- Paperback: 120 pages
- Publisher: Alyson Books; Revised edition (October 1, 1994)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1555830064
- ISBN-13: 978-1555830069
- Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.3 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 6.1 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 39 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #274,355 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Men with the Pink Triangle: The True Life-and-Death Story of Homosexuals in the Nazi Death Camps Paperback – October 1, 1994
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It has only been since the mid-1970s that any attention has been paid to the persecution and interment of gay men by the Nazis during the Third Reich. Since that time, books such as Richard Plant's The Pink Triangle (and Martin Sherman's play Bent) have illuminated this nearly lost history. Heinz Heger's first-person account, The Men with the Pink Triangle, was one of the first books on the topic and remains one of the most important.
In 1939, Heger, a Viennese university student, was arrested and sentenced to prison for being a "degenerate." Within weeks he was transported to Sachsenhausen, a concentration camp in East Germany, and forced to wear a pink triangle to show that his crime was homosexuality. He remained there, under horrific conditions, until the end of the war in 1945. The power of The Men with the Pink Triangle comes from Heger's sparse prose and his ability to recall--and communicate--the smallest resonant details. The pain and squalor of everyday camp life--the constant filth, the continuous presence of death, and the unimaginable cruelty of those in command--are all here. But Heger's story would be unbearable were it not for the simple courage he and others used to survive and, having survived, that he bore witness. This book is harrowing but necessary reading for everyone concerned about gay history, human rights, or social justice. --Michael Bronski
From Publishers Weekly
Gay survivors of Nazi concentration camps recount their experiences.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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I was born in the mid-seventies and I have never faced any serious adversity due to my sexuality. I even came on the tail end of the worst of the AIDS crisis. I only know about the struggles faced by gays and lesbians in the past because I read about them. I am afraid there will come a time when people will equate the historic struggles of gays with marriage equality and national hate crime legislation and no one will even think back to the time when just being suspected of being a sexual deviant could get you put in torture camps or killed in gas chambers.
But by far, the descriptions of the brutality of the SS troops in the camps is the most rivitting. The terse language of the narrative increases the decriptions' impact. There's no intellectualizing this abuse in this tome. Unfortunately, we need more books like this one. But I'm afraid many of those gays who survived the camps are still unwilling to speak, and that is largely because of how they were treated after the camps were "liberated." The Nazis were brutal in their treatment, but you knew where they stood because the Nazis didn't hide their contempt. Bureaucrats today, however, are much more sinister.
The heart-wrenching portion of this unnamed survivor's life was his continued oppression after the concentration camp because of paragraph 175 (instituted before the Nazi regime). He and other pink triangle prisoners were not considered victims because unlike a Jewish heritage, homosexual persons were "legal" prisoners of concentration camps.
Take care when reading this deceptively short and powerful narrative.