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During the Nazi reign of terror that ended only in Germany’s defeat by the American, English and French Allies in 1945, about 15,000 gay men were incarcerated in concentration camps from 1935 to 1944, where an estimated 60 percent of homosexual “schweinhund” were brutally worked to death.
Each wore a pink triangle ID armband: 50 years later this logo became the symbol for Detroit and Michigan’s Triangle Foundation. (Unfortunately, the triangle was dropped as such from Equality Michigan.)
An estimated 50 million persons (and 6 million Jews) worldwide died during WWII because of Adolph Hitler, the funny little man with the Charlie Chaplin mustache — whom no one took seriously at the time when he became sole dictator in 1933. (Blond hair bleach was not available at the time.)
Those very few pink-triangle gays who survived found liberation by British and American soldiers to be of short duration. As homosexual criminals under Germany’s Paragraph 175 penal code, they were sent back to prison. Most perished there.
Gerhard ‘Gad’ Beck, a gay Jew of mixed Jewish and gentile parentage, early on because of his classified status was fortunate to serve only one year of concentration camp incarceration.
In his autobiography “An Underground Life: Memoirs of A Gay Jew in Nazi Germany” he tells of an incident that occurred during up-at-dawn roll call.
An unfortunate gay prisoner, starved, freezing, did not call out his ID number loud enough. As a penalty for this, a milk bucket was placed over his head, his hands tied and prisoners standing next to him were forced to whack a wooden board over, and over, and over, and over against the bucket.
Beck, who died in 2012 at age 88, was what the 1935 Nazi-imposed Nuremberg Jewish Laws classified as a “mishling.” Half-Jew. Half gentile. His mixed “status” aided his survival.
Beck was also a courageous underground resistance fighter, at one point daring to rescue his Jewish gay lover from certain concentration camp death.
He actually stole a German Youth uniform, entered Auschwitz boldly and requested the release of his friend for a fake road building defense project. Beck’s pretense worked.
His friend was granted escorted leave; but then told lover Gad, with much sorrow, that he could not leave his parents behind. He and his family perished in the gas chambers.
Recently some members of biblical evangelical/fundamentalist mental low-wattage have stooped to a new egregious low by telling yet another Trump-like Big Lie — one might add, just like the Nazis propagandists once did — claiming that homosexuals in Nazi Germany were responsible for the Holocaust.
Evangelical/fundamentalists don’t seem to be aware that the New Testament Gospel of St. John is anti-Semitic, blaming Jews, not Romans, for Jesus’ death. Pontius Pilate washes his hands of the matter and turns Jesus over to the mob.
Nor do these Bible-belters know that Martin Luther, founder of Lutheranism, wrote an eight-item diatribe of how he felt Jews — killers of Christ — should be treated. It’s a shocking, chilling religious document.
Shamefully, and point by vicious point, Luther’s recommendations were implemented by the Nazis on Kristal Nacht,1938. Homes and businesses were destroyed. Jew murdered. The skies were filled with suffocating terror. Gas chambers and flaming ovens followed soon after.
Should today’s bigoted right-wing Christians be blamed for America’s recent bullying, abuse and murders of Jews? And what about North Carolina Pastor Charles L. Worley, of Providence Road Baptist Church, who recently suggested airlifting all the “queers and homosexuals” and dropping them off into electric fenced pens until they all die?
There’s a slogan making the rounds these days in many mainline churches: ”God is good all the time.” One can only wonder. Maybe good just some of the time. For some of the people. Jews and gays not included.
Unfortunately, it can happen again. Out of sight. In an isolated concentration camp in the Grand Canyon. While so-called Christians look the other way.
Especially if hate mongers Trump and Pence have anything to do about it, now that LGBTQs have been conveniently dropped from the U.S. Census. And Pat Robertson and Franklin Graham regularly give the mass extermination of gays, one way or another, mentally or physically, their blessings.
“Those who do not learn the lessons of the past are doomed to repeat them,” said the philosopher Jorge Santayana. Don’t say we haven’t been warned! Ask McConnell for confirmation, and act accordingly.