We found a very good article first alerted by Diana over at Diana’s Little Corner In The Nutmeg State that we want to share with our readers. Many of us have been for quite some time aware of ourstories from that dreadful period of history when Hitler ruled the German state. Trans activist Dallas Denny has written a great piece, The Rise and Fall of the Weimar Transvestites and the Threat to our own Trans Community over at her site Chrysalis.
Dallas has this to say in her article: “We will never know what might have become of Germany’s fledgling transvestite community because the rise of Nationalism Socialism resulted in immediate and violent suppression of Jews, racial minorities, atheists, socialists, communists, intellectuals, perceived political enemies, and, yes, GLBT peoples. Members of the community fled the country, assimilated into the greater community, hid their inclinations from others, or, if male, ended up wearing upside-down pink triangles in work and concentration camps. A vibrant and growing and diverse community of artists, intellectuals, liberals, and LGBT people was swiftly and forcefully eradicated. It would be decades before trans people in Germany again began to speak out and organize.”
1933 Election Campaign: Hitler’s Election Posters Cover the Front of “Eldorado,” a Berlin Transvestite Bar Closed by the Police (Early March 1933)
In the 1920s, Berlin had become famous for its liberal, bohemian atmosphere and its sexual permissiveness – just two of the many reasons why so many artists had been drawn to the city in those days. But “public morality” changed very quickly under Hitler. In March 1933, Berlin’s legendary transvestite bar “Eldorado” was closed by decree of the city’s chief of police. In the photograph below, the windows of the famous Kalckreuthstraße bar have been covered over by swastikas and NSDAP election posters: “Vote for Hitler – List 1.” Shortly thereafter, many other bars known as meeting places for gay men and lesbians were closed in response to “moral complaints.” In 1935, Article 175 of the Reich Criminal Code (which criminalized homosexuality) was tightened, and homosexual acts became subject to more severe forms of punishment. Many of the 50,000 homosexuals sentenced under Article 175 wound up in prison or concentration camps.” (1)
We know from our LGBT scholars that In late February 1933, the Nazi Party launched its purge of homosexual (gay, lesbian, and bisexual and Transvestites; then known as homophile clubs in Berlin, outlawed sex publications, and banned organized LGBT groups. As a consequence, many fled Germany. (always those who could get out but from the numbers of people killed many did not) We know that on May 10, 1933 the library of the Institute of Sex Research was burned in the street and the Institute’s extensive lists of names and addresses of Homosexuals were seized. Between 1933 and 1945 an estimated 100,000 men wee arrested as homosexuals and that the death rate in the concentrations was as high as 60%. We know that our people not only suffered persecution from the German soldiers but also from other prisoners and many were beaten to death. (form those unified fronts folks) Our people were used for target practice and given some of the most grueling and dangerous work assignments. This was the policy of extermination through work. (2)
The burning of the library of the Institute for Sexual Research, May 10th 1933.
“Where they burn books, they ultimately will burn people.” ..Hans M. Wuerth
(1) Image Building of the Nazi regime.
(2) One of the best accounts of this period comes to us from a gay scholar and survivor Richard Plant in his book, The Pink Triangle: The Nazi War Against Homosexuals published in 1986. If you haven’t read this work a preview of the book can be found HERE.
We know that many people are being targeted by the new regime that is to take center stage in Washington DC. We must as a people not make the same mistakes as in the past. We can not go this alone. We must remember the call out from back in the day, We are here there and everywhere and then remind ourselves that all issues are our issues. We can not afford to be a one issue people but must unite with others who are on the end of this new regime. I am now nearing 70 and will say to anyone that I have never seen it so bad. Not the days of Nixon, Reagan, Bush or any of those terrible enemies of our people. But one thing is certain we survived. We must as a people summon all of our queer creativity, we must bring to the table of resistance our gifts to share and we must fight back. One thing that Compton’s Cafeteria, Stonewall and other battles taught us is that when we are under attack we must fight back. Let us not be persuaded by the GAY INC but rise up as a people and accept nothing less than total liberation of all peoples.
Lately I have been quite upset when day after day appearing in my mail box have been appeals and writings about all of the groups who are under attack in amerikkka. Many of these writers are forgetting to include our communities the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer communities. We can not let them do this. We are in this struggle as much as anyone else, no one should be left behind omitted, denied or erased. Only by standing together and speaking out as one will we survive.