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It has only been since the mid-1970s that any attention has been paid to the persecution and interment of gay men by the Nazis during the Third Reich. Since that time, books such as Richard Plant's The Pink Triangle (and Martin Sherman's play Bent) have illuminated this nearly lost history. Heinz Heger's first-person account, The Men with the Pink Triangle, was one of the It has only been since the mid-1970s that any attention has been paid to the persecution and interment of gay men by the Nazis during the Third Reich. Since that time, books such as Richard Plant's The Pink Triangle (and Martin Sherman's play Bent) have illuminated this nearly lost history. Heinz Heger's first-person account, The Men with the Pink Triangle, was one of the first books on the topic and remains one of the most important. In 1939, Heger, a Viennese university student, was arrested and sentenced to prison for being a "degenerate." Within weeks he was transported to Sachsenhausen, a concentration camp in East Germany, and forced to wear a pink triangle to show that his crime was homosexuality. He remained there, under horrific conditions, until the end of the war in 1945. The power of The Men with the Pink Triangle comes from Heger's sparse prose and his ability to recall--and communicate--the smallest resonant details. The pain and squalor of everyday camp life--the constant filth, the continuous presence of death, and the unimaginable cruelty of those in command--are all here. But Heger's story would be unbearable were it not for the simple courage he and others used to survive and, having survived, that he bore witness. This book is harrowing but necessary reading for everyone concerned about gay history, human rights, or social justice. --Michael Bronski


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It has only been since the mid-1970s that any attention has been paid to the persecution and interment of gay men by the Nazis during the Third Reich. Since that time, books such as Richard Plant's The Pink Triangle (and Martin Sherman's play Bent) have illuminated this nearly lost history. Heinz Heger's first-person account, The Men with the Pink Triangle, was one of the It has only been since the mid-1970s that any attention has been paid to the persecution and interment of gay men by the Nazis during the Third Reich. Since that time, books such as Richard Plant's The Pink Triangle (and Martin Sherman's play Bent) have illuminated this nearly lost history. Heinz Heger's first-person account, The Men with the Pink Triangle, was one of the first books on the topic and remains one of the most important. In 1939, Heger, a Viennese university student, was arrested and sentenced to prison for being a "degenerate." Within weeks he was transported to Sachsenhausen, a concentration camp in East Germany, and forced to wear a pink triangle to show that his crime was homosexuality. He remained there, under horrific conditions, until the end of the war in 1945. The power of The Men with the Pink Triangle comes from Heger's sparse prose and his ability to recall--and communicate--the smallest resonant details. The pain and squalor of everyday camp life--the constant filth, the continuous presence of death, and the unimaginable cruelty of those in command--are all here. But Heger's story would be unbearable were it not for the simple courage he and others used to survive and, having survived, that he bore witness. This book is harrowing but necessary reading for everyone concerned about gay history, human rights, or social justice. --Michael Bronski

30 review for The Men with the Pink Triangle: The True Life-and-Death Story of Homosexuals in the Nazi Death Camps

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jack Jordan

    This is a tremendously important book. When people think of concentration camps, they think of millions of Jews being tortured and gassed. However, not many people think of the other victims of Hitler's sickening Führerland. This book tells the story of one of the other most loathed 'blemishes' of Hitler's Aryan race: homosexuals. Homosexuals, branded with the pink triangle, were seen as 'the scum of the scum', hated more than the Jews and the Romani - not just by the Nazis, but by their fellow This is a tremendously important book. When people think of concentration camps, they think of millions of Jews being tortured and gassed. However, not many people think of the other victims of Hitler's sickening Führerland. This book tells the story of one of the other most loathed 'blemishes' of Hitler's Aryan race: homosexuals. Homosexuals, branded with the pink triangle, were seen as 'the scum of the scum', hated more than the Jews and the Romani - not just by the Nazis, but by their fellow prisoners. They were given the most torturous 'jobs' ( Heinz Heger's (pseudonym for author and survivor Josef Kohout) first 'job' at his first concentration camp was to shovel snow from the left side of the road - with his bare hands - and carry it to the right side of the road; once that had been accomplished, he then had to carry the snow from the right and return it to the left) and had to endure constant verbal, physical and sexual abuse; Kohout had to succumb to having sex with his Capos for protection. Homosexuals were seen as disgusting and perverted, but 'normal' men could have sex with other men as a way of 'release' without being seen as disgusting or wrong at all. The injustice of those branded with the pink triangle is not only the treatment and torture they received simply for being attracted to the same sex, but the lack of acknowledgement their struggle received, if they happened to survive the camps: they were shunned by society for being homosexuals, many being arrested and imprisoned for the same 'crime' that had them committed to the concentration camps; if they escaped being sent to prison, they were hated by their neighbours and ostracised by society (Kohout's father committed suicide because of the treatment he received from his friends, colleagues and neighbours for having a gay son); they did not receive compensation like the other victims of the concentration camps, because they were criminals for loving the same sex, and criminals did not receive compensation. But by far the worst injustice is that their history was never told. You will never hear of their treatment told of in schools, see them in museums (except one in the US - many decades later) or read much of them in the many, many books on the subject. Yes, the biggest injustice is that their struggle has been swept under the carpet, destined to be forgotten and dismissed, as though society almost condones what happened to them, as if prolonging their treatment.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Red Haircrow

