceptance and support.

  • Bertram Schaffner on helping gay soldiers during World War 2

    Language: English

    Dr. Bertram Schaffner, who served as a military psychiatrist during World War 2, recounts how he dealt with the military's anti-gay policy while evaluating draftees.

  • Kitty Fischer on her rescue by a gay male prisoner

    Language: English

    100 Days to Inspire Respect

    Kitty Fischer recounts her time in Auschwitz-II Birkenau when as a young girl she encounters for the first time a gay male prisoner who will turn out to save her life.

  • Marion Pritchard on her early attitude regarding homosexuality

    Language: English

    Marion Pritchard recalls bringing up the topic of homosexuality at the dinner table and how her father took her aside to discuss the importance of tolerance.

  • Douglas Fox recalls a narrow escape

    Language: English

    Thanks to the quick response of a homosexual prisoner at the Oranienburg-Heinkelwerke labor camp (a subcamp of Sachsenhausen), Douglas Fox escaped from a line of transferred prisoners who were unknowingly being given a lethal injection upon their arrival.

  • Stefan Kosinski on meeting Willi G.

    Language: English

    Stefan recalls the evening of November 4, 1941, when leaving the theater where he worked in Torun, Poland, he encounters a German soldier who turns out to be a man named Willi, his first real romance.

    Foreign words in this video clip:

    • Ersatzkaffee (German): substitute coffee
  • Johan Klisser on hiding

    Language: English

    In this video clip, Johan Klisser recalls when he was 16 years old and separated from his parents in Amsterdam. At one point during his attempt at hiding from the Nazis, he stayed with a gay couple who were part of the Dutch resistance.

Gay prisoners line up at BuchenwaldIn honor of Gay Pride Month, each Friday in June USC Shoah Foundation will publish a testimony clip about the diverse experiences of gay people during the Holocaust.

The blog series Under the Shadow of Paragraph 175 will also continue, focusing on individuals in the Visual History Archive who were persecuted by the Nazis for engaging in homosexual activities. Stefan Kosinski and Albrecht Becker have already been featured; the story of Gad Beck will be published next week.

The series begins today with a clip from Albrecht Becker, who was arrested by the Gestapo and sentenced to three years in Nuremberg prison for being gay. In the clip, he recounts the atmosphere for gays in Nazi Germany while Ernst 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.

The clip series will also include survivors and witnesses who interacted with gay people during the war. For example, Jewish survivors Kitty Fischer and Douglas Fox describe gay prisoners saving their lives in the camps, and American military psychologist Bertram Schaffner explains how he helped gay draftees hide their sexuality in order to protect them. Each clip illustrates various ways gay men were affected by not only Nazi persecution but also public opinion of homosexuality in the 1930s and ‘40s.

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 six testimonies, which are conducted in German, Dutch, English and French. 

Playlist Reference: 
Gay Pride Testimony Series