The Pink Swastika and the Hidden Holocaust?

One purpose of The Pink Swastika is to minimize the suffering and persecution of homosexuals during the tenure of the Third Reich. In reaction to gay holocaust theories employed by some gay advocates, Lively and Abrams advance a theory about why some homosexuals were persecuted while others were Nazi promoters. Lively and Abrams suggest that masculine oriented, “Butch” homosexuals were favored by the Nazis. These “Butch” gays hated and persecuted effeminate, “Fem” homosexuals when the Nazis came to power. Thus, by their theory, some gays were hurt but more often it was the gays who did the hurting. While there are real problems conceptually and historically with this simplistic notion, I will address those issues in a future post.

In order to discount the persecution of gays, a resource quoted favorably by Lively and Abrams is Hidden Holocaust? Edited by Gunter Grau with a contribution from Claudia Shoppmann. Grau’s book is a compendium of documents from the Nazi era, many from East German archives which had not been released prior to this book.

By my count, The Pink Swastika references Grau six times. To find segments which fit their “homofascism” theory, the authors had to ignore quite a few documents which, if considered, would balance the picture and offset their thesis. Here are some illustrations of their selective references.

On page 180, Lively and Abrams quote a review of the Hidden Holocaust? which seems to suggest that Grau discounts the suffering of male homosexuals.

The Harvard Gay and Lesbian Review (Summer 1995)contains an admirably candid review of the book Hidden Holocaust? by Gunter Grau (in which Schoppmann was a minor contributor):

Grau and Schoppman [sic] conclude that there was no “holocaust” of gays — hence the question mark in the book’s title. This assessment is based on the wide range of contemporary documents…Grau discounts the current wild estimates of the number of gays killed by the Nazis, suggesting a figure closer to 5,000…How, then are we to read the widely quoted incendiary statements by Nazis like SS leader Himmler, who consistently called for the ‘eradication’ of homosexuals?…Much of this rhetoric, Grau says, was propaganda meant for public consumption…Gays were never the subject of pogroms, and never faced the danger that the Jews did in Germany and occupied Europe.

Lively and Abrams then quote a paper by Judith Reisman which further questions the degree of persecution experienced by homosexuals and concludes with a sinister accusation.

Dr. Judith Reisman, in “The Pink Swastika and Holocaust Revisionist History,” wrote this comparison of the fate of the two groups [Jews and homosexuals] under the Nazis:

Were homosexuals treated like Jews, 2-3 million out of 2-3 million German homosexuals should have lost their businesses, their jobs, their property, their possessions and most would have lost their lives. Homosexuals would have been forced to wear pink triangles on their clothing in the streets, they would have had their passports stamped with an “H,” been barred from travel, work, shopping, public appearances with out their armbands, and we would have thousands of pictures of pink triangle graffiti saying “kill the faggots,” and the like. If German homosexuals were not Nazis, these 2-3 million men would have been homeless, walled in ghettos, worked as a mass labor pool, then gassed and their abuse recorded in graphic detail, as were the millions of Jews. And, if Germany’s several million “gays” were not Nazi victims, they were Nazi soldiers, collaborators or murderers (Reisman: Culture Wars , April 1996).

As we shall see, Grau points out that homosexuals did experience at least some of what Reisman says they avoided.

On page 179 of The Pink Swastika, Lively and Abrams also reference Grau’s identification of Massimo Consoli as the proponent of the theory that gays were victims of holocaust on the same order as the Jews.

(Consoli is, however, a leading proponent of the “Gay Holocaust” public relations ploy — Grau:5).

However, surrounding one of the pages (5) in Grau’s book cited by Lively and Abrams is Grau’s assessment of the treatment received by homosexuals by the Nazis. Grau writes

A major role was played by various eugenic concepts. Seeing male homosexuals as an immediate threat to the growth of the nation, National Socialist ideologues partly blamed them for the lower birth-rates and preached the need to make optimum use of the ‘generative power’ of the male population. In this way, they supplied ideological justification for all the intended, and eventually implemented, forms of persecution. The ‘eugenic aim’ of putting the ‘hereditary flow’ in order, by eliminating that which is ‘unhealthy’ and undesirable and blocking the reproduction of inferior blood, was the basic drift of measures that were designed and eventually put into operation against homosexuals as well as other groups…

