Remembering all those lost through the Holocaust

Remembering all those lost through the Holocaust
Published
27 Jan 2017
Author
Alex Walker

The Holocaust was a horrendous event during our history and we remember those and pay our respects to those who lost their lives during this time on Holocaust Memorial Day. Six million members of the Jewish community unnecessarily lost their lives during Adolf Hitler's reign, but an additional five million people also lost their lives based on their beliefs, sexuality and gender identity. At the beginning of Hitler's rise to power, there were an estimated 1.2 million 'out' gay men living in Germany with Berlin being identified as one of Europe’s most liberal cities for its time. This soon changed as the LGBT community were branded parasites by the Nazi regime and they were branded enemies of the state.

As a result of this, the Nazi government arrested an estimated 100,000 men with some 50,000 officially sentenced. Whilst the majority of those sentenced were sent to prisons, approximately 15,000 were sent to the concentration camps. Whilst at the camps, they were branded with a downward facing pink triangle on their jackets. Whilst records don't indicate the exact numbers, it's estimated that around 60% of those sent to the camps were executed. At the end of the war and liberation of the concentration camps, those still within the camps were moved to state prisons due to their sexuality. The laws weren't changed in Germany for a further 24 years following the end of the war.

At the end of the 1970's, the pink triangle previously used to brand homosexual men has since been used as part of the gay rights movement within the modern world. The triangle has since been inverted for this use and features predominantly within campaigning for equal rights.