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Exhibit tells the story of Nazi persecution of gays

The William Way LGBT Community Center is telling one of the Holocaust's least-known stories - the Nazi persecution of homosexuals.

It's a story of men and women who were arrested and often sentenced to hard labor for what were called indecent acts. The victims were mostly men. Some faced judicial proceedings and criminal charges. Others were simply picked up by SS officers and locked away in concentration camps.

Through Friday, the center is displaying "Nazi Persecution of Homosexuals: 1933-1945," a traveling exhibition of 32 large panels featuring reproductions of historic photographs and documents. It is organized and circulated by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington.

The exhibit debuted at the museum in November 2002. It has since been on view twice in Los Angeles and once in Pittsburgh, Chicago, Atlanta, and nearly two dozen other cities.

Having the exhibit in Philadelphia "has been really rewarding," said Candice Thompson, director of center service at William Way, a nonprofit organization that has been providing advocacy and support services for 30 years.

The panels around the perimeter of the display room, in the center's second-floor ballroom, detail why the Nazis saw homosexuality as a danger to society and how they tried to eliminate it.

It says the Nazis believed homosexuality was a threat to the Aryan race, could be transferred genetically, and was contagious.

The Washington museum contacted various organizations here just over a year ago about hosting the exhibit. The center jumped at the opportunity, Thompson said, seeing an opportunity to educate people both in the LGBT community and outside.

"Education is so important," Thompson said. "We've been a silent minority. We are now able to look at our history, and reflect and understand it better."

One panel details Paragraph 175, a law banning homosexual behavior in Germany. Ted Phillips, the exhibit's curator in Washington, said it had grown from a law in Prussia in the 18th century.

"When Germany unified those states in 1871, it became the law of the German Reich," he said. The law was named Paragraph 175 in 1935 when the Nazis revised it.

The original law, Phillips said, was interpreted narrowly by the courts, and specified "unnatural relations between men." The Nazis rewrote the law in "such a way that Nazi courts interpreted the law extremely broadly," Phillips said. "Any kind of act between men could become criminal. The original law was difficult to prosecute. The new law was very easy."

By 1938, even looks or touching between men could be criminalized.

Phillips said punishment under the original law was up to two years in prison. Punishment under the Nazis ranged from sentences of three or four months to longer sentences, which usually meant hard labor. But some homosexuals were sent to concentration camps without judicial proceedings.

The law did not mention homosexuality between women. Thompson said that was because gay women can still procreate. Lesbians were also seen as less of a threat because women did not have much political power.

The last set of panels discusses the aftermath of the Holocaust.

"It's shocking," Thompson said. "Even after liberation, Paragraph 175 was still on the records. Homosexuals were taken from concentration camps and rearrested."

Phillips said that after the war, East Germany went back to the original version of Paragraph 175, but West Germany retained the Nazi version until 1969. After 1969, "watered-down versions" were implemented, Phillips said. It wasn't until Germany's reunification that the law was abolished.

The number of homosexuals persecuted by the Nazis is difficult to pin down, Phillips said. It is estimated that from 5,000 to 15,000 were in concentration camps.

At one point in the war, "men held in penitentiaries were shifted to concentration camps because [the camps] were a major industrial force, labor force," Phillips said. That exact number can't be identified, either.

Thompson said the exhibit had been well-received. More than 200 people attended its opening reception last month.

"One of the surprising parts for me is how many people outside the community were really interested and thankful we have the exhibit," Thompson said.


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BONNIE WELLER / Staff Photographer
Phillip Prillman, facilities coordinator at the William Way LGBT Community Center in Center City, studies the touring exhibit, organized by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.
by on Dec. 2, 2009 at 11:49 PM
Replies (31-39):
Della529
by Matlock on Dec. 4, 2009 at 9:37 AM

And, of course, there are people like these so-called Christians.

http://www.religioustolerance.org/hom_hate2.htm

http://www.religioustolerance.org/hom_hate1.htm

[We have added some of our own comments] to the analysis below:
 

bullet An Internet site with one of the longest and poorest spelled titles is by Pastor Peter J Peters: "Intollerance [sic] of, Discrimination Against, and the DEATH PENALTY FOR HOMOSEXUALS is Prescribed in the Bible" at: http://www.identity.org/files/homo.html