The declared aim of the Nazi regime was to eradicate homosexuality. To this end, homosexuals were watched, arrested, registered, and — if this was unsuccessful — exterminated. In the twelve years of the National Socialist dictatorship, the arsenal of repressive measures devised in support of its population policy became ever more extensive. They included:

-the ordering and carrying out of police activities and of measures designed to instil terror;

-the sharpening of penal sanctions;

-the creation of special administrative bodies to carry out prosecutions;

-deportation and isolation in concentration camps;

-extension of the grounds for compulsory castration, and

-the organization of para-medical experiments, up to and including ‘reversal of hormonal polarity’. (p. 4).

Grau notes that the Nazi measures became more severe and repressive as their power increased.

Prosecutions and other repressive measures began just a few weeks after the Nazi seizure of power. In the following years the pressure on those concerned became more intense and severe, and the various measures used against them escalated with the help of state violence and in the framework of a comprehensive system of manipulation. (Grau, 4-5)

Grau then describes three periods of Nazi oppression of gays beginning with the closing of homosexual meeting places and concluding with drastic measures such as internment in concentration camps, medical experiments, pressure to be castrated, and for some the death penalty. Although Grau does not believe gays were singled out in the same manner as were the Jews, he characterizes the Nazi response as

…a rather differentiated series of punishments and deterrents, whose purpose was to dissuade the ‘homosexual minority’ from their sexual practice: that is, either to integrate them as ‘proper’ (heterosexual) men into the ‘national community’, or to make them abstain from sex in general. The key concern was ‘re-education’. That was the spirit in which the criminal law was tightened up: re-education through deterrence. And anyone who could not be deterred was sent to a concentration camp: re-education through labour. Psychology was also brought into service: re-education through psychotherapy. And even ‘predisposed’ homosexuals, for whom the Nazis held out no hope of improvement, could still be exploited as manpower for the ‘national community’ – provided that they were first castrasted.

Lively and Abrams apparently like and cite the section in Grau which offers evidence against a ‘gay holocaust’ on par with the atrocities against the Jews. However, they fail to take into account the actual level of suffering, persecution and oppression experienced by homosexuals. Grau details these measures throughout this section of his book. I presume, if Lively and Abrams recognized the terror experienced by homosexuals during the Nazi regime, they would have to modify their view of a homosexual conspiracy that continues today.

Another dramatic example of selective citation comes from a document from the Buchenwald archives (titled “The situation of homosexuals in Buchenwald concentration camp – report from Spring 1945″) and included in Grau from pages 266-270. Here is what Lively and Abrams took from the document.

An unknown percentage of homosexual prisoners were arrested not for sex offenses at all, but for political reasons. A document from the Buchenwald archive states,

In the spring of 1942 a Berlin writer called Dahnke was sent to the camp as a homosexual. The main reason for his internment, however, was political statements which had brought him to the attention of the Gestapo. (Grau:267)

Lively and Abrams want the reader to believe that gays were not singled out due to their homosexuality but for other reasons — in this case for some political opposition. Indeed, this no doubt happened. In this case, it is possible that the man was homosexual and a political opponent. In any case, Lively and Abrams fail to tell the rest of the story about unfortunate Mr. Dahnke. The reason for his internment may relate to politics but his demise was due to perception of homosexuality. I pick up the story on page 267 exactly where Lively and Abrams end.

One morning, after he [Dahnke] had been working for several months in the quarry, he was taken by someone on fatigue duty to the sick bay and presented to the camp doctor as suffering from TB. As a matter of fact, he was having chest trouble. The camp doctor at first wanted to put him in the TB unit for treatment, but when D. [Dahnke], not knowing how things stood, mentioned that he was really there for political reasons, the doctor sat up and took notice, realized that he was dealing with a homosexual, and had him taken into the room reserved for the death list. Two days later he was given the lethal injection.

Lively and Abrams selectively include the part of the story which, out of context, support their point. However, the real story here is about a man who was killed because he was thought to be a homosexual. Including the entire paragraph provides the real message from the Buchenwald archives and directly contradicts the premise promoted in The Pink Swastika.

Death Camps?

