Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Presentation is loading. Please wait.

GERMAN HOMOSEXUALS Male homosexuality was declared an “unnatural sexual act” in Germany in 1871 – Female homosexuality was ignored Convictions for this.

Similar presentations

Presentation on theme: "GERMAN HOMOSEXUALS Male homosexuality was declared an “unnatural sexual act” in Germany in 1871 – Female homosexuality was ignored Convictions for this."— Presentation transcript:

1 GERMAN HOMOSEXUALS Male homosexuality was declared an “unnatural sexual act” in Germany in 1871 – Female homosexuality was ignored Convictions for this crime were rare until 1933 – Because it was difficult for authorities to forensically establish that an offense had taken place

2 LIBERALIZATION Clear tendency to punish homosexuality more severely from 1900 onwards – At least until 1918 Pendulum began to swing the other way under Weimar Republic – Prime minister Hermann Müller had Reichstag committee on criminal law recommend that homosexual acts be decriminalized in 1929 By only a slim majority Hermann Müller

3 POLITICAL OPINION Those parties in favor of decriminalization included Social Democrats, Communists, and some Liberals Those against decriminalization included Catholic Center Party and German National People’s Party Nazis reacted to the recommendation to alter the law on male homosexuality with outrage and fury Recommendation never came to formal vote in the Reichstag

4 RANDOM ACTS OF PERSECUTION Initially, Nazi persecution of homosexuals had a spontaneous and unplanned character – Sometimes SA thugs would randomly attack homosexual meeting places or they would beat up known homosexuals on the streets – They destroyed Dr. Magnus Hirshfeld’s world famous Institute for Sexual Studies It had provided the 1929 Reichstag committee with the data it had based its recommendation for the decriminalization of homosexuality on Dr. Magnus Hirshfeld

5 THE ROHM AFFAIR Early in 1930, many people were aware that Ernst Rohm, head of the SA, was a homosexual – SDP published private letters by Rohm which proved this Did this in an effort to weaken and divide the Nazis But all Nazi leaders rallied around Rohm and claimed letters were fake

6 NIGHT OF THE LONG KNIVES Internal power struggle between Hitler and Rohm in 1934 led to “Night of the Long Knives” – Rohm was murdered His homosexuality was used as part of the justification for this Murder of Rohm created a “window of opportunity” for the start of the SS- dominated state

7 THE ATTACK REALLY BEGINS Shortly after the “Night of the Long Knives,” Joseph Goebbels announced “We want the cooperation of the entire nation, rich and poor, high and lowly in burning out the bubonic plagues, dens of corruption, and sickly symptoms of moral decay right down to the flesh”

8 AMENDMENT In 1935, Nazis amend old 1871 law to define criminal homosexual behavior as any and all acts of intimacy between men – Not just sex – But also holding hands, having arms around each other, kissing, etc.

9 START OF CRACKDOWN Berlin Gestapo form a special department for homosexuality on November 1, 1934 – First job was to centralize personal data on homosexuals throughout Germany – Also gathered data to blackmail political opponents Also did this to Roman Catholics leaders, the leadership of middle-class youth movements, and General Werner von Fritsch General Werner von Fritsch

10 CENTRALIZATION Gestapo unit merged into secret “Reich Central Office for the Combatting of Homosexuality and Abortion” on October 10, 1936 – Abortion and homosexuality put together because the defenders of both argued that they were private and personal acts and not the business of the state This contradicted the Nazi view that sexuality was the business of the state because both influenced the health and well-being of the German people

11 IMPORTANT POINT Nazi persecution of homosexuals was pursued in the name of “population policy” and “national health”—not, as some have claimed, necessarily by a homophobia driven by anxieties of latent homosexuality by high-ranking members of the Nazi hierarchy.

12 JOBS OF THE REICH CENTRAL OFFICE Job of Reich Central Office were the central registration of homosexuals and instances of homosexuality and the combatting of homosexual acts in accordance with systematic directives – Became a clearing house for information from a number of agencies and for the results of medical research in this area

13 HIMMLER Himmler emphasized that the campaign against homosexuals was necessary to purify “the body of the German nation” He claimed the number of German homosexuals upset the “sexual balance sheet and will result in catastrophe” – Racial-biological imperative

14 ARRESTS ESCALATE 50,000 people were convicted of homosexual crimes between 1933 and 1945 – Most were arrested due to denunciations by their fellow citizens or through large-scale raids – Examples: Reinbeck and Hamburg

15 FROM BAD TO WORSE Following outbreak of war in 1939, persecution of homosexuals expanded within the military while the number of civilian arrests began to decline Homosexual persecution also assumed a different character – In 1940, Himmler ordered that homosexuals who “seduced more than one partner” be sent to concentration camps Tantamount to a death sentence

16 THE CAMPS 10,000 men were forced to wear the degrading pink triangle in concentration camps – Their situation was deplorable Occupied lowest rung of the prisoner hierarchy and made up highest proportion of inmates transported to extermination camps

