UNITED STATES HOLOCAUST
MEMORIAL MUSEUM'S GAY AND LESBIAN CAMPAIGN PASSES $1
In its first year, the Museum's fund-raising campaign in
the gay and lesbian community has raised more than one million dollars to
establish an endowment for the study of what happened to homosexuals
during the Holocaust. The Rath Foundation of Janesvilles, Wisconsin has
now offered to match the next $400,000 in donations. To donate please
write to the USHMM, Gay and Lesbian Campaign, 100 Raoul Wallenberg Place,
SW, Washington DC 20024-2150 or call (202)
Date: Tue, 26 Jan 1999 This is taken from www.cnn.com
Gay Holocaust Victims to Be Honored in First Official Ceremony
BERLIN (AP) -- Holocaust memorial day services at the former Sachsenhausen concentration camp will remember homosexual victims of the Nazis, the first official commemoration of the estimated 10,000 gays persecuted during World War II.
Wednesday's program, which includes a wreath-laying ceremony and lectures, is designed to honor a group organizers say has long been overlooked because of prejudice against homosexuals.
"There were different groups of victims, but all were victims and all should be commemorated in the same way. There should be no discrimination between groups of Nazi victims," said Horst Seferens, spokesman for the memorial at the former Sachsenhausen camp.
Sachsenhausen had about 1,000 homosexual inmates, more than other concentration camps because of its proximity to Berlin, which had a thriving gay culture in the 1920s, Seferens said. By the 1930s, the slightest glance or kiss between men was enough to warrant incarceration in a Nazi camp.
Identified by pink triangles on their uniforms, gay prisoners were isolated in separate housing and subjected to particularly hard labor. Many were forced to toil in the Nazi's brick making factory at the camp under the slogan "hard work will make you masculine."
Occasionally, Nazi camp officials allowed gay musicians to perform for other prisoners, Seferens said, one reason that Thursday's ceremonies will include a concert by a Berlin gay men's choir.
Less is known about gays than other Nazi victims, in part because the continuing stigma against homosexuals makes gay concentration camp survivors reluctant to speak publicly about their experiences, said Seferens. "They don't attend these memorials, and I doubt they ever will," he said. The harsh Nazi law criminalizing homosexuality remained on the books in Germany long after the war.
Since the institution of Holocaust Memorial day three years ago, Sachsenhausen has planned programs honoring the so-called "forgotten" victims of the Nazis. Last year's theme was Jehovah's Witnesses.
Members of Berlin's gay community welcomed the program as a first step toward homosexuals receiving the same acknowledgment as other victims -- including financial compensation given to Jews and others.
Under pressure to compensate World War II slave laborers, Germany's new center-left government vowed in October also to set up a fund for the "forgotten victims" -- including gays.
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RICHARD PLANT DIES
Richard Plant, the author of "The Pink Triangle" died on March 2, 1998 at the age of 87. His book, which covered the experience of homosexuals during the Third Reich was one of the earliest to bring attention to the issue.
The international hunt for Danish Nazi doctor Carl Peter Vaernet is over.
If you want more information about this story, please go to the website for OUTRAGE at http://www.OutRage.cygnet.co.uk/vaerDenm.htm
The well-known gay activist and news-stuntman Peter
Tatchell of OutRage! in England has written letters to the Danish PM Nyrup Rasmussen and Argentinian PM Carlos Menem about the fate of Vaernet.
IHWO has now found a relative in Argentina, the grandson
of Carl Vaernet, who has told that both his father and grandfather are dead, and that allthough the gruesome past of Vaernet has been a complete shock for him, he will graceously find details and the cemetary of Vaernet.
Now the fate of the most notorious KZ doctor experimenting on gays is known, the question remains about who helped him flee to Argentine in 1947 and what has been undertaken by the government (and the press) in the last 50 years to get the Danish Mengele home for a war-criminal trial?
CONTROVERSY IN GERMANY... Can Reform Judaism Make a Come-Back or will the Orthodox branch of Judaism be the only option for today's Jews?
While the issue of plurality is being discussed in Israel, the same concept is being overlooked in Germany. It is interesting to note, that for hundreds of years before Hitler, Germany was the home and birthplace of Reform Judaism. After the war, most of the Jews who settled in Germany (many coming directly from Concentration Camps or Displaced People Camps) were Orthodox. Today, many of the new Jewish immigrants from Russia and Eastern Europe are secular. This leaves a rather complex community which is complicated by the fact that Germany is one of the few countries with a religious tax. All people must give 9% of their income to their official religious affiliation. The government has approved Catholics, Protestants and Jews (no Muslims or Jehovah Witnesses or Scientologists)as the only official religions, and leaves the way the money is spent up to the local communities.
So the Jews get taxed and the money goes to the Orthodox community, because there is no Reform or Conservative Movement in Germany. They are trying to build one, but no funds are available. Can you imagine trying to build a congregation, while having to give 9% of your income to a synagogue that you do not belong to?
The struggle is just beginning, but support must be given to help all Jews in Germany be able to practice their Judaism as they want. It is ironic that the birthplace of the Reform Movement, must now fight to even be acknowledged.
For further information, please feel free to email me.
