The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

Last ‘Pink Triangle’ Dies, Gay-Bashers Alive and Well

By Leah Nelson on August 8, 2011 - 5:42 pm, Posted in Anti-LGBT

In a moment of disturbing irony, the death last week of the last known gay survivor of Hitler’s concentration camps coincided with a cultural event that highlighted the fragility of LGBT people’s foothold on civil rights in modern society.

Rudolf Brazda, who, according to the Los Angeles Times, spent three years in Buchenwald wearing prison garb marked with a pink triangle to indicate he was gay, died last Wednesday at 98.

On Saturday – just one day after the Times published Brazda’s obituary – Texas Gov. Rick Perry led a prayer rally sponsored by American Family Association, an anti-gay hate group whose most prominent public face last year said that gays were responsible for the Holocaust.

“Homosexuality gave us Adolf Hitler, and homosexuals in the military gave us the Brown Shirts, the Nazi war machine and six million dead Jews,” Bryan Fischer, the AFA’s director of issue analysis for government and public policy, said in May 2010.

As “proof” of this breathtaking claim, Fischer cited The Pink Swastika, a 1995 revisionist history of the Holocaust by fundamentalist activists Scott Lively and Kevin Abrams, of the Temecula, Calif.-based Abiding Truth Ministries, an anti-gay hate group. Drawing on decades of pseudo-scholarly research, the book claims that, rather than being victimized by the Nazis, gay men in Hitler’s inner circle actually helped mastermind the Holocaust.

“While we cannot say that homosexuals caused the Holocaust, we must not ignore their central role in Nazism,” wrote Lively and Abrams. “To the myth of the ‘pink triangle’ — the notion that all homosexuals in Nazi Germany were persecuted — we must respond with the reality of the ‘pink swastika.’”

In 2009, Lively encouraged Ugandan authorities in drafting some of the world’s most draconian anti-gay legislation – including provisions that would have subjected people who had gay sex more than once to the death penalty. (The bill has been set aside for now.)

Credible historians agree that Lively and Abrams’ assertions are utterly false. In fact, records show that between 50,000 and 100,000 men were arrested for being gay (or suspicion of it) under the Nazi regime. They were routinely sent to concentration camps and, like Brazda, marked with a pink triangle on their prison garb.

The Times’ story notes that even though gay sex between men was illegal in Germany in the early 1930s, there was a “climate of relative tolerance” that allowed Brazda to live openly with his partner and mingle with others in the gay community. The Nazis began enforcing and strengthening anti-gay laws soon after coming to power in 1933. On October 11, 1936, Hitler’s security chief, Heinrich Himmler, went further, announcing that homosexuality was to be “eliminated” in Germany.

Homosexuality was made a capital offense in 1942, and offenders in the German military were routinely shot. “That wasn’t a punishment,” Himmler explained, “but simply the extinguishment of abnormal life. It had to be got rid of, just as we pull out the weeds, throw them on a heap, and burn them.”

Fischer also has an opinion on gays in the military. On June 1, he predicted that repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) and allowing gays to serve openly in the military would result in “virtual genocide, military genocide, career genocide, for people of faith in the military, perpetrated by the homosexual lobby.”

Brazda moved to France after the war and lived with a partner from 1950 until the latter’s death in 2002. He made his sexuality public in 2008 when he learned that a memorial to gay Holocaust victims was to be unveiled in Berlin. He once commented that his oppressors “were never able to destroy me. I am not ashamed.”

“I have no more fears,” he told German reporters in 2009.

LGBT people in United States could be forgiven if they lack his confidence. They remain the minority most targeted by hate crimes. They are more than twice as likely to be attacked in a violent hate crime as Jews or blacks, more than four times as likely as Muslims, and 14 times as likely as Latinos. In the last few weeks, two violent incidents targeting transgender women in a northeast Washington, D.C. neighborhood have brought back harrowing memories of the murders of four Washington transgender women, two of them teenagers, in 2002 and 2003.

  • Trev

    My church is kewl with gay or bi or lesbians

  • Mickey

    Interesting how the authors label everyone who disagrees with gay civil rights as a hate group. Since when has the American Family Association and Abiding Truth Ministries been labeled by mainstream media as a hate group?

