One of the craziest memes to emerge on the loony right over the last few years is the one advocated by Scott Lively and Bryan Fischer, among others, that Adolf Hitler was carrying out some kind of pro-gay pogrom. Historian Jonathan Zimmerman debunks this ridiculous lie. Noting that several of the Republican candidates for president have deliberately associated themselves with Fischer as he’s told this lie repeatedly on his radio show, Zimmerman gives the real history of the Nazi regime:
But none of these GOP hopefuls have challenged Fischer, who insists that Adolf Hitler and many of his storm troopers were gay. “So it was homosexual thugs that helped Hitler to form the Nazi Party,” Fischer told a radio audience in June, adding that the party began “in a gay bar in Munich.”
The truth is precisely the opposite, as historians such as Geoffrey Giles and William Spurlin have shown. Rather than coddling or encouraging gays, the Nazis banned homosexual activity as early as 1935. The following year, they established a “Central Office for Combating Abortion and Homosexuality.”
Like the termination of pregnancies, the Nazis maintained, homosexuality would harm the health of the “Volk” — that is, of the German people. Gays “undermine the natural will to life by propagating an aversion to marriage and the family,” one Nazi author wrote in 1938.
Other Nazis worried that gays lacked the masculine virtues to defend the nation during wartime. “The new Germany has no use for criminals and weaklings, perverts and inverts, but requires instead straightforward and sincere manly souls,” one propagandist wrote, “and so we must combat homosexuality with the means available to us — education, observation, the law, the police, and the courts.”
And so they did. Between 1933 and 1945, the Nazis arrested roughly 100,000 men as homosexuals. Most convicted gays were sent to prison; between 5,000 and 15,000 were interned in concentration camps, where they wore pink triangles to signify their supposed crime.
It gets worse. To win their release from the camps, some gays were forced to undergo castration. Others were mutilated or murdered in so-called medical experiments by Nazi doctors, who insisted that homosexuality was a disease that could be “cured.”
Were some Nazis gay, as Bryan Fischer has asserted? Well, yes: Every big lie has a small grain of truth. Hitler and his advisers especially worried about homosexuals in his “SS” paramilitary force, who would supposedly put their own lusts ahead of protecting the Fatherland.
That’s why Hitler authorized an edict in 1941 prescribing the death penalty — yes, the death penalty — for SS and police members found guilty of gay activity.
“One should not tolerate homosexuality,” Hitler told his aide, Joseph Goebbels. “The National Socialist state must be a manly state.”
Before Hitler came to power, ironically, German socialists and communists tried to demean the Nazis by suggesting they were gay. The idea was picked up by the U.S. military during World War II, when American propaganda posters showed blond Nazi soldiers winking at each other.
And today, it’s mouthed by the likes of Bryan Fischer. Seventy years ago we used anti-gay prejudice to discredit Nazism. Now Fischer is trying to use our hatred of Nazism to discredit gays.
And yet, when asked, none of the candidates who have gone out of their way to court the AFA’s support by holding prayer events and going on Fischer’s radio show will say a word in opposition to this insane bit of bigotry and lunacy.