Wednesday, November 14, 2007

New Research on the Deportation of French Gay Men During WWII

Mémorial de la Déportation Homosexuelle  logoOn 7 November, the French association Le Mémorial de la Déportation Homosexuelle (MDH) published the results of historical researches by the Fondation pour la Mémoire de la Déportation (FMD) on deportations for homosexuality in WWII France. Although deportation for such reason was quite rare and not as systematic as for other groups (less than 1% of all deportations), it is nowadays recognised as a historical fact.

The team from the Mémorial de Caen (French equivalent of the Imperial War Museum), which conducted the research, focused its attention on a number of deported homosexual men, managing to piece their story together. This piece of research is based on a 2001 report which had brought to light a list of 210 victims of deportation for homosexuality. The new report highlights the plight of 63 men only in order to present stories that are both complete and unquestionable.

The study tells us that of these 63 men, 22 were arrested in Alsace-Moselle (which had been annexed by the Reich at the time), 35 within the Riech istself and 6 in occupied France itself (including Paris). Most of them were sent to camps while the others went to German prisons. 9 of the 11 men who died during their deportation, did so in a concentration camp.

Among the stories brought to light by this new research are those of a actor who was arrest in 1944 in Paris because of his affair with a German. Another man was arrested in a clandestine tea dance by the Paris Vice Squad before being handed over to the German forces. 15 French gay men were sent to Germany as part of the Compulsory Labour Service. Only 4 of them survived this experience although the fate of 3 of them remains unknown.

In 1964, a man from Strasburgh tried to apply for compensation from the government as other deported people were entitled to do. His claim was denied twice at regional and national level. He then went to his local Administrative Tribunal but died on 9 February 1965 (aged 68). Because he had no family or heir, the case disappeared with him.

The Mémorial de la Déportation Homosexuelle sees the results of this new research as a belated validation of the convictions it voiced since its creation in 1989. The decades following the end of the second World War saw deportation for homosexuality being considered as taboo if not altogether denied.

Dozens of cases remains to be examined which is why the MDH has asked the French Ministry of Defense to include the research of deportation for homosexuality to its forthcoming agreement with the Fondation pour la Mémoire de la Déportation.

You can read the press release by Mémorial de la Déportation Homosexuelle here (in French)

See also
* Mémorial de Caen (in English)
* Fondation pour la Mémoire de la Déportation (in French)
* Towards Further Recognition of the Deportation of Homosexuals in France
* History of homosexual people in Nazi Germany and the Holocaust
* Pierre Seel
* Déportation des homosexuels: le gouvernement souhaite une plaque commémorative
* One Day They Were Simply Gone, The Nazi Persecution of Homosexuals, Rictor Norton
* Memorial For Gay Victims of the Holocaust in Berlin
* Nazi Persecution of Gays 1933-1945 - United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
* The Nazi Persecution of Gays - Annotated Bibliography of Nonfiction Sources

* Liebe Macht Frei: the biography of Janni Kowalski by Jeremy Harder, Old Forge Publishing
* The Pink Triangle: The Nazi War Against Homosexuals, Richard Plant, Mainstream Publishing
* The Men with the Pink Triangle: The True Life-and-Death Story of Homosexuals in the Nazi Death Camps, Heinz Heger. Gay Men’s Press
* I, Pierre Seel, Deported Homosexual, Pierre Seel, Basic Books.
* An Underground Life: Memoirs of a Gay Jew in Nazi Berlin, Gad Beck, University of Wisconsin Press
* The Other Victims: First-Person Stories of Non-Jews Persecuted by the Nazis, Ina R. Friedman, Houghton Mifflin Juvenile Books
* The Hidden Holocaust, Gunter Grau, Cassell

1 comment:

Simon said...

We must never forget those who were arrested, tortured and died because there only crime was to love someone of the same sex.
Nous ne devons jamais oublier ceux qui ont subi une arrestation, la torture et la mort pour le simple crime d'avoir aimer quelqu'un du même sexe.
We must not forget that this still happens today in certain countries.
Nous ne devons pas oublier que cela est toujours d'actualité dans certains pays.