Pastor Peters appears to be from Colorado. His web page includes:

bullet A dedication to those politicians (if any exist) who follow "God's vote [rather] than man's." Although he does not define specifically what these politicians do to gain God's vote, he later refers to soldiers who "uphold His orders concerning homosexuality."
bullet An introduction which quotes the familiar Bible passages that are commonly used to criticize homosexual behavior, starting at: Leviticus 20:13, Leviticus 18:22, 1 Corinthians 6:9, Romans 1:18. He points out that the Bible "advocates discrimination, intolerance and the DEATH PENALTY" for active homosexuals. Some people hate Biblical truth and cannot accept it. Others are confused by the Bible and feel that it is radical and extreme. He says that homosexuals "are willing to prescribe the death penalty to those who oppose them." He writes that the Bible does not allow homosexuals basic freedoms, like free speech, free assembly, right to do business, right to act politically, to live with anyone they wish, the right to live safely without being victimized by violence. [He is correct that the Bible is intolerant of some sexual behaviors. But the passages that he cites deal with gay ritual sex in Pagan temples, men sexually abusing boys and heterosexuals engaging in homosexual orgies. The Bible is silent on consensual relations between persons of the same gender in committed relationships.]
bullet A note to the homosexual, he recommends that they demand that the Bible be outlawed as hate literature, or at least have the offending passages removed. He recommends some slogans that they can use.
bullet A section "Intolerance, Discrimination and Law," in which he shows that all law is inherently discriminatory and intolerant. Thus, a law which prohibits discrimination against gay and lesbian accommodation or employment is itself discriminatory and intolerant of Bible believers. [That is true. All civil rights legislation is intolerant of hatred against the protected groups.]
bullet A section "Determining Proper Discrimination and Intolerance", where he says that youth are incorrectly told that they can choose their own sexual orientations. They are not told that God has laws in place against homosexuality. [He uses the term "sexual preference" in place of "sexual orientation." Sexual preference implies that gays and lesbians are attracted to people of both genders, but prefer one gender over the other. This is not true. Homosexuals are attracted only to members of the same gender. If they were attracted to both men and women, then they would not be homosexuals; they would be bisexuals. If youths were able to chose their sexual orientation, it is unlikely that many would ever choose to be gay or lesbian and spend the rest of their life being hated and abused by others.]
bullet A reprint of Public Law 97-280. This is a joint resolution of Congress dated 1982-OCT-4, which asks the President to proclaim 1983 as the "Year of the Bible." It states that the Bible is the word of God, and that the nation needs "to study and apply the teachings of the Holy Scriptures." Thus, he concludes that the government of the US has declared that the Bible, and the laws of God that it contains, must be applied across the country. This includes the death penalty for homosexuals, as required in passages starting: 1 Timothy 1:8; Romans 1:21, Leviticus 20:13. [This is a resolution not a law; if it were a law it would have been declared unconstitutional long before now. The passages cited are unrelated to consensual sex between persons of the same gender in a committed relationship].
bullet A section "Gay Leader Calls for Aids [sic] Terrorist Army." He quotes an article in the Wall Street Journal which quotes Larry Kramer of the radical gay organization Act Up. Kramer calls for an AIDS terrorist army. Pastor Peters advocates laws like that of Connecticut in 1650 CE which call for the death penalty for gays. [A most extreme radical is not typical of a movement.]
bullet A section "Law is not Law Unless the Judgments are Applied." He notes that homosexuality causes death in many forms: disease, serial murders, childless and grandchildless families. Romans 1:32 calls for the death penalty for both homosexuals and those who support equal rights for homosexuals. [One can hardly define the lack of children as a murder of a child that might have been. Committing genocide against all homosexuals is not going to generate more children and grandchildren.]
bullet A section "Crime, Government and Revival." He equates the concepts of sin and crime. Since one role of the government is to punish criminals, the government must punish sin wherever it is found. This includes homosexuals who choose their own life style. It includes what people do in the privacy of their own home. The result will be repentance and a healing of the land. [There are as many definitions of sin as there are sinners. There is a widespread belief that the government should stay out of personal matters.]
bullet A section "Answering...objections...". He considers objections that people have raised. Some claim:
bullet Jesus never condemned homosexuality. But Jesus upheld the Law which calls on the death penalty for homosexual behavior. [True, but only if they engaged in ritual sex in Pagan temples.]
bullet Jesus advocated love, not hate. But the greatest commandment is to love God. To love God means we must keep his commandments, which includes death to gays and lesbians. [See previous note.]
bullet Judge not. but Jesus calls on his followers to judge other in John 7:24
bullet The law is no longer required. Only ritual law has been declared no longer valid.
bullet The state should not interfere with people in the privacy of their homes. But the government already does this with other sins, such as gambling and prostitution. [Perhaps they shouldn't.]
bullet People should have the freedom to choose a homosexual life style. Jesus did not die so that people could be free to murder or engage in homosexual acts. [Murder is a crime; homosexual acts are natural, normal (for gays and lesbians).]
bullet Morality cannot be legislated. But all law enforces somebody's morality.
bullet Homosexuals are born that way and are persecuted. Gays and lesbians have a reprobate mind worthy of death. The six leading US serial killers were motivated by a sense of shame after having homosexual relations with their victims. [If this is true, then we need to reduce their sense of shame; their sexual orientation is fixed. If they were not brought up to hate gays, perhaps they would not have hated themselves when they found out that they were gay.]
bullet Homosexuals can be saved. Few ever choose to repent and become heterosexual.  [Many don't repent because they do not see their form of love as a sin. We have never located any homosexual who was able to become heterosexual.]
bullet A conclusion: If we do not kill all the homosexuals, then even more people will die.  "Homosexuals will continue to spread their form of death and will continue to recruit the people's sons and daughters and threaten and carry out their threats against any who oppose them." [Nobody can be recruited into a sexual orientation. The homosexual movement (or any other movement) can not be rationally judged by its most extreme members.]
bullet A threatening and very angry quotation of Michael Swift, a "gay revolutionary." Pastor Peters concludes with a call for lynching by vigilante groups, and an appeal to create new sodomy criminal laws which will execute all gays and lesbians.