    This was a long-awaited read for me. It was a read I had to prepare myself for, before I could actually read it. I'm a scholar of WW2 and Holocaust literature and have a large collection of material, but for a topic dealing even more closely with myself and being, I had to take time to ground myself. Whether you are just a passing person who might wish to learn about what homosexuals suffered in concentration camps (and there were fewer comparatively and earlier in the Nazi regime directly), or This was a long-awaited read for me. It was a read I had to prepare myself for, before I could actually read it. I'm a scholar of WW2 and Holocaust literature and have a large collection of material, but for a topic dealing even more closely with myself and being, I had to take time to ground myself. Whether you are just a passing person who might wish to learn about what homosexuals suffered in concentration camps (and there were fewer comparatively and earlier in the Nazi regime directly), or someone who is looking for a wider view of all inmates who were interred or murdered, this memoir can provide views into life in the camps, especially for certain populations. What is does beyond that is provide a glimpse into the ugly aspects of "male" life, and the unique, sexual brutality so-called "straight" men have perpetrated against homosexuals who've expressed or more openly or innocently (depending on your perspective) their attraction and love of those of their own gender. I don't even know quite how to express it, but I literally was brought to the floor, unable to move, weeping, remembering how one can be forced to do things just to survive, and knowing the ones who forced you to debase yourself so horribly were so-called "straight" men who went/go home to their wives or girlfriends, who don't think twice about using someone. That is the perspective Heinz Heger lived and endured on top of the diabolical, sickly human mechanisms of the Nazis and those who benefited from their regime. I wanted to know more of his personal feelings when he described seeing thousands of prisoners of all kinds not just be "liquidated", but when he directly saw the evidence: the coursing of blood from trenches full of recently shot bodies instead of his only stating how the villagers near the camp complained of the local streams being tainted with blood, but I understand why his account involved only that. Sometimes you can only recount abstracts like that, because looking too directly into the memory will take you back, and you know, in your present life that you couldn't endure that. Not a "speciality" book. Not just for gays or other LTIIQ people. If you are going to read Holocaust books, include this one as well. Be aware and outraged that homosexuals were targeted and murdered just like other groups, just because they believed and lived a certain way....BUT the vast majority were NEVER compensated as were other survivors. They were pushed aside and discriminated against, and even had officials discount their memories, an even more debilitating experience than survivors whose stories were commiserated with. So in effect, these men were violated over and over, not just by perpetrators, but by those who supposedly were there to liberate and help them as they did other concentration camp inmates. They were discriminated against JUST like what continues against gays today in a variety of countries across the world. For more information and photo of Heinz Heger, whose real name was Josef Kohout, please visit my review/interview site Flying With Red Haircrow.

  3. 4 out of 5

    eRin

    Horrifying. Simply horrifying is the best way to describe this book. Told by one of the few known homosexual surviors of Nazi concentration camps, and one of the even fewer brave enough to tell his story, this book details Heger's six years in a concentration camp. The abuse--physical, mental, and sexual--is unbelievable. It's traumatic to simply read about his experience and the things that he witnessed. What I found most jaw-dropping is the constant abuse heaped upon the prisoners for being ga Horrifying. Simply horrifying is the best way to describe this book. Told by one of the few known homosexual surviors of Nazi concentration camps, and one of the even fewer brave enough to tell his story, this book details Heger's six years in a concentration camp. The abuse--physical, mental, and sexual--is unbelievable. It's traumatic to simply read about his experience and the things that he witnessed. What I found most jaw-dropping is the constant abuse heaped upon the prisoners for being gay, but then most of the abusers are having gay sex at the exact same time (similar to prisons today), but think nothing of it because they are "normal" men. Ugh. Nightmares are certain to result from this reading, but I maintain that it's a very important story to read.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kerry

