Mar 17, 2008
Quickie Link: Nazi Persecution of Gays is Explored in Exhibit
(USA) - A traveling exhibit from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum uses photographs, documents, and artwork to chronicle the Nazis' arrests and persecution of tens of thousands of Gay men from 1933 to 1945. The exhibit, on display through the end of the month at the University of Rhode Island, gives voice to what its curator describes as "one of the lesser-known stories of the Nazi era." The exhibit begins just before the Nazis rose to power, when an estimated 1.2 million Gay men lived in Germany and a Gay culture flourished in nightclubs and cafes. But after Adolf Hitler took power, the Nazis began closing Gay clubs, and in 1934 the Gestapo asked local police departments to compile lists of men believed to be Gay. A law known as Paragraph 175 that had previously prohibited "unnatural indecency" between men was reworked to dramatically expand the range of illegal behaviors. By 1938, even a perceived wayward glance or touch could be interpreted as criminal by the courts.