2/4/10

Paragraph 175





As many of you may know, the pink triangle is a symbol that the LGBT community utilizes frequently. The history of it is directly from Nazi Germany, and the symbol that was worn by those that were labelled as homosexual in concentration camps. But, that is not the end of the story..........

Paragraph 175, a clause that existed in German law at the time, prohibited homosexual relations. During Hitler's rule, he extended this law to include homosexual kissing, embracing, even homosexual fantasies. Between 1937 and 1939, some 25,000 persons were convicted under this law. There were initially imprisoned, and then later on sent to concentration camps. Castration was a common punishment for being charged with these crimes under Paragraph 175. In 1942, Hitler declared that homosexuality was punishable by death.

The use of the pink triangle in concentration camps was part of how prisoners there were categorized, each "grouping" was labelled with an alternate color of triangle. Gay Jews were considered to be the lowest of prisoners, and they were labelled with the overlapping of a pink and yellow triangle. Pink triangle prisoners were reported to receive the hardest workloads in the concentration camps, and were most often harassed and beaten by guards and other prisoners.

Later on, when the Allies defeated the Nazi regime, and so many other prisoners in the concentration camps were released, those prisoners that were defined under Paragraph 175- either labelled as or were homosexual- were kept imprisoned while they watched many of their fellow prisoners set free. They remained prisoners for an additional 24 YEARS..........

This symbol of hate has now been embraced as a symbol for the LGBT community, to emphasize strength in numbers and never allowing oppression to cost us our very souls again. Although Nazi Germany seems like a lifetime ago, and there are even those that deny that it happened, similar laws and hateful attitudes are now being seen in the world, most recently in Uganda, where it is legal to put homosexuals to death. Frightening thought about this world in 2010.

This is why the Upper Delaware GLBT Center is so necessary. To create a sense of equality and justice for all.