    This book opened my eyes in so many ways. I'll be forever thankful to the girl that recommended it. I've read a lot of holocaust memoirs over the years, but none had ever so much as mentioned the atrocities committed against homosexuals. Like any book dealing with the holocaust, this book is a tough read, and the questions it asks have no easy answers, other than the world is sometimes very, very wrong.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Tabi

    Excellent and horrifying.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Karyl

    We're all familiar with the extermination of more than six million Jews throughout Europe by the Nazi regime, with the goal of creating some sort of "master race" of blond, blue-eyed Aryans. This is a fact that should be taught to every generation with the goal of never repeating this sort of horrific genocide. What is less known, however, is that the Jews were not the only ones to suffer at the hands of Hitler and his megalomania. Political dissidents, the Roma, and homosexuals were also trucke We're all familiar with the extermination of more than six million Jews throughout Europe by the Nazi regime, with the goal of creating some sort of "master race" of blond, blue-eyed Aryans. This is a fact that should be taught to every generation with the goal of never repeating this sort of horrific genocide. What is less known, however, is that the Jews were not the only ones to suffer at the hands of Hitler and his megalomania. Political dissidents, the Roma, and homosexuals were also trucked off to concentration camps, where they were frequently worked to death or murdered outright. Unfortunately, while reparations have been made to the Jews and other groups for their suffering, the gay men who were imprisoned were still considered criminals by the laws of the time, even as late as the 1970s, and therefore not eligible for reparations. It is absolutely terrifying to read what Heger and the gay men he was imprisoned with endured. Heger resorted to forming relationships with the Capos of his camp in order to secure better food and work details for himself, a decision that saved his life many times over. The emotional and physical abuse the gay men endured is staggering; they were daily harassed for their sexual orientation even by men who had male lovers in the camp. Because those men considered themselves straight, their lovers served only as an emergency outlet when no women were around. Yet the gay men in the camp were called disgusting, perverted, filthy, and sick degenerates. They were forced to sleep in barracks with the lights on and with their hands above the covers to prevent furtive fumblings in the night. Heger recounts some of the worst abuse, including a bloody and violent beating resulting in a man's death, in graphic detail, yet he does so almost dispassionately, I'm sure as a way of self-preservation. To allow himself to reveal his feelings on these situations may have been too much, and I cannot blame him. This is not a book to be read by the squeamish, but it is important to remember that gay men suffered cruelly under the Nazi regime. I could have finished this book in one setting, but with the difficult subject matter, I had to read it more slowly.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Alian345

    This is an account of one young gay man's experiences at the hands of the Nazis. It is quite factual but if you read between the lines the horror jumps out at you. There is an appalling account of the murder of one young gay man at the hands of 2 Nazi officers which will remain with me forever. Much of the book is devoted to the methods he used to stay alive - mainly by becoming the 'companion' of various 'dignitary prisoners' in the camp. He managed to survive for YEARS - an unbelievable feat - This is an account of one young gay man's experiences at the hands of the Nazis. It is quite factual but if you read between the lines the horror jumps out at you. There is an appalling account of the murder of one young gay man at the hands of 2 Nazi officers which will remain with me forever. Much of the book is devoted to the methods he used to stay alive - mainly by becoming the 'companion' of various 'dignitary prisoners' in the camp. He managed to survive for YEARS - an unbelievable feat - and return home. He is quite bitter - absolutely correctly - at some of the treatment he received after the war and at the non-recognition of the suffering of gay people. The account was written around 1970 - thank God that our generation lives in much more tolerant times. May horrors like this never recur. I salute you Mr Heger/Kohout!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Chloe

