Tuesday, April 19, 2011

One man's story.

An excerpt of a survivor of the Holocaust, Pierre Seel.
Pierre was a Frenchman who was persecuted for being gay. He was arrested and put in prison, tortured, raped and abused.
He wrote an auto biography, 'I, Pierre Seel: Deported Homosexual' in which he wrote about his experiences of the war.

"One day the loudspeakers ordered us to report immediately to the roll-call site. Shouts and yells urged us to be there without delay. Surrounded by SS men, we had to form a square and stand at attention, as we did for morning roll call. The commandant appeared with his entire general staff. I assumed he was going to bludgeon us once again with his blind faith in the Reich, together with a list of orders, insults and threats -- emulating the infamous outpourings of his master, Adolph Hitler. But the actual ordeal was far worse: an execution. Two SS men brought a young man to the center of the square. Horrified, I recognized Jo, my loving friend, who was only 18 years old. I hadn't previously spotted him in the camp. Had he arrived before or after me? We hadn't seen each other during the days before I was summoned by the Gestapo.

"Now I froze in terror. I prayed that he would escape their lists, their roundups, their humiliations. And here he was, before my powerless eyes, which filled with tears. Unlike me, he had not carried dangerous letters, torn down posters, or signed any statements. What had happened? What had the monsters accused him of? Because of my anguish I have completely forgotten the wording of the death sentence.

"The loudspeakers broadcast some noisy classical music while the SS stripped him naked and shoved a tin pale over his head. Next, they sicced their ferocious German shephards on him: the guard dogs first bit into his groin and thighs, then devoured him right in front of us. His shrieks of pain were distorted and amplified by the pain in which his head was trapped. My rigid body reeled, my eyes gaped at so much horror, tears poured down my cheeks, I fervently prayed that he would black out quickly.

"Since then I sometimes wake up howling in the middle of the night. For fifty years now that scene has kept ceaselessly passing and repassing through my mind. I will never forget the barbaric murder of my love -- before my eyes, before our eyes, for their were hundreds of witnesses..."

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Persecution of homosexuals

Between 5-15 thousand homosexuals died in concentration camps during the holocaust. Hitler wanted a master race, which excluded homosexuals. Lesbians were not as intensely persecuted as gay men, and few have been recorded for being imprisoned specifically for being a lesbian. Homosexuals were identified with a pink triangle and were used for experiments looking for ‘gay genes’. Gay men often received cruel treatment, such as being used for target practice, being beaten to death and being given harder, more dangerous work than others. It was not until 2002 when the gay community was apologised to by the German government.

Laws against homosexuals were set even before Nazi Germany. In the Reich, 1871, homosexuals could be imprisoned, and when the Nazi’s came to power, these laws were tightened. German homosexuals were either forced to conform to the social standards or were sent to concentration camps.

The pink triangles labels the gay men.

Jewish persecution

Jews were the main target for persecution during Nazi Germany. Anti-Semitism had been around long before Hitler; however it was during Hitler’s reign when the persecution of Jews grew tremendously. It is believed that approximately 6 029 500 Jews either died from being killed by murder or dying from disease or starvation from overcrowded Ghettos. The Nazi Party wanted complete genocide of the Jews, often blaming the Jews for Bolshevism, leaving German’s unemployed and being a people without a homeland.

Jews were thought of as a sub-human race and Hitler's plan was to commit genocide on these people in order for his ideal nation and perfect people, the Aryan race. In Nazi propaganda, Jews were often depicted as monstrous, greedy, seductive and evil - most always being represented by the star of David.

German children during the Holocaust grew up with Nazi propaganda around them, thus grew up believing that Jews were indeed horrible monsters - supporting the Nazi cause.

There are many ways in which Jews were persecuted. Many Jews were taken to concentration camps where they could have died from maltreatment such as starvation, disease and hard labour, or were tortured or executed by different means.

Gas chambers were used to kill masses of Jews at a time. They were hoarded into these chambers where poisonous gas was released.

Corpses were piled in pits to be buried, or burned and the ashes scattered.

Some Jews, such as twins, were used for medical experiments.

An introduction

Many groups and people were persecuted during the Holocaust, not just the Jews. The Nazi party wanted a 'master race' and proved to not stop at anything to rid their country of people they believed did not contribute to the ideal of the master race. These people were marked and tagged by specific colours which included:
- Yellow star of David marked the Jews
- Pink triangle marked gay men
- Purple triangle marked Jehovah witnesses
- Black triangle marked Gypsies/asocial
- Red triangle marked political prisoners
- Green triangle marked criminals

Even more people, such as the mentally and physically disabled were killed off for having a 'life unworthy of life'.