Scott Lively said in a speech (at about 8:20) to the Temecula county GOP that gays were not sent to death camps, but rather work camps (cf. 2:02). For sure, gays were sent to work camps as noted by Grau. However, in this same Buchenwald document, the archives make clear that gays were sent to death camps as well. On page 266, the Buchenwald document discloses:

Until autumn 1938 homosexuals were divided among the political blocks, where they went relatively unnoticed. In October 1938, they were sent enmasse to the punishment battalion and had to work in the quarry, whereas previously all other units had been open to them. Apart from a few recorded cases, every member of the punishment battalion had the prospect of being transferred after a certain time to a normal block where living and working conditions were significantly better, but this possibility did not exist for homosexuals. Precisely during the hardest years they were the lowest caste in the camp. In proportion to their number they made up the highest percentage of transports to special extermination camps such as Mauthausen, Natzweiler, and Gross Rosen, because the camp always had the understandable tendency to ship off less important and valuable members, or those regarded as less valuable. In fact, the wider deployment of labour in the war industry brought some relief to this type of prisoner too — for the labour shortage made it necessary to draw skills from the ranks of such people, although in January, 1944 the homosexuals, with very few exceptions, were still going to the ‘Dora’ murder camp, where many of them met their death. (Grau, 266).

This is the opening paragraph in the same Buchenwald archive document which Lively and Abrams quote approvingly. This kind of selective citation compromises any accurate presentations of the historical record in The Pink Swastika. As we have demonstrated throughout this series, readers should carefully check all claims and alleged facts.

Prior posts in this series:

May 28 – Scott Lively wants off SPLC hate group list

May 31 – Eliminating homosexuality: Modern Uganda and Nazi Germany

June 3 – Before The Pink Swastika

June 4 – Kevin Abrams: The side of The Pink Swastika

June 8 – A historian’s analysis of The Pink Swastika, part 1

June 9 – A historian’s analysis of The Pink Swastika, part 2

June 11 – American Nazi movement and homosexuality: How pink is their swastika?

June 15 – Nazi movement rallies against gays in Springfield, MO

June 17 – Does homosexuality lead to fascism?

June 23 – The Pink Swastika and Friedrich Nietzsche

List of posts on Uganda and The Pink Swastika

  • Lynn David

    So how gullible does that make the Temicula County Republicans? How many of their ilk would willingly welcome Lively and his message? And what would be behind such acceptance?

  • http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com Jim Burroway

    I hadn’t looked at Grau’s book. I wish I had. What Lively has done is breathtaking. This, I think, is probably the most important post in the series so far, as it gets right to the heart of Lively’s credibility.

  • B.T.Carolus

    Warren,

    As a history student, I have one question about your quotes from Grau which is, doe he give the author of the documents you’re quoting from? Or at least speculate on who the author was? It would be very helpful in understanding where this source is coming from.

    Lynn David,

    Actually, it doesn’t surprise me at all that people are convinced by Lively’s arguments. The argument that he constructs, albeit based on smoke and mirrors, looks very well cited and supported by lots of contemporary evidence at first glance. People who are not used to looking at real historical research probably wouldn’t suspect anything (he doesn’t actually use citations in the Pink Swastika, but most popular histories don’t, and he actually quotes from many more primary sources than many of those histories do). And it also takes actually going back to the documents themselves and reading the full context of the quotations that he is relying on in order to understand the depths of his deception. This is really a first class historical con.

    You also have to figure in a bit of confirmation bias in his audiences (which you would be prey to should there be a similar book that slanted towards your viewpoints on some issue). Lively talks a good game, he has based his myths (like all good ones) on a few kernels of truth, and many people are a bit suspicious of the claim that homosexuals were victims of the holocaust (at least on the scale that it sometimes seems like is being claimed). These combine to make a very compelling argument, even if it is patently false.

    The issue is that once his lies are revealed people stop considering him a valid source. Anybody care to edit the wikipedia articles? ;-)

  • Lynn David

    Well, speaking about con-jobs, lies, etc…. I wonder what that bastien of the reality-denying-right the conservapedia has to say about Lively. Probably fawns all over him. Well, not really fawning. But it does link to the LeaderU article which was recently taken down.

  • David Blakeslee

    “Work Shall Set You Free.” Nazis

    “Truth Shall Set You Free.” John 8:32

    It is very important to focus on the essence of the flaw: A bright man, operating out of his field of expertise, selectively quoting historical documents, seen as an “expert”…when he is just an opinion…fueled by a bias.

