Monday, October 17, 2011

Irmgard Hunt on Nazi Treatment of Homosexuals: Counter to Religious-Right Lies

One of the ugliest, most hate-filled anti-gay lies that religious right leaders including Bryan Fischer have tried to foist on the American public is the claim that the Nazi movement in Germany was a gay movement.  Fischer keeps repeating this lie despite the fact that the Nazi government sent gay men to concentration camps, and anywhere from 5,000 to 15,000 gay men are thought to have been murdered in these camps under the Nazi regime.

Given this history (and Fischer's toxic lies about this history) I'm fascinated to read in Irmgard A. Hunt's book On Hitler's Mountain: Overcoming the Legacy of a Nazi Childhood (NY: William Morrow, 2005) the following:

Soon after my birth, the Führer ordered the massacre of a large number of his old fighting comrades, including the former leader of the S.A., his friend, Ernst Röhm, and other foes.  They were accused of conspiracy, and of being vile, incorrigible homosexuals who did not deserve to be treated as human beings.  I heard no tales of the Kristallnacht that so infamously and unashamedly revealed the intent to dehumanize Jews.  These ominous portents on the seemingly bright horizon were seemingly smoothed over by the Nazi leaderships, frenzied moral outrage, and denunciation of whole segments of the population (34-35).

If we needed any more corroboration of the easily documented fact that the Nazis targeted gays, sent them to concentration camps, and murdered them, Hunt's testimony is valuable.  She grew up in Berchtesgaden, one of Hitler's favorite Bavarian retreats.  She actually met Hitler and was dandled in his arms as a tiny girl.  Her parents were supporters of and contributors to the Nazi party.

And now she has told the world in a powerful book what it meant to grow up in a world in which the assumptions and behavior of savage men like Hitler were normalized by the silent (and sometimes active) complicity of a majority of the people among whom she grew up.  And I can't avoid thinking, as I read her description of the behavior and tactics of the Nazi party as it targeted Jews and gays (and Gypsies, Slavs, the mentally and physically challenged, and other "inferior" human beings), that what she's describing sounds far more like what Fischer and his cronies stand for than the gays they falsely accuse of having dominated the Nazi party.

"Did not deserve to be treated as human beings" pretty much sums up how I feel Fischer and the religious right regard me and my kind.

The graphic is the infamous pink triangle that the Nazis forced gays to wear.

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