In various ways, over the last two weeks, Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association has advanced three theories about Hitler, the Nazi Party and homosexuals. They are:
1. Hitler was an active homosexual.
2. Hitler could not find straight soldiers who were savage enough to carry out his evil plans, so he recruited homosexuals to do it.
3. Homosexuals in the Nazi military led to the Holocaust.
Fischer produces several quotes from historians and students of the Nazi movement to support him. It seems to me that he pulls these quotes right out of their context and uses them to paint an incomplete picture of history.
Hitler’s sexuality has been examined from several different angles. He is an enigma for sure, but you wouldn’t know it by listening to Fischer who called Hitler “an active homosexual.” In the historical record it is clear that Hitler displayed some interest in certain women but this was glossed over by Fischer. Even if Hitler did have a homosexual period –this is by no means proven — there was a clear shift in attitude toward homosexuals after the murder of Ernst Rohm. It is accurate to say that Rohm and several of the SA Brownshirts were homosexual. Hitler tolerated them until they were no longer useful and had them executed in 1934 during the Night of the Long Knive purge. The man who led the execution of Rohm and who later had responsibility for instilling the uncompromising cruelty of the concentration camps at Dachau and later as general inspector of all camps was Theodore Eicke. Eicke, not mentioned in Scott Lively’s book, was married with two children; very straight and very savage.
What follows are just a sampling of quotes which are relevant to Fischer’s theories.
Hitler avoided contact with women, meeting with cold indifference during visits to the opera alleged attempts by young women, probably seeing him as something of an oddity, to flirt or tease him. He was repelled by homosexuality. He refrained from masturbation. Prostitution horrified but fascinated him. He associated it with venereal disease, which petrified him. (p. 23)
–Ian Kershaw in Hitler: A Biography (2008). WW Norton & Co.
“Diels says of Hitler, “He [Hitler] lectured me on the role of homosexuality in history and politics. It had destroyed ancient Greece he said. Once rife, it extended its contagious effects like an ineluctable law of nature to the best and most manly of characters, elimination from the reproductive process those very men on whose offspring a nation depended. The immediate result of the vice, however, was that unnatural passion swiftly became dominant in public affairs if it were allowed to spread unchecked”. (p.118) (Rudolf Diels was the first chief of the Gestapo)
Hitler was prudish in his abhorrence of the “sins” of the modern big city like prostitution, homosexuality, and even immodest dress. He wrote of these matters as the “political, ethical and moral contamination of the people” and the “poisoning of the health of the body politic.” (p. 336)
–Robert Gellately (2007). Lenin, Stalin and Hitler: The Age of Social Catastrophe. Random House.
In November, 1941 Hitler even signed a decree making homosexual offenses among SS members and policemen a capital offense. Two months earlier, Hitler had explained to Goebbels the Darwinian underpinnings of his opposition to homosexuality. After remarking that homosexuality should not be tolerated, especially in the Nazi party and the Army, Hitler continued:
The homosexual is always disposed to drive the selection of men toward the criminal or at least the sickly than the useful in the selection of men. If one would give him free rein, the state would eventually be an organization of homosexuality, but not an organization of manly selection. A real man would defend himself against this endeavor, because he sees it as an assassination of his own evolutionary possibilities. (p. 131)
—Hitler’s Ethic: The Nazi Pursuit of Evolutionary Progress (2009). Richard Weikart. Palgrave MacMillan.
There are many more such quotes and accounts which demonstrate the clear distain for homosexuality from Hitler and the Nazis. Last week, I noted that Lothar Machtan, who Bryan Fischer quotes at length, discounted points 2 and 3 above. For more on homosexuality and the Nazis, consult this link and this one.