Monday, August 3, 2020

Sachsenhausen - December 19, 1938

Prisoners in the concentration camp at Sachsenhausen, Germany

December 19, 1938

Unknown Photographer (1938), US National Archive of Foreign Records

This image is often cited as showing homosexual men wearing pink triangles. A variety of triangles, of different colors, were used to indicate the reason someone was in a concentration camp: criminals, political, asocial, Roma, homosexual, Jehovah's Witness. Jews wore a yellow Star of David (two triangles, one of which could indicate an additional reason for being in the concentration camp).

Image Archive: General Services Administration. National Archives and Records Service. Office of the National Archives. / Hoffmann Collection; Subseries HLB; 35mm prints and negatives made by the Berlin Office, 3/1933 - 7/1944 / Record Group 242: National Archives Collection of Foreign Records Seized, 1675 - 1958

Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp

The Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp was established in 1936. It was located 35 kilometres (22 mi) north of Berlin. (Google MapsWikipedia)

Paragraph 175: Criminalized Male Homosexuality

Pink Triangle
for Homosexuals
May 15, 1871: Paragraph 175 of the German Criminal Code made homosexual acts between males a crime.

July 2, 1934: Night of the Long Knives - Purge of SA leadership and death of Ernst Rohm.

June 28, 1935: Paragraph 175 of the Criminal Code was amended to criminalize a broader range of relationships between men and include harsher sentencing. The changes became effective on September 1, 1935.

April 4, 1938: a directive of the Gestapo declared that men convicted under Paragraph 175 will be sent to concentration camps.

1994: Paragraph 175 removed from the German Criminal Code.

During the Third Reich more than 100,000 German men were charged under Paragraph 175, and of these an estimated 5,000 to 15,000 perished in prisons and camps. [Robert Beachy, Gay Berlin (2014)]


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