Gay Pride Month Inspires Testimony and Blog Series

Thu, 06/04/2015 - 5:00pm

In 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.