Personal Accounts

Read this personal account of what it was like to be a homosexual in Nazi Germany, then answer the questions:

“Then came the thunderbolt of the 30 January 1933, and we knew that a change of political climate had taken place. What we had tried to prevent, had taken place.

Over the years, more and more of my political friends disappeared, of my Jewish and of my homosexual friends. Fear came over us with the increasingly coordinated pressure of the Nazis. For heaven’s sake not to attract attention, to exercise restraint. 1933 was the starting-point for the persecution of homosexuals. Already in this year we heard of raids on homosexual pubs and meeting places. Maybe individual, politically uneducated homosexuals who were only interested in immediate gratification did not recognize the significance of the year 1933, but for us homosexuals who were also politically active, who had defended the Weimar Republic, and who had tried to forestall the Nazi threat, 1933 initially signified a reinforcing of our resistance.

In order not to mutually incriminate ourselves, we decided to no longer recognize each other. When we came across each other in the street, we passed by, without looking at one another. There were certain possibilities for us to meet, but that never happened in public.”

1. What German political climate change that took place in 1933 is the writer of this account referring to?

2. Describe the various actions that Nazi Germany took to try and discourage homosexuality within their state?

3. How would you feel if in the best interest of personal safety from political persecution you had to meet your friends and even significant others in secret?


Hans-Georg Stumke and Rudi Finkler, Rosa Winkel, Rosa Listen, Homosexuelle und ‘Gesunded Volksempfinden’ von Auschwitz bis heute (Hamburg, 1981), trans. in Michael Burleigh and Wolfgang Wipperman, The Racial State: Germany 1933-1945 (New York, 1991), pp. 182-83.

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