17 TWO-FRONT CAMPAIGN Nazis attacked homosexuality from two fronts – By killing existing homosexuals – By finding out what caused the problem so that they could prevent the creation of future generations of homosexuals Homosexual prisoners in concentration camps were therefore often subjected to medical experiments

18 CARL VAERNET Danish doctor, Carl Vaernet, conducted hormonal experiments on homosexual prisoners in Buchenwald in 1944 – Designed to “establish on a broad basis whether it is possible to implant an artificial gland which will normalize abnormal sexual desires” – Himmler was very excited by the work and planned to set up an institute where people would be treated with these artificial gland implants – At least 30 prisoners died during these experiments, mainly due to Vaernet’s incompetence as a surgeon

19 AFTER THE WAR Amended Nazi law against homosexuality remained in force in Germany until 1969 – 50,000 people were convicted of homosexual offenses between 1950 and 1965 Between 1/1/58 and 12/31/59, surviving homosexual concentration camp inmates were entitled to apply for compensation for their time in the camps – Only 23 people applied Very few homosexuals who survived the camps received compensation for what they endured during the Holocaust

20 HOLOCAUST DENIAL Denials of the Holocaust should not be seen as merely an assault on the history of one particular group of people – Like anti-semitism, they are attacks on the most basic values of civilization itself Deniers mix truth with blatant falsehood, confusing readers who are unfamiliar with the subject – Half-truths are also put forward, leaving readers with a distorted impression of what really happened

21 DENIER CLAIMS (1) They argue that war (especially WWII) is evil and therefore it is meaningless to assign blame to one side in a war because both sides do evil things Real crimes of WWII were committed by the Americans, Russians, British, and the French against Germany – The atrocities afflicted on Germany by the Allies were “more brutal and painful than the alleged exterminations in the gas chambers” Harry Elmer Barnes

22 DENIER CLAIMS (2) Some claim Hitler was a man of peace, pushed into war by the aggressive Allies – His only fault was that he was “too soft, generous, and honorable” Germans were true victims of the war – They suffered as a result of bombing, wartime starvation, invasion, postwar dislocations, and brutal mistreatment by the Allied occupiers Also subjected to a vengeance which masqueraded as justice at the Nuremburg trials

23 DENIER CLAIMS (3) Deniers claim that the accusation that Germans committed the Holocaust is the ultimate injustice – In the aftermath of WWII, Germany worked to be readmitted into the international community of nations Was forced to confess to false crimes (ie., the Holocaust) to do so To demonstrate that the charges were false would have incurred even greater wrath against Germany

24 DENIER CLAIMS (4) Arthur Butz admits Nazis were guilty of having expressed anti-semitic sentiments – this was justified because of “Jewish control” of the Weimar Republic In any case, Nazi anti-semitism was not significant because they had no intention of annihilating Jews – Germans conducted “population transfers” (deportations) to resolve social, economic, and labor problems – Some Jews were incarcerated in places like Auschwitz but these camps were equipped with recreational facilities. – Some Jews did die but this was only the natural consequence of wartime deprivations

25 DENIER CLAIMS (5) Jews were not victims during WWII but were the victimizers – They stole billions in the form of post- WWII reparations – They destroyed Germany’s good name by spreading the “myth” of the Holocaust – They won international sympathy because of what they claimed was done to them And the used this deception to get what they always had wanted – The establishment of the state of Israel after the war

26 NUT CASES Holocaust denial was originally performed by a small group of political extremists and radical fringe pseudo-historians – They were a group motivated by a strange conglomeration of conspiracy theories, anti-semitic ravings, and neo-Nazi tendencies Natural tendency is to dismiss them

27 CHANGE IN TACTICS Denier modus operandi has changed recently – They now are dedicated to convincing the world that they are engaged in a serious historical enterprise Books and journals have been given an academic format and they work hard to insinuate themselves into the arena of legitimate historical debate – They have also strengthened their ties with influential political groups in the U.S. and Europe

28 WARNING Theodore Mommsen once warned that reason alone isn’t enough to keep people from believing falsehoods – If this was the case, racism, anti-semitism, and all other forms of prejudice would disappear There was no rational basis underlying Nazi atrocities during WWII – There was, however, the appeal of anti- semitism, a fundamentally irrational and mystical ideology Mythical thinking and the force of the irrational have a strange and powerful allure – Even some intellectuals are not immune to it In the name of “free speech” or “intellectual freedom”

29 NOAM CHOMSKY Well-known and highly- respected Jewish philosopher in the 1960s and 1970s Wrote introduction to a book by French denier, Robert Faurisson, in late 1970s – Did not agree with Faurisson but also did not believe that the ideas of a scholar should be censored, no matter how distasteful those ideas may be

30 DANGERS Chomsky’s example illustrates why the dangers of free inquiry should be taken seriously – Even protectors of reasoned dialogue can fall for the convoluted notion that all arguments are equally legitimate They fail to recognize that the deniers quest is not a search for the truth – They are instead motivated by racism, extremism, and virulent anti-semitism Robert Faurisson