    I feel like it would be unfair to give this book any sort of rating. It is a raw, blunt and harrowing account of the treatment of homosexuals under the Nazi regime. I am also hesitant to put this under my read-for-univeristy shelf, because I did not have to read this book in its entirety, but I found once I had started I wanted to follow the author through their journey until the end - no matter how horrific it may get. It was horrifying, and often there is no closure, as 'characters' disappear, I feel like it would be unfair to give this book any sort of rating. It is a raw, blunt and harrowing account of the treatment of homosexuals under the Nazi regime. I am also hesitant to put this under my read-for-univeristy shelf, because I did not have to read this book in its entirety, but I found once I had started I wanted to follow the author through their journey until the end - no matter how horrific it may get. It was horrifying, and often there is no closure, as 'characters' disappear, never to return, either presumed dead or arriving at a completely unknown conclusion. Throughout the book though, there was a continuing awe at the strength found in the desire to live. An important book which uncovers an often forgotten or deliberately ignored part of Germany's history.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Hannah

    “What car driver today, hurtling along the German motorways, knows that each block of granite has the blood of innocent men on it? Men who did nothing wrong, but who were hounded to death in concentration camps solely for reason of their religion, their origin, their political views or their feeling for their own sex. Each of the granite pillars that hold up the motorway bridges cost the lives of untold victims - a sea of blood and a mountain of human corpses. Today people only too willing to th “What car driver today, hurtling along the German motorways, knows that each block of granite has the blood of innocent men on it? Men who did nothing wrong, but who were hounded to death in concentration camps solely for reason of their religion, their origin, their political views or their feeling for their own sex. Each of the granite pillars that hold up the motorway bridges cost the lives of untold victims - a sea of blood and a mountain of human corpses. Today people only too willing to throw a cloak of silence and forgetfulness over all of these things”

  10. 5 out of 5

    Miz

    Tragic story to add into the mix when discussing WW2 and the Holocaust.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jill Mackin

    Tragic.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kylee Ehmann

    It never ceases to amaze me how matter-of-fact Holocaust survivors were in reporting the atrocities they suffered. Heger's account of his and other gay men's experiences in the camps is brutal, but in a way that's different than narratives about the predominate Jewish experience in the camps. What I appreciated most is that Heger, while he really hammers home how much gay men were tortured and often forced into prostitution to survive, he never minimizes the suffering of other prisoners. He repe It never ceases to amaze me how matter-of-fact Holocaust survivors were in reporting the atrocities they suffered. Heger's account of his and other gay men's experiences in the camps is brutal, but in a way that's different than narratives about the predominate Jewish experience in the camps. What I appreciated most is that Heger, while he really hammers home how much gay men were tortured and often forced into prostitution to survive, he never minimizes the suffering of other prisoners. He repeatedly talks about how Jewish people suffered. While he mentions that other prisoners treated them poorly for their sexuality, he rests the blame for their actions on the Nazi regime and the officers in charge (although he often includes the "green-triangle" criminal officer-prisoners in the camps in this latter category). It's a really refreshing read, and I appreciated that his rage continued to be directed to the powers that be for continuing to repress gay men after the war. We are really lucky to have someone who was willing to put his narrative down in this way.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kerstin

    I am struggling to find the right words. This was truly the most horrific thing I have ever read. To think that this was the reality for thousands and thousands of gay people not so long ago is just unimaginable... I can't help but think of my friends in the LGBTQ+ community and that it could have been them. We live in the same country Josef Kohout lived. Our grandparents can remeber this time. The thought is almost surreal. May we never forget about these horrors and make sure that something li I am struggling to find the right words. This was truly the most horrific thing I have ever read. To think that this was the reality for thousands and thousands of gay people not so long ago is just unimaginable... I can't help but think of my friends in the LGBTQ+ community and that it could have been them. We live in the same country Josef Kohout lived. Our grandparents can remeber this time. The thought is almost surreal. May we never forget about these horrors and make sure that something like this can never happen again.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Maureen