DANA INTERNATIONAL - Israel's First Transexual to Represent Israel in European Song Contest
There is much controversey about whether Dana International will be able to represent Israel even though she won the country's contest. Pressure from the Religious Right-Wing is already mounting. For further information about this click below:
Click on this to read more about Dana International
The Movie BENT is now out at theaters across the country. A "must see" for anyone interested in the topic of homosexual persecution during the Third Reich. It is similar to the Broadway production, just much more realistic. It is a tough movie to watch because it does such a good job at portraying the era of the early Nazi period before Kristallnacht.
If you want to know more about this movie, just click on the word below to jump to the MGM webpage for:
HOLOCAUST MUSEUM CONTROVERSY IN NEW YORK CITY
The new museum in Battery Park City called the Museum of Jewish Heritage - A Living Memorial to the Holocaust is now being sued by 18 rabbis and 2 Roman Catholics. They are trying to prevent the opening from occuring. They are upset that some exhibits include that there were homosexual victims. This chart and along with a time line is what the complainants are upset about. It was reported in Jewish Week that "David Zweibel, general counsel for Agudath Israel of America called the lawsuit's claims somewhere between baffling and highly offensive, and said it does not reflect the consensus of the Orthodox community." We have sent a letter of support and I gave an interview to the National Public Radio station on this topic. Rabbi Yehudah Levin has a problem in commemorating the value of people who "misbehaved" in bed, as he put it, along with the people who died in the name of G-d. The magazine "The Advocate" has devoted a feature article to this issue called "The Triangle is Taken Out of the Star". It is in the December 1997 issue... Or read it yourself...
GAY HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS TO GET SWISS MONEY
SUMMARY: Gay holocaust survivors are eligible to receive
assistance from a Swiss fund for Holocaust victims -
particularly those Gays for whom the end of World War II didn't
put an end to their persecution.
The Government of Switzerland has created a Fund with the aim of
giving financial assistance to victims of Nazi persecution.
There will be made no distinction between different groups of
victims, i.e. Jews, Homosexuals, Roma and Sinti. The Fund is
aimed at giving assistance to needy persons who have been
persecuted on grounds of race, religion, political opinion or
others or who have in other ways become victims of the Nazi
The very general criteria so far fixed are:
Persons who have not yet received any effective material
assistance, who are of old age, and who are double victims
(i.e. who have suffered oppression even after World War II), and
who live in most precarious material conditions.
The Swiss Government fund will move quickly to make its first
disbursement to assist victims of the Nazi Holocaust, including
those interned for being gay. The Fund's chairman Dr. Rolf Bloch
announced July 7 that the executive board voted at its first
meeting to immediately give 17 million Swiss francs ($11.6
million US) - 10% of its original capital - to the neediest
victims. While most of the funds will go toJewish survivors, 2
million francs will go to gays and other victimized groups. The
capital for the memorial Fund was donated by Swiss banks and
businesses in the wake of reports that they had profited from
Nazi looting and from holding the funds of Nazi victims.
Although the Swiss have used the phrase "double victims" to
refer to Eastern European survivors who missed out on
compensation received by many of their Western counterparts
after the war and who suffered oppression even after World War
II, 'gay' Holocaust survivors were literally double victims in
that they were still considered criminals in post-war Germany as
well as in other countries.
As a result, most gay survivors of concentration camps and other
forms of persecution (imprisonment, forced castration, transfer
to a delinquent bataillion like the vicious "Strafbataillon
Dirlewanger") - and a significantly smaller percentage of gays
did survive compared to other groups, it is believed - tried to
hide their sexual orientation to avoid imprisonment after their
Only half a dozen have publicly identified themselves even now.
Nonetheless, the Berne-based National Gay League of Switzerland
Pink Cross has been actively lobbying for gay, bisexual,
lesbian, and transgendered Holocaust victims and their relatives
to obtain their fair share of Swiss assistance.
While estimates of how many gay men died in Nazi concentration
camps range as high as one million, a more generally accepted
figure among scholars is 10,000 to 15,000 gays. (The stringent
anti-gay laws were targeted at men; those lesbians who were
incarcerated were more likely to fall under the general label
Requests for disbursments should be submitted to the Fund not by
individuals but by organizations defending the interests of
If necessary, requests emanating from individuals could be
submitted to the Fund through Pink Cross - National Gay League
of Switzerland. The contact person is Beat Wagner (former
Chairman of Pink Cross - National Gay League of Switzerland and
Member of the Advisory Board to the Swiss Fund for Victims of
the Holocaust). You may contact Beat Wager by
tel. (+41) 1 262 41 84 (home)
(+41) 71 27 27 519 (office)
fax (+41) 71 27 27 476 (office)
The Fund's address is:
Fund for Victims of the Holocaust
c/o Federal Department of Finance
CH - 3003 Berne, Switzerland
According to the AUFBAU, America's Only German-Jewish Newspaper at 2121 Broadway, NY. NY. 10023 in an article entitled, "Swiss Fund Authorized to Pay Holocaust Survivors Very Soon" (October 10, 1997 page 11)..."Between ten and twelve percent of the fund will be set aside to help non-Jewish victims of the war, such as Gypsies and homosexuals." The articles starts with "The World Jewish Restitution Organization has authorized the first payment of $12 million from Switzerland's Holocaust Memorial Fund, paving the way for Eastern European Holocaust survivors to begin receiving restitution as early as this month."