Monday, April 12, 2010

Yom Hashoah

Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day.  What with all the "he's the new Hitler, she's a Nazi, all of them are Fascists" talk in the media lately it is hard to imagine forgetting the holocaust, but it does seem a few salient points have slipped peoples' minds.  A lot of jews died: everyone seems to remember that. Even the holocaust deniers focus their attention on all the jews that they are quite certain did not die, more or less.  I don't mean to be disrespectful, but there it is.

I think this might be a good time to take a look at another statistic holocaustian:  an estimated 100,000 homosexuals were arrested by the Nazis.  & homosexuals sent to prison camps died at a roughly the same rate (60% is the standard estimate) as the other much larger, much better documented group.  Prior to the 1930s, homosexuals in general & gay men in particular enjoyed a fairly "out" lifestyle in urban Germany & an estimated 1.2 million men were documented, one way or another as homosexuals at one time.  When things changed, homosexuals were the first group specifically & openly targeted for persecution.  They were aggressively "re-educated" even before the prison camps were established & of course men who were not yet out never came out, what with not wanting to be re-educated.  This was considered to be a measure of the success of re-education.

I am going to stop here & tell you an old joke.  A group of scientists measure the length a frog can jump.  They put the frog on a table with increments marked out, make a loud sound behind the frog & it jumps five feet.  Then they cut off one leg, repeat loud sound & the frog jumps four feet.  Then they cut of a second leg & the frog jumps three feet.  Cut off a third & the frog jumps two feet.  Finally the last leg is cut off & no matter how much noise they make, the frog does not jump at all.  The conclusion:  a frog with no legs is deaf.

Back to the Nazis:  once homosexuals were identified as un-German & largely eradicated, they moved on to other un-German groups & most of us know more or less how that went.  Then when the war ended, while other prisoners were treated, released, repatriated, whatever,, homosexuals were often re-arrested for the crime of being homosexual.  Did I mention the Nazis believed homosexuality was contagious? 

Enough with the Nazis!  Tomorrow Gainesville, Florida concludes a mayoral run-off election between two very different candidates.  One of them has been involved in local politics for years, as a citizen activist, served on the town council up until this election & served as mayor pro-tempore at one point previously.  The other candidate has not served on any public boards or chairs that I could find, but has instead made the arrogance of city government a major talking point.  One candidate talks about protecting the communities diversity & financial stability while the other has platform of lowering taxes, lowering utility costs (Gainesville operates their own power plant) & increasing police presence.

I went to their websites to be sure I was pulling accurate information (to the degree I was not attributing the either of them any ideas they would not have attributed to themselves).  Now let me give you my two cents: the second candidate uses a sizable amount of web space, front & center complaining about how the other side is persecuting him, criticizing him for using graffiti in a public space to promote his campaign, later having same public space painted over his name in a less-then-flattering manner, names his rival as a promoter of dirty tricks, etc.  & therefore fair game for any mud he wants to sling back.  & the first guy is gay.  This is not on his website, of course, because the only people who care about that are voting for the other guy.


  1. thank you for always having something thought-provoking to say!

  2. What a great post! Living in Germany, I'm amazed how often the homosexuals, roma and shinti, communist etc groups that also were victim to the holocaust are not given much attention or even forgotten.