    To repeat: This is an affront to his Christian faith and supports the SPLC censure.

  • David Blakeslee

    People working outside their area of expertise who are bright and selectively quote are harming this political discussion…

  • David Blakeslee

    They deserve to be exposed…especially by Christians with the resources to do so (since they operate with a higher responsibility….”I would not suffer many to teach for they incur a harsher judgment.”

  • http://www.wthrockmorton.com Warren

    BT — Here is what is listed in the description of the document:

    “Stefan Heymann materials, Archiv Buchenwald 53, 1-7.” (Grau, 297).

    Hope that is helpful.

  • David Blakeslee
  • Michael Bussee

    Warren and David: Would you please forward this to David Pruden of NARTH — with the suggestion that they should include Lively and Cameron?

    They deserve to be exposed…especially by Christians with the resources to do so (since they operate with a higher responsibility….”I would not suffer many to teach for they incur a harsher judgment.”

    I didn’t make any headway with Mr. Pruden. He became quite defensive and claimed no knowledge of Cameron. He seemed to resent that gay Christians would have the nerve to call NARTH to a “higher responsibility”…

    I would be a simple thing for NARTH to delete references to Cameron as they seem to have done with Lively. Maybe you guys would have better luck.

  • Michael Bussee

    It is simply not enough for groups like EXODUS and NARTH (who claim to love gay people and want to help them) to quietly remove embarassing references they have previously posted to obvious wackos and hatemongers. Not enough.

    They need to clearly say why — and apologize for their carelessness. NARTH is not willing to do either in the case of Cameron.

    And did they explain why they removed references to Lively? NOPE. And yet NARTH continues to whine that they can’t get the respect of the professional community. Disgusting.

  • Lynn David

    Yeah, David, I found that and others last night. A more pertinent article might be:

    .

    http://www.conservapedia.com/Homosexuals_and_the_Holocaust

    .

    Although what is said there is not included in (nor even linked to) an article in conservapedia on the history of homosexuality. But in the above article it does link a 2008 article which freely quotes from The Pink Swastika on RenewAmerica called: The truth about homosexuality and the Nazi Party by Bryan Fischer the soon to be ex-Executive Director of the supposed Idaho Values Alliance. Fischer got snatched up by Wildmon’s AFA to do a two-hour radio program in Mississippi. Supposedly the Idaho organization is thus going “into whisper-mode” as he was their only employee.

    .

  • David Blakeslee

    @ Lynn David:

    I found this link there: http://www.holocaust-trc.org/homosx.htm

    Looks good…do you see a problem with this reference?

  • David Blakeslee

    @ Lynn David and Warren,

    the conservapedia article references Lively only once…at the end…am I right?

    Are the numbers (about 1 million) of gays in Germany in 1933 accurate?

    From the previous link:

    “An estimated 1.2 million men were homosexuals in Germany in 1928. Between 1933-45, an estimated 100,000 men were arrested as homosexuals, and of these, some 50,000 officially defined homosexuals were sentenced. Most of these men spent time in regular prisons, and an estimated 5,000 to 15,000 of the total sentenced were incarcerated in concentration camps.

    How many of these 5,000 to 15,000 “l7Sers” perished in the concentration camps will probahlii never be known. Historical research to date has been very limited. One leading schblar, Ruediger Lautmann, believes that the death rate for “l7Sers” in the camps may have been as high as sixty percent. “

  • Lynn David

    You’re being vague, David, what’s the problem?

    I wasn’t in Germany in the 30s so I don’t know how many gay men were there. Even if I had been I don’t know if I could have gotten around to all of them.

  • David Blakeslee

    Just asking questions…

  • David Blakeslee

    The initial citing on conservapedia, on which most of their article rests, seems to be accurate…I am just asking if others reading it come to the same conclusion.

    The reference to Lively and others is at the very end of a short article.

    One of the things I am trying to do in this process of interacting is share my perceptions and see if there are similarities in others….

    So when I read an article and someone who comes from a different perspective reads that same article I like to check to see how common our perceptions of that article are…

    It is like perception checking?

    Does that help? (Michael sees me as vague sometimes too, so your perception of that apparently is experienced by others!).