31 GROWING SOPHISTICATION Work of deniers has recently become more virulent and dangerous, in part because it has become more sophisticated – Their publications, such as the Journal of Historical Review, mimic legitimate scholarly publications Thereby confusing those who do not know the intentions of the journal

32 ILLUSTRIOUS SUPPORTERS (1) Neo-Nazi groups have adopted the arguments of the deniers David Duke has actively supported the claim that the Holocaust never happened – Former Wizard of Louisiana KKK – Won 40% of the vote (60% of the white vote) in the Republican primary for U.S. senator in 1986

33 JEAN-MARIE LE PEN Leader of the right-wing National Front Party in France Won about 25% of the total vote in the last French presidential election Called the Nazi gas chambers “merely an unimportant detail” in the history of World War II

34 FREE SPEECH? Some people see denier arguments as a test of free speech Deborah Lipstadt – Professor at Emory University – Wrote book on American press coverage of the Holocaust – Appeared on numerous radio interview and call-in shows to publicize the book Hosts sometimes asked her to “debate” a denier on their show When she refused, one producer said “I don’t agree with them at all either, but isn’t this simply another side which our listeners should hear?”

35 EXAMPLE Part-time faculty member at Indiana University used class time to argue that the Holocaust was a propaganda hoax designed to make Germany look bad – University fired him but some students complained that he was being treated unfairly One student even argued that he had brought articles to class which “proved his point”

36 FAIRNESS? A number of teachers of the Holocaust argue that the denier view should at least be mentioned in class as a “controversial” interpretation of the Holocaust – Some students agree with this and complain that their courses did not include a presentation of the “other side.”

37 REASON VS RACISM Certain views are beyond the bounds of rational discourse – These views do not emanate from rational inquiry but from irrational and vicious racism Thomas Jefferson said that, in a setting committed to the honest pursuit of truth, all ideas and opinions must be tolerated – But he added that “we are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it.” Reason cannot combat the Holocaust deniers because their arguments are not based on it – They are based on an odious and irrational racist ideology

38 “YES BUT” SYNDROME Yes, there was a Holocaust but were six million Jews really killed? Yes, there was a Holocaust but the Nazis were only trying to defend themselves Yes, there was a Holocaust, but most Jews died of starvation and disease (as is the case in every war) Yes, there was a Holocaust, but there have been many horrible massacres in history. Why do we only hear about the Holocaust?

39 RESULTS The results of “Yes, but” syndrome blur the boundaries between fact and fiction and between persecuted and persecutors – It robs the Holocaust of its uniqueness and its capacity to offer the world ethical, moral, and political lessons – It reduces the Holocaust to only a relative evil

40 COMPLICATIONS Holocaust denial has given the “Yes, but” approach the cloak of respectability – Denial has stretched the parameters of the debate so far to one side that questions once considered outlandish now find acceptance because they are not full-fledged denial These include doubts about fundamental aspects of the Holocaust – The existence of gas chambers, Hitler’s knowledge of the Final Solution, and the innocence of the Jews

41 AN ALLIANCE “Yes, but” people are interested only in reshaping history and rehabilitating the persecutors – Not in refining our knowledge of the event Deniers use “Yes, but” approach to sometimes find there way into more legitimate circles – “The Leuchter Report” claimed to prove that there had been no gas chambers at Auschwitz But also did not deny that there had been a Holocaust

42 PROBLEM Scholars must study Holocaust deniers to expose their modus operandi – But there is the danger that this attention suggests they are legitimate and gives them publicity – This sort of study appears to give them respectability

43 PROPER RESPONSE (1) Subtle and consequently dangerous denier theories continue to appear – They must be completely dissected – But time and effort must not be spent answering their contentions This would result in an endless response to arguments posed by those who freely falsify findings, quote out of context, and simply dismiss reams of testimony – Deniers have little respect for data or evidence – Their commitment is to an ideology and their “findings” are shaped to support it

44 PROPER RESPONSE (2) But there is a critical difference between debate and analysis – To debate them is to risk giving their efforts the mark of a legitimate historical option – It is better to analyze who these people are and what they are trying to accomplish – Above all, it is essential to expose the illusion of their reasoned inquiry that conceals their extremist views Only when society comprehends this group’s real intentions can we be sure that history will not be reshaped to promote a variety of pernicious objectives – The speciousness of the deniers’ arguments, not the arguments themselves, demands a response

45 SUMMARY (1) Donald Kagan said that the past and, more important, our perception of the past, has a powerful “influence on the way we act in response to our own problems today.” – The deniers know this

46 SUMMARY (2) The deniers hope to achieve Barnes’ goal of using the Holocaust “as a deliberate and conscious instrument of social transformation” by winning recognition as a legitimate scholarly endeavor – Though treating the denial of the Holocaust as a topic worthy of serious recognition may seem to confer this recognition, exposing the deniers for who they really are will ultimately rob them of legitimacy

Download ppt "GERMAN HOMOSEXUALS Male homosexuality was declared an “unnatural sexual act” in Germany in 1871 – Female homosexuality was ignored Convictions for this."

Similar presentations

Ads by Google