    I read two books on this subject with similar titles. The first book is "The Pink Triangle: The Nazi war Against Homosexuals by Richard Plant" I gave that prior book 3 stars because although it was written well it was more of the facts and not personal account. THIS book that I am reviewing now is "The Men with the Pink Triangle: The True Life-and-Death Story of Homosexuals in the Nazi Death Camps by Heinz Heger" (which I found out is his pen name) and is HIS personal account of his years as a ga I read two books on this subject with similar titles. The first book is "The Pink Triangle: The Nazi war Against Homosexuals by Richard Plant" I gave that prior book 3 stars because although it was written well it was more of the facts and not personal account. THIS book that I am reviewing now is "The Men with the Pink Triangle: The True Life-and-Death Story of Homosexuals in the Nazi Death Camps by Heinz Heger" (which I found out is his pen name) and is HIS personal account of his years as a gay man in a concentration camp. I found this book gripping and very very disturbing at times. I give this book 5 stars and reccomend it to anyone wanting to learn more about this forgoton group of people in the holocaust. Not only is it written well, it is a short book so you will be done with it in a few days..it's under 120 pages. There are so few books that address the experiences of the homosexual concentration camp victims, and yet there were thousands of these "pink triangle" men in the camps. they all had to wear pink triangles..the Nazi's had a color code for everyone and they even forced the "pink triangle' men to have bigger triangles than any other group since they were the 'most hated'. The "pink triangle" men were despised by their fellow prisoners; even the murderers and thieves viewed themselves as "morally superior" to the "degenerates" who had violated Paragraph 175 (the law against homosexuality). The man was repeatedly insulted and abused for his orientation (at one point being sexually assaulted by fellow prisoners on the way to a concentration camp). There is a lot of discussion about human sexuality and its role in trying circumstances (many of the other prisoners in positions in authority had male lovers, although they'd vehemently deny that they were gay). Never thought about how when the gay men got released society wouldn't accept them once freed like the the Jewish people were. He tried to go back to college and couldn't concentrate or get through the day. The way it is written is raw and even has a few sarcastic 'funny' lines thrown in here and there which the reader needs after envisioning some of the torture going on. I am still thinking about this book. Again, this is the book by Heinz Heger and not the book by Richard Plant.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Webber

    A collection of stories about homosexual people rounded up and tortured in death camps during WWII, this is absolutely not light reading and not for the faint of heart. While the extermination of millions of Jews is the main topic of discussion when covering the Holocaust (as well it should be), it is equally as important to call out and memorialize the others who were marginalized, targeted, and killed for openly being themselves. The stories are real, horrific, and depressing. However, occasio A collection of stories about homosexual people rounded up and tortured in death camps during WWII, this is absolutely not light reading and not for the faint of heart. While the extermination of millions of Jews is the main topic of discussion when covering the Holocaust (as well it should be), it is equally as important to call out and memorialize the others who were marginalized, targeted, and killed for openly being themselves. The stories are real, horrific, and depressing. However, occasionally there is also an element of heartbreaking beauty as the determination to survive shines through some of the narratives. The human spirit is beautiful. This book was recommended to me while I was in a university class on the Holocaust. As a queer person, I thought I was prepared for what I was going to read because I already had a basic understanding of what happened to homosexuals during the Holocaust. But to read true stories, to connect with these abused and hated people... well, it reminded me of how far we still have yet to come in terms of queer acceptance in this world. Even now, people are still being murdered because they are living their truths openly as trans women. Gay youths kill themselves due to bullying at school. We are still "other" and often a target of fear and anger. So when I read this, it just reminded me that not a ton has actually changed; our direct abuse is just not systematically sanctioned right now. After I read this book, I felt devastated. I felt helpless. But... I am so glad it exists. Collections like these expose just one of the many strains of abhorrent treatment of marginalized people in history, and absolutely needs to be canonized in classes so young people learn about the horrible things people have done to one another because of differences and fear, which leads to anger and violence. As human beings, our empathy seems to be waning, and I'm indignant that reading these kinds of books is necessary to build empathy. Doing so might just keep us from repeating the same, awful atrocities.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Cassie

    Sometimes there are books that as you read them that you can't stop yourself from crying because they are a truth that one can't fathom within themselves. This was one of those books. A gay survivor of a concentration camp tells his story to Heinz Heger, but only under the pretenses that he remains anonymous. Through this story we discover the life of a pink triangle (gay male) in the concentration camp. We are drawn into this story in a profound way because we see the survival techniques that t Sometimes there are books that as you read them that you can't stop yourself from crying because they are a truth that one can't fathom within themselves. This was one of those books. A gay survivor of a concentration camp tells his story to Heinz Heger, but only under the pretenses that he remains anonymous. Through this story we discover the life of a pink triangle (gay male) in the concentration camp. We are drawn into this story in a profound way because we see the survival techniques that the man had to use to survive throughout his years in the camps. He had to resort to things that he never thought he would have to do in his life, but he did them because life was that important to him (which it is for almost everyone). While there is one graphic scene (involving a camp guard getting pleasure from the whipping of prisoners) the majority of the book opens up the doors of the workings of the concentration camps. You learn the chain of command and the inner workings in a way that many other books about the Holocaust simply do not do. It also shows you the world that these men with the pink triangle found themselves in and how they were treated worse than many of the other people because of their homosexuality. This book has so much that one can take from it that it is a bit overwhelming, but when you close the book you will be better off for doing so. It can help you understand why hatred for this particular group still exists even in our modern society, but why we need to learn not to be so hateful.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Suvi