    And isn’t the labeling of a group you don’t like by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a Hate Group mean that the Southern Poverty Law Center hates this group and therefore is itself a hate group?

    So why is it that vandalism like defacing a political sign against gay rights by someone who is for gay rights is not considered a Hate Crime? And shouldn’t the Southern Poverty Law Center be held accountable for any crimes committed against members or property of American Family Association and Abiding Truth Ministries because if the people vandalizing the property were incited to hate crimes by the fact that the Southern Poverty Law Center calls them a hate group?

    Judge not lest ye be judged doesn’t feel so go on the other foot does it SPLC?

  • Jessie

    +1 Peter, I have noticed the exact same thing. My theory is that secure and confidante people have not reason to belittle or push their views on others.

  • Peter Hockley

    I live in Brighton UK. It is home to largest population of LGBT In the country. I was brought up here, I’m straight or at least I’ve never met a man I fancied!
    I’ve found that the most rabid LGBT haters are the ones who are least secure in their sexuality.
    Come one , come all it is our annual Pride Day tomorrow. A total gas.

  • RockyMissouri

    Thank you for letting us be aware of these disgusting groups….I’m trying not be hatefilled toward them…but take my rage and DONATE, to EQUAL RIGHTS groups, HUMAN RIGHTS groups…including SPLC ……RIGHT NOW! If you can’t afford it, I understand…do a small amount…when you can….TOGETHER WE CAN DO IT.! SHOW THESE HATERS JUST WHO’S IN CONTROL!
    WE ARE….!

  • Dawn

    Admin-

    Clicking on one of the links in the above article caused my computer to lock up. Might want to check into it.

    That said, I think that Holocaust Deniers of any kind are the lowest form of life. Next thing we know Ann and Glen will be promoting it!

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    WTF? Joe Arpaio’s publicity stunt with the pink underwear had nothing to do with homosexuals. He claimed(probably without evidence, as usual) that inmates were stealing jail-issued underwear. He thought that they would be unlikely to steal boxers if they were pink.

    And don’t even try this “Christians/conservatives are persecuted” nonsense on us. First of all, nobody would ever have to make conservative Christians identify themselves with a symbol, because conservative Christians make no attempt to hide their politics or religion. On the contrary, they can’t shut up about it.

  • Mitch Beales

    Concerned Citizen perhaps you should do a little research before you post. Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio makes all the inmates where pink underwear. It has nothing to do with their sexual orientation. http://www.snopes.com/politics/crime/arpaio.asp What would be the point of forcing Christians to wear crosses on their shirts? The only problem most folks have with Christians is when they act “like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners.”

  • http://www.twitter.com/AronL Aron Levy

    Concerned,

    What on Earth are you talking about? Why would you even bring up religion? And regarding your utterly laughable claims about atheists, we atheists and agnostics want no such thing.

    Speaking for myself, I have no issue with other people’s religion. I just don’t want it pushed on me. You mind your own business, and I’ll mind mine. It’s a very personal issue.

    Also, you might consider a spell-check or perhaps even reading your post before you publish it. It makes your argument sound childish.

    Best,
    Aron

  • Concerned Citizen

    The whole idea of the pink triangle seemed to be a propaganda ploy by those in the LGBT community. However. The pink triangle was real. There was even a story that the sheriff in Maricopa County in Arizon wanted to make gay inmate wear pink underwear. In a twist of irony. Could conservative Republicans could be required to weer underwear with the elephant on it? Could Conservative Christians be make to wear crosses on their shirts. It atheists have their way, this could actually happened soon in America.

  • Mitch Beales

    Sam thanks for directing me to the YouTube video. Everyone should watch his testimony and that of the other victims of this great tragedy. To make it easier the link is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-1uFsOXWhQ.

  • Sam Molloy

    Youtube has an11 minute interview with Rudolph Braza, under “Rudolph Braza, last of the pink triangles, tells his story”. He’s sharp as a tack and looks great for his age. The look he gives us at the end is priceless.

  • Linny Miller

    There is no way to even remotely begin
    To understand this depraved inhumanity.

  • Cynthia A. Jones

    Thank you for publishing this article. The propaganda of Rick Perry is causing Christians and ethical people everywhere to shudder in sheer revulsion.

    The good news is that he has sunk his boat politically with this type of hate and foolish ignorance.