One of the most vile and surreptitious tactics being used by certain organizations and individuals on the far right of late has been to vilify the LGBTQ community by marrying the duel evils of Holocaust denial and blatant falsehoods. Conservative evangelical preacher Scott Lively, a pseudo-historian, and the notorious hate group the American Family Association have been at the forefront of such efforts. They have been advancing the lie that the Nazis and SS were in fact homosexuals bent on the destruction of civilization.
One must be in awe of such a feat of monumental duplicity especially when one considers that these same people profess an unshakeable belief in the literal interpretation of the Bible. But deceit is not too high a price to pay when you are advancing an agenda of hatred, demonization and cruelty.
No one knows the exact number of gay men who were interred in concentration camps, but it is estimated at being between 10 and 15’000. The death rate was among the highest of any other group after Jews. By many accounts, gays suffered more abuse than any other victims in the camps at the hands of the SS guards, and often by other concentration camp prisoners. They were beaten, forced to work to death in a program called “Extermination through Work”, and suffered through cruel scientific experiments that often resulted in their deaths. Following the liberation of the camps many of these men suffered the further indignity in being imprisoned by the Allied governments that prevailed in the war. And it took decades before there was any official recognition of gay Holocaust victims and survivors.
All of this is historical fact, so it is a curious thing to see a group that identifies itself as morally righteous spread vicious lies about a marginalized and oppressed group of people. But facts are of no use to those with an agenda of repression. Facts are dangerous and ultimately fatal to the ideology of bigotry. So people of conscience must make every effort to expose the lies when they surface, lest they be allowed to fester. Today, these same individuals and groups are spreading their cancerous deception to places like Russia, Uganda and Nigeria, and it is having a disastrous effect.
This is why facts matter. They matter because justice and humanity matter.
Kenn Orphan 2014
(photo is of a group of gay prisoners at Buchenwald and is courtesy of the Jewish Virtual Library)