Pink triangle

From Academic Kids

pink triangle

The pink triangle (rosa Winkel) was a symbol used by the Nazis to identify male prisoners in concentration camps who were sent there because of their homosexuality. Every prisoner had to wear a triangle on his or her jacket, the color of which was to categorise him according "to his kind". Jews had to wear the yellow badge, lesbians the black triangle.


Gays as a rather diverse victim group

Not all of the prisoners with a pink triangle identified themselves as gay (sometimes they were married, and had had sex with a man only a few times), and not everyone convicted under paragraph 175 was carried off to a concentration camp (in fact, most were only jailed). Interestingly, most gay men who suffered and died in Nazi concentration camps actually wore the yellow star (because they were Jewish). As such, it is difficult to construct a coherent gay victim group and count its numbers.

The prisoners with the pink triangle

Missing image
Pink-Triangle Prisoner Erwin Schimitzek, KZ Auschwitz
But still, one can estimate the number of prisoners who wore the pink triangle. It was worn by about 5,000 to 15,000 men. For non-Jews, they certainly had a death toll above average. The reason for this might be that they were often alone, sometimes avoided and singled out at a distance because they had been branded as gay, even though gay sex was prevalent in the strictly gender-separated Nazi camps.

Those imprisoned and made to wear the pink triangle also have never been recompensated by the German government. If they did not stop having sex with men, they could be re-imprisoned again and again, as was Heinz Doermer, who served 20 years in total both in a Nazi concentration camp and in the jails of the Federal Republic of Germany. The Nazi amendments to Paragraph 175, which turned homosexuality from an offense into a crime, remained intact after the war for a further 24 years.

Today, fewer than 10 of those imprisoned for homosexuality are known to be still living. And only recently people have begun to ask them for their stories. In 2000 the documentary film Paragraph 175 recorded some of their testimonies on celluloid.

The pink triangle as a symbol of gay pride

The inverted pink triangle has become an international symbol of gay pride and the gay rights movement, and is second in popularity only to the rainbow flag.

See also

Further Reading

  • An Underground Life: Memoirs of a Gay Jew in Nazi Berlin (1999) by Gad Beck (University of Wisconsin Press). ISBN 0299165000.
  • Liberation Was for Others: Memoirs of a Gay Survivor of the Nazi Holocaust (1997) by Pierre Seel (Perseus Book Group). ASIN 0306807564.
  • I, Pierre Seel, Deported Homosexual: A Memoir of Nazi Terror (1995) by Pierre Seel. ASIN 0465045006.
  • The Pink Triangle: The Nazi War Against Homosexuals (1986) by Richard Plant (New Republic Books). ISBN 0-80-500600-1.

External links

de:Rosa Winkel fr:Triangle rose ja:ピンク・トライアングル zh:粉红三角形


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