The title of my blog post today is a quote from a news article which you can read in full at: http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2015/06/26/queen-pays-sombre-visit-to-bergen-belsen-concentration-camp/
This quote is from the news article, sited above:
Bergen-Belsen – where homosexuals was interned by the Nazis along with a number of other minority groups – was liberated by British troops 1945. Gay prisoners were not set free at the end of the Second World War, unlike other groups, and were made to serve out their sentences.
Approximately 50,000 served prison sentences as “convicted homosexuals”, and around 5,000 to 15,000 gay men were imprisoned in concentration camps across Germany and Nazi occupied countries. Many gay men were imprisoned by the allied authorities after the liberation of the concentration camps as homosexuality remained illegal.
The statue created by Fritz Koelle, known as the “Unknown Inmate,” which is shown in the photo above, was erected at the Dachau memorial site in 1950. The statue is located just north of the old crematorium where the bodies of dead prisoners were burned.
The words on the base of the statue, shown above, when translated into English, mean “To honor the dead, to admonish the living.”
The model for the statue was Kurt Lange, a homosexual who had been imprisoned at Dachau.
Under a new German law, after the Nazis came to power, all criminals who had served two prison terms were sent to a concentration camp for at least six months of “rehabilitation.”
One category of German citizens, who were
prosecuted persecuted by Heinrich Himmler, in his capacity as Chief of the German Police, was homosexuals.
Paragraph 175 of the German criminal code, which had been in effect since 1871, made it a crime for men to publicly engage in gay sex or for male prostitutes to solicit men for sex.
It is important to note that men were only arrested if they were having sex in public, or if they were soliciting men on the street. Some of the men who were sent to a concentration camp under this law were not homosexual; they were male prostitutes.
Himmler began enforcing Paragraph 175 and a total of about 10,000 homosexuals were eventually sent to concentration camps such as Dachau, Sachsenhausen and Mauthausen for at least 6 months of “rehabilitation.” They received regular visits from the medical commissions, who attempted to change their sexual orientation because the Nazis believed that these prisoners were gay by choice.
The first homosexual prisoner to be registered at Mauthausen was Georg Bautler, Prisoner No. 130. The first Jew to be sent to Mauthausen was also incarcerated because he had broken the German law under Paragraph 175.