Anti-Homosexuality Sentiments During The Holocaust

We previously touched upon the LGBTQ experience during Nazi Germany, where members of the community were routinely targeted by the Nazis, brought to concentration camps, and murdered along with everyone else. The Nazis treated them even worse than members of other groups — some homosexual men were used as target practice. It is believed that thousands of gay men were imprisoned in concentration camps, but no one knows exactly how many.

The horror stories characterized almost unthinkably cruel treatment in a developed country. Pierre Seel survived the ordeal to describe his treatment: “The Nazis stuck 25 centimeters of wood up my ass.”

We know that gay men were tortured, murdered, given more dangerous assignments, and “worked to death” in general. 

German society was known for its homophobia during the late 30s and early 40s. Even more horribly, some gay men who died in concentration camps were killed by other prisoners.

A study of those who died was conducted by Rudiger Lautmann, who discovered that more than half of gay men who were incarcerated in concentration camps died compared to 41 percent of political prisoners and 35 percent of Jehovah’s Witnesses. 

Nazi scientific experimentation was conducted on homosexual men disproportionately to other segments of the population. Nazi doctors tried to “cure” homosexuality without success (duh). These experiments included one in which a homosexual male subject had his groin incised open so that an artificial male sex gland could be implanted to release testosterone. It was a common belief during this time period that homosexuality was caused by a lack of testosterone. 

Two of the twelve men who participated in these experiments died from infection.

Gay women may have had it even harder, as the Third Reich routinely persuaded men to rape the women. Homosexual men were routinely ordered to perform sexual acts on lesbian women, which was considered by the Reich to be a sort of conversion therapy. Homosexual men were generally kept away from other prisoners because the Reich believed that the “illness” could easily spread.