Reprinted from the Advocate – BY ADMIN DECEMBER 23 2008 1:00 AM ET
Rudolf Brazda, a 95-year-old German citizen and the last known gay survivor of the Holocaust, has definitively broken his silence on his experience at the Buchenwald camp.
Rudolf Brazda, a 95-year-old German citizen and the last known gay survivor of the Holocaust, has definitively broken his silence on his experience at the Buchenwald camp. In a new interview in the French gay magazine Têtu, Brazda speaks in detail for the first time since he made provisional remarks at the June inauguration of a Berlin memorial to gay victims of the Nazis. The way
Nazis treated the ‘pink triangles’ is unspeakable,” Brazda told Têtu, referring to the emblem gays were forced to wear to signify their homosexuality. “They had absolutely no mercy.”
The “pink triangles” not only had to suffer the ill treatment of the Nazis but also had to endure the homophobia of
other prisoners. In the documentary Paragraph 175, which takes its name from the German criminal
code provision regarding homosexuality, Pierre Seel, the only Frenchman to have publicly testified about his imprisonment for being gay, explains that “the weakest people in the camps were the homosexuals; they were at the very bottom.” Seel died in 2005.
Before Brazda first spoke in June, the Lesbian and Gay Federation in Germany (LSVD) did extensive research to authenticate and certify his testimony. He may not be the only survivor still alive, though, according to LVSD spokesman, Alexander Zinn. “No one ever invested the time and the money to try and find all those who survived,” Zinn told Têtu. It’s estimated that 75,000 gays were deported by the Nazis.
While other survivors of the camps were celebrated at the end of the war, gay survivors usually had to remain silent about their experiences because homosexuality was still illegal in many European countries (such as France,
where it was not decriminalized until 1982). “Before, no one cared about this tragedy,” Brazda told Têtu when asked why he didn’t speak out earlier.
After he was freed from Buchenwald, Brazda moved to France and built a house, where he lived for 35 years with his partner, who died in 2002. (Thibault Chareton, Advocate.com)