    Thank you goes to Josef Kohout for sharing us his experiences. This kind of perspective is completely new for most, but it really shouldn't be. Whenever fear surfaces as differentiating people by some quality they have, alarm bells should be ringing in the heads of each of us. A family member once asked (someone who seems to be doing that differentiating thing quite a lot) why I always keep reading about horrific stuff like this. Well, you don't have to surround yourself with this kind of materi Thank you goes to Josef Kohout for sharing us his experiences. This kind of perspective is completely new for most, but it really shouldn't be. Whenever fear surfaces as differentiating people by some quality they have, alarm bells should be ringing in the heads of each of us. A family member once asked (someone who seems to be doing that differentiating thing quite a lot) why I always keep reading about horrific stuff like this. Well, you don't have to surround yourself with this kind of material, but you can't grow up in a barrel full of cotton either. That's just plain ignorance. Besides, when you know what happens when fear takes control, you know that there's actually just the one side you can choose if you have enough sense of justice and respect towards another human being. An example: either you think homosexuals deserve equal rights, or you don't. If you think they don't, you can just take your head from your ass for a moment, and reflect with this book in hand. By the way, double standard's a bitch. Homosexual behavior between two 'normal' men is considered an emergency outlet, while the same thing between two gay men, who both feel deeply for one another, is something 'filthy' and repulsive.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Niklas Pivic

    This is a recent translation of a book which is a statement of a homosexual man who was sent to the concentration camps during the Second World War, as told to another person. It is very well written, contains much information on the day-to-day life of "the men wearing pink triangles" - the pink triangle symbolising that the wearer is homosexual - in a concentration camp. Being homosexual, they were considered as bad as Jews and Romani people, and even worse than the pedofiles and convicted crimin This is a recent translation of a book which is a statement of a homosexual man who was sent to the concentration camps during the Second World War, as told to another person. It is very well written, contains much information on the day-to-day life of "the men wearing pink triangles" - the pink triangle symbolising that the wearer is homosexual - in a concentration camp. Being homosexual, they were considered as bad as Jews and Romani people, and even worse than the pedofiles and convicted criminals (not that being convicted during the nazi regime actually meant something). All in all: naturally very upsetting, but not written as a scare tactic, but very upfront. The afterword is especially interesting, while Jonas Gardell's self-serving foreword is quite bad.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Gary Smith

    This was a good book, terribly sad and depressing yet a good book. Man kind and their ability to harm others still baffles me. Many tactics I was unaware of are discussed in this book and I feel it would be beneficial for more people to know about the homosexuals who were murdered during the holocaust (in fact they were above Jews, Jehovah's witnesses, gypsies and political prisoners in the Nazi scheme). On the basis of human nature I truly love the quote in this book by a beaten homosexual prie This was a good book, terribly sad and depressing yet a good book. Man kind and their ability to harm others still baffles me. Many tactics I was unaware of are discussed in this book and I feel it would be beneficial for more people to know about the homosexuals who were murdered during the holocaust (in fact they were above Jews, Jehovah's witnesses, gypsies and political prisoners in the Nazi scheme). On the basis of human nature I truly love the quote in this book by a beaten homosexual priest: " and yet man is good, he is a creature of god" and another prisoner's response: "not all men; there are also beasts in human form, whom the devil must have made".

  20. 5 out of 5

    Beau

    This was perhaps the most difficult read of my life, not because it wasn't interesting, but because it was so difficult to imagine the horror of it all. As a gay man, I can only think that it could have been me, a different region, a different time, and it could have been me. Heinz Heger tells the story in such a way that the reader gets tiny glimmers of light when the darkness is almost too much. There is very little in this book that is good or positive, but his determined spirit carries you th This was perhaps the most difficult read of my life, not because it wasn't interesting, but because it was so difficult to imagine the horror of it all. As a gay man, I can only think that it could have been me, a different region, a different time, and it could have been me. Heinz Heger tells the story in such a way that the reader gets tiny glimmers of light when the darkness is almost too much. There is very little in this book that is good or positive, but his determined spirit carries you through. Highly recommended.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jay Kovach

    I love this book. I like personal accounts of major events both tragic and triumphant. I would have liked to have had it been longer considering how few of these particular accounts exist involving the Holocaust. A must read regardless of the writing quality. Good or bad. As I don't think many know about what homosexuals went through during this or the true origin of the pink triangle. It is an easy read and a quick book to make your way through. Very to the point.

