From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-Stories from the Holocaust are universally heartbreaking and horrifying, and this one is no different. The pink triangle was used by the Nazis to identify homosexual prisoners in the concentration camps, and here Setterington shows how it has been adopted by the gay movement as a symbol of strength and pride. He describes how German society's relatively tolerant attitudes of the 1920s grew less so as Hitler and the Nazis came into power and began a quest to purify the "Aryan race." By weaving the individual experiences into a broader account of the treatment and persecution of homosexuals by the Nazi regime, the author provides a compelling and evocative narrative. Culling first-person accounts from concentration camp survivors, he is able to paint a picture of the fear and harassment (and for some, ultimately death) that these individuals and their families endured. The writing is succinct but detailed enough to satisfy researchers. Period photographs, a lengthy time line, and an extensive bibliography round out the strengths of this thoughtful, informative work.-Jody Kopple, Shady Hill School, Cambridge, MAα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Though homosexuality had been illegal in Germany since 1871, Berlin was widely regarded as the gay capital of Europe in the early twentieth century, when attitudes toward homosexuals were generally relaxed. All that changed with the rise of Nazism in the 1930s. Persecution of gays became the order of the day, and, with the creation of concentration camps, many were remanded to this living death, forced to wear pink triangles on their clothing to identify them as being homosexual. No one knows how many gays died in the camps, but the mortality rate is estimated to have been as high as 60 percent. Setterington, a librarian, has written an informative, well-researched, and well-documented history of the brutal treatment of homosexuals at the hands of the Nazis, humanizing his account with stories of survivors who have written about their experiences. He also includes an overview of the distressing condition of being gay in postwar Germany and, finally, brings the story up to date with a hopeful chapter titled, “It Gets Better.” Setterington’s is a significant contribution to LGBT history and one that deserves a wide readership. Grades 7-12. --Michael Cart