horizontal rule

 

bullet A Webmaster known only by his Email address kteckhar@msn.com has created "The Christian anti-Homosexuality  Web Site." See: http://www.anti-homosexuality.com/  Some points raised on his site, which is currently off line:
bullet He emphasizes that he doesn't hate homosexuals. He just abhors homosexuality "just as our Maker does." He is motivated by a desire to "snatch people out of the flames." "...they're going to be firewood." [Presumably he believes that all active gays and lesbians are destined to spend eternity in Hell. That is some punishment for loving another human being!]
bullet Jesus only accepts repentant sinners. Since active homosexuals continue to sin, then they cannot be repentant. [kteckhar assumes that homosexual behavior by gays and lesbians is a sin.]
bullet He quotes Leviticus 20:13 which, in most English translations of the Bible, calls for the death penalty for active homosexuals. He notes that God never changes his mind, that Jesus said that not one miniscule part of the Law has become void. [A closer analysis of the original Hebrew text shows that the passage, and the companion passage of Leviticus 18:22  refer to homosexual sexual rituals in Pagan temples]
bullet He notes that "nations are being infected by a growing population of homosexual offenders," and that the problem is virtually out of control. He sees no way of cutting the problem down to size without a mass extermination of gay and lesbians. [We have not seen any data that shows that the number of homosexuals is increasing. There is a word for his proposed action: genocide].
bullet He concludes: "Therefore, we need to execute the Sodomizing of America before America is Sodomized." Finally, he quotes Isaiah 1:10: "Hear the word of the LORD, you rulers of Sodom! Give ear to the teaching of our God, you people of Gomorrah!" [The implication is that Isaiah condemned Sodom and Gomorrah for their homosexual behavior. But if one reads the entire first chapter of Isaiah, the Prophet is really condemning the people of Judah, who are repeatedly compared with Sodom and Gomorra in their evildoing and depravity. Isaiah lists many sins of the people: rebelling against God, lacking in knowledge, deserting the Lord, idolatry, engaging in meaningless religious ritual, being unjust and oppressive to others, being insensitive to the needs of widows and orphans, committing murder, accepting bribes, etc. Homosexuality and other sexual activities were not mentioned at all.]
bullet Presumably referring to the two apparently anti-homosexual passages in Leviticus, he quotes the original Hebrew text which says that certain behavior is to'ebah, which he translates as "an abhorrence or a disgusting thing." [But to'ebah is a religious term, usually reserved for use against instances of idolatry. If the writer(s) of Leviticus wished to refer to a moral violation, a sin, he/they would have used the Hebrew word zimah. To'ebah could better be translated "foreign religious cult practice." The Greek Septuagint translation of the Hebrew Scriptures (circa 3rd century BCE) translated "to'ebah" into Greek as bdelygma, which meant ritual impurity. Eating a cheeseburger, charging interest on a loan, shaving a beard, sowing seeds in the corner of a field were all "to'ebah".]
bullet "So since God did not design homosexuality, it is abominable.  Homosexuality is developed from human depravity.  NO ONE is born with a fully developed homosexual instinct." [Of course, no one is born that way. A fully developed homosexual orientation does not develop until their teenage years - same as with heterosexuals.]

