ANTINOUS WAS AMONG THE MEN
WHO WORE THE PINK TRIANGLES
TODAY is the anniversary of the day in 1945 when Allied troops liberated Auschwitz concentration camp, and the world was shocked by the newsreel images of skeletal inmates and heaps of bodies. This day is observed around the world as International Holocaust Day.
In our Aula Sancti of Saints, Martyrs and Exemplars, on January 28th we honor The Men with the Pink Triangles -- the gay men who were persecuted by the Nazis. Jews were forced to wear a yellow star. Gays wore a pink triangle.
Antinous stands for all of us. He stands for the good times of being gay. But he also stands for the horrible times when we plunge into the depths and drown. Antinous was all the Men with the Pink Triangles.
Everybody knows that gay men were persecuted by the Nazis. But only recently, shocking new documents have come to light showing that the Nazi crackdown on gays was even more widespread and insidious than previously believed.
After German unification hundreds of thousands of case histories were released and historians have been sifting through them.
Their findings are just now being published. And the findings have shocked even many historians who knew that atrocities had occurred, but were surprised by the extent of them.
The Gestapo launched a systematic crack-down on gays in the mid-1930s. They actively entrapped gay men. They set up spying stations behind one-way mirrors in public toilets. Plainclothes men patrolled parks.
The Gestapo created a vicious protection racket that allowed gay bar owners to remain in business, under condition that they handed over names of customers on a regular basis. If a patron got drunk one night and said something catty to the bartender, the next day he found himself being interrogated by the Gestapo, who already had a big dossier on his activities going back years.
Landlords were bribed to inform on tenants. If someone at work didn't like a bachelor co-worker, all he had to do was to go to the Gestapo and suggest a sexual advance had been made, and the next day the co-worker would be gone.
It mattered little whether there was any truth to the allegation. Everyone knew that Nazi ideology demanded procreation to produce a Master Race of blond and blue-eyed Aryans. Anybody who didn't get married and sire lots of kids was already practically a criminal. Being a bachelor automatically made a man a suspicious character in Nazi Germany.
Paradoxically, and cruelly, gay men were offered the alternative of "voluntary castration" with vague promises of leniency. In return for naming names of every gay man they knew, they would undergo botched operations that left them with oozing wounds. And they would still end up in concentration camps.
After the war, many gay inmates remained in prison because Nazi-era laws against homosexuality were still on the books ... those laws were not rescinded until 1969.