Via press release:
Thousands of homosexuals, primarily gay men, perished at the hands of the Nazis along with millions of Jews and other victims including Roma (Gypsies), Poles, Soviet prisoners of war, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and the disabled during World War II and the Holocaust.
The story of what happened to homosexuals in Nazi Germany is the subject of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s traveling exhibition Nazi Persecution of Homosexuals 1933–1945. The exhibition opens at the Museum of Jewish Heritage—A Living Memorial to the Holocaust on May 29, 2015 and will be on display through October 2015.
“The exhibition explores why homosexual behavior was identified as a danger to Nazi society and how the Nazi regime attempted to eliminate it,” says exhibition curator Edward Phillips. “The Nazis believed it was possible to ‘cure’ homosexual behavior through labor and ‘re-education.’ Their efforts to eradicate homosexuality left gay men subject to imprisonment, castration, institutionalization, and deportation to concentration camps.”
In 1933, the year Adolf Hitler assumed power, an estimated one million homosexual men lived in Germany. Nazi policy asserted that homosexual men carried a “degeneracy” that threatened the “disciplined masculinity” of Germany. The Nazis charged that homosexuals’ failure to father children was a factor in Germany’s declining birth rate, thus robbing the nation of future sons and daughters who could fight for and work toward a greater Reich.
Between 1933 and 1945, an estimated 100,000 men were arrested for violating Nazi Germany’s law against homosexuality, and, of these, approximately 50,000 were sentenced to prison. An estimated 5,000 to 15,000 men were sent to concentration camps on similar charges, where an unknown number of them perished.
Guided tours of the exhibit will be conducted every Sunday in June at 12PM. The Museum Of Jewish Heritage is located at the southern tip of Manhattan at 36 Battery Place.[Photo credit: German police file photo of a man arrested in October 1937 for suspicion of violating Paragraph 175.
—US Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Landesarchiv, Berlin.]