 

tinybubblez
by on Dec. 4, 2009 at 9:44 AM

am i the only one who finds it ironic that his name is Peter J Peters ??!

confused

margroc
by on Dec. 4, 2009 at 11:18 AM


Quoting tinybubblez:

am i the only one who finds it ironic that his name is Peter J Peters ??!

confused

LOL

A society which emphasizes uniformity is one which creates intolerance and hate.  - Pierre E. Trudeau

tericared
by on Dec. 4, 2009 at 9:46 PM

I lost my cool for moment and said something not very nice so I  deleted it...And then thought crap my name is up there for a reply, so I came back.....Merry Christmas everyone..........

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WildKat
by Bronze Member on Dec. 4, 2009 at 10:20 PM


Quoting tericared:

I lost my cool for moment and said something not very nice so I  deleted it...And then thought crap my name is up there for a reply, so I came back.....Merry Christmas everyone..........

You didn't have to tell us - you could have posted anything and we wouldn't have known.  But I know what you mean about your name sticking up there.  I've had it happen to me and I hate that bug. 

Peace,

Kat

tericared
by on Dec. 4, 2009 at 10:28 PM


Quoting WildKat:

 

Quoting tericared:

I lost my cool for moment and said something not very nice so I  deleted it...And then thought crap my name is up there for a reply, so I came back.....Merry Christmas everyone..........

You didn't have to tell us - you could have posted anything and we wouldn't have known.  But I know what you mean about your name sticking up there.  I've had it happen to me and I hate that bug. 

Peace,

Kat

It is anoying, besides it made me feel better to come back and wish every one a Merry Christmas...

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WildKat
by Bronze Member on Dec. 4, 2009 at 10:40 PM


Quoting tericared:


Quoting WildKat:


Quoting tericared:

I lost my cool for moment and said something not very nice so I  deleted it...And then thought crap my name is up there for a reply, so I came back.....Merry Christmas everyone..........

You didn't have to tell us - you could have posted anything and we wouldn't have known.  But I know what you mean about your name sticking up there.  I've had it happen to me and I hate that bug. 

Peace,

Kat

It is anoying, besides it made me feel better to come back and wish every one a Merry Christmas...

Well then Merry Christmas back atchya!  :-)

Peace,

Kat

tericared
by on Dec. 5, 2009 at 12:08 AM


Quoting WildKat:

 

Quoting tericared:


Quoting WildKat:

 

Quoting tericared:

I lost my cool for moment and said something not very nice so I  deleted it...And then thought crap my name is up there for a reply, so I came back.....Merry Christmas everyone..........

You didn't have to tell us - you could have posted anything and we wouldn't have known.  But I know what you mean about your name sticking up there.  I've had it happen to me and I hate that bug. 

Peace,

Kat

 

It is anoying, besides it made me feel better to come back and wish every one a Merry Christmas...

Well then Merry Christmas back atchya!  :-)

Peace,

Kat

blowing kisses

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Della529
by Matlock on Dec. 6, 2009 at 1:42 PM


Quoting margroc:

 

Quoting tinybubblez:

am i the only one who finds it ironic that his name is Peter J Peters ??!

confused

LOL

I once worked for a company owned by a man named Peter Power.

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