(August 5) The world's last known gay holocaust survivor, Rudolf Brazda, died on August 3 aged 98 in his sleep, at his home in Alsace, northeastern France.
During World War Two Brazda served 32 months in Buchenwald concentration camp for homosexuality. Brazda had served two prison sentences for "debauchery between men" and was among 10,000 to 15,000 people the Nazis interned for homosexuality, Radio France Internationale reported.
In Brazda's obituary in The London Telegraph, it is noted that "Although homosexuals constituted one of the smallest categories in the camps, they were often treated with a special ferocity — subjected to beatings, “extermination through labour” in the quarries, castration and medical experiments to make them “normal”; they also often suffered the homophobia of their fellow inmates."
Most media outlets and historians continue to report that just up to 15,000 homos were sent to Nazi concentration camps.
So it bears repeating that after Hitler – a self-loathing homosexual – was crowned chancellor in 1933, paragraph 175 of the German penal code enabled authorities to crush Germany’s burgeoning gay movement embraced by the pre-Nazi Weimar Republic. Over 100 gay bars and political organizations were wiped out in Berlin alone and SS chief Himmler himself later boasted the Nazis had slaughtered a million gay men between 1938 and 1944.
Worse, after the war, homos sentenced to Nazi death camps under paragraph 175 were still treated as criminals by the Europeans and their allies for another 50 years.
For decades Brazda did not speak about what had happened to him, since homosexuality was not decriminalised in France until 1982. As the Telegraph reports, "It was only in May 2008, when Berlin’s openly gay mayor Klaus Wowereit unveiled a memorial to homosexuals persecuted in the Third Reich, that Brazda decided to speak out. He had been watching the ceremony on television and picked up the phone to correct a claim by the organisers that the last witness had died three years earlier. Three weeks later Klaus Wowereit went through the ceremony again. Standing at his side, clutching a red rose, was a white-haired, still wildly flirtatious nonagenarian."
Last year Brazda was a guest of honour at a remembrance ceremony at Buchenwald andearlier this year the German journalist Alexander Zinn published Brazda's biography. Brazda was appointed a Knight of the Legion of Honour in April 2011.