  • David Blakeslee

    @Lynn David,

    “I wasn’t in Germany in the 30s so I don’t know how many gay men were there. Even if I had been I don’t know if I could have gotten around to all of them.”

    Hmmm, something glib or funny to say in reply….hmmmm.

    Oh, I got it!

    “I think you could have done it!”

  • http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com Timothy Kincaid

    It is very important to focus on the essence of the flaw: A bright man, operating out of his field of expertise, selectively quoting historical documents, seen as an “expert”…when he is just an opinion…fueled by a bias.

    David,

    I’m troubled by what seems to be a desire to diminish Lively’s intent and actions. This is not a matter of being outside his field and erroneously selecting quotations.

    There is no “ooops” here. This cannot be faulted to a lack of familiarity.

    This is a case of a person deliberately distorting the picture so as to present an image that is the direct opposite of what is really there. This is deception, deceipt, lying. It’s not accidental and it’s not unintentional.

    Lively is fraudulent and it is not an appropriate response to give him cover. And to the extent that you seek to dismiss this as a bright man working outside his field of expertise (a position you have stated several times), you are providing cover.

    At some point, the cover can become as heinous as Lively’s lies themselves. Don’t you think?

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    At some point, the cover can become as heinous as Lively’s lies themselves. Don’t you think?

    Or it could be just an honest opinion, right or wrong. I don’t know Lively and I can’t say I’m highly motivated to know him or follow his work at this point. So I am refraining from commenting on him “outside my field of expertise.”

  • http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com Timothy Kincaid

    Debbie,

    Dr. Throckmorton is reporting his analysis of Lively’s writings. He’s not being vague or eliminating specifics.

    Either Dr. Throckmorton is a liar or Lively is.

    I’m willing to step “outside my field of expertise” and state in no uncertain terms which one of these two men is not telling the truth.

  • Brian

    Even assuming for the sake of argument that Lively’s position is accurate, I really have to marvel at how followers of Jesus Christ are now comfortable arguing that the mass murder of 5,000 people wasn’t that bad. After all, it wasn’t millions, and they never had their passports stamped with an “H”. So it’s a wash.

    I wonder if this is a modern evolution of Christianity into an apologia for barbarism, or whether it is simply a return to the Old Testament’s approval of mass killing.

    BTW, I agree with Timothy that there is definitely a form of covering going on among some of the commenters here. Lively has churned out hundreds of pages on this topic. He has pursued this obsessively since the early 1990s. It is not simply a matter of a bright man wandering outside of his area of expertise. It is a conscious, decades-long effort in Holocaust revisionism for the purpose of promoting the non sequitur that alleged gay political affiliations in 1930s Germany indict gay Americans in 2009 as Nazis.

    But what’s good for the goose is good for that gander. If Ernst Roehm’s homosexuality means that I am a Nazi, then Adolf’s Eichmann’s heterosexuality means that Debbie Thurman is a Nazi. Debbie, why do you want to conquer Poland and firebomb London?

  • Michael Bussee

    NARTH tolerates it. They won’t speak out against Cameron. They quietly remove references to Lively — without explanation or rebuke.

    Why do EXODUS and NARTH cite these folks in the first place — and then sneaklily expunge them, without strong condemnation of what they stand for, when the heat is on?

    Why does the stink of holocaust revisionism hover so closely to these organizations? Why won’t they speak out with a loud, clear and unified voice against this evi? And how can they ever hope to win the trust of the gay community or the respect of the professional community?

  • David Blakeslee

    @ Timothy,

    I think you make a valid point…I am trying to shape an idea and present it in multiple formats…about how information, bad information get’s out there.

    In an effort to make it more generalizable and not look into the motives of others…I miss the obvious, relentless pressure exhibited by Lively to avoid, distort and obscure. Bad stuff…agreed.

  • David Blakeslee

    @ Timothy,

    so…do you get my point, after my correction?

  • David Blakeslee

    I am trying to create a template, to be used by all sides in this debate, to dismantle so called authorities (speaking outside their area of expertise) so that a reasoned and thoughtful discussion is had by well informed professionals.

  • David Blakeslee

    …and by those highly personally involved.

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  • RickW

    I went to this page after reading Stein’s comments on “The Pink Triangle.” This, Warren, is exactly what I was looking for. You showed that the authors used vicious abstraction at major points in their text. Superb refutation.

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