  22. 4 out of 5

    wrench

    This is an essential, and well-written primary source for writing on the persecution of homosexuals in Nazi Germany. I'm currently researching this topic for an upcoming assignment, so if anyone has any recommendations, please let me know!

  23. 4 out of 5

    To Read Or Not To Read

    WOW

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jalyn

    This is an absoutely horrifying book. It goes into detail about all the atrocities committed by the Nazis. In learning about concentration camps, you hear about what was done to Jewish people, but gloss over the fact that criminals, Romani people, political prisoners, Jehovah's Witnesses, and homosexuals were there, too. Homosexuals were especially singled out for hatred, harassment, and torture, although the German ones were treated slightly better than Jewish people by virtue of being German, This is an absoutely horrifying book. It goes into detail about all the atrocities committed by the Nazis. In learning about concentration camps, you hear about what was done to Jewish people, but gloss over the fact that criminals, Romani people, political prisoners, Jehovah's Witnesses, and homosexuals were there, too. Homosexuals were especially singled out for hatred, harassment, and torture, although the German ones were treated slightly better than Jewish people by virtue of being German, even if they were "filthy degenerates." All the homosexuals in the camps were gay men, but the book actually explains why - lesbians were considered still useful because they could be bred regardless of how they felt about it. That's its own kind of horrifying. This book also goes into a lot of detail about how concentration camps were run, which is something I don't remember hearing from other accounts - their power structures, the delegation of work and the kind of work they did, and the pecking order between the different "triangles" (inmates were color-coded by offense - yellow for Jews, pink for homosexuals, green for criminals, red for political prisoners, etc.). One thing that the narrator focused on was how prisoners with more power would take "lovers" - other men that they would have sex with in exchange for favors like easier work and more food - despite being straight, and they still viewed men who loved other men as degenerates. Several times, the narrator presents situations like that and then points out how sex with other men was fine if it was to satisfy your urges, but degenerate if you genuinely loved the other man. This book is simultaneously fascinating and horrifying. I learned a lot, but about the depths of Nazi cruelty and the realities of suffering in the death camps. But it's really a story that needs to be told. Homosexuals were denied reparations after being freed because homosexuality was a crime and criminals were not considered innocents who deserved reparations. This is part of history I never learned about in history class, and it's important to know - even if reading about it is heartwrenching.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kaia Landelius

    The topic is so important, but the way this book was written was, while a very quick read, more like a written report. At the very end that is explained: this is the story as told by Josef Kohout to his acquaintance Hans Neumann, who published it under the pen name Heinz Hegel. Kohout never actually read the finished version, and when he was told there were some factual errors (his age, among other things) he just waved it away. But yes: Kohout survived his time in the camp by becoming the (extre The topic is so important, but the way this book was written was, while a very quick read, more like a written report. At the very end that is explained: this is the story as told by Josef Kohout to his acquaintance Hans Neumann, who published it under the pen name Heinz Hegel. Kohout never actually read the finished version, and when he was told there were some factual errors (his age, among other things) he just waved it away. But yes: Kohout survived his time in the camp by becoming the (extremely secret) lover of several men with a slightly higher status. He was given somewhat better treatment that way, being moved from gruelling work outdoors to an administrative position, a little bit more food, and at times, being saved from severe punishment. It's heartbreaking, the things he does to survive, and it's a really important story to be told, especially in the current political climate. After the war it turned out that he (or any other homosexual man) would not be given any compensation for their time in the camp. Why? Because homosexuality was a crime in Austria until 1971, and as criminals sent to concentration camps had no right to compensation, this included homosexuals. He and many others were given the advice to 'upgrade' their triangle from pink to red (political prisoner) so they would qualify. Some did do this, but Kohout refused. He died in 1994, never having received compensation. I feel like there's no way to properly wrap up this review. But yes. Read this.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Carlos

    I came across this book in a library book sale and I couldn’t not pick it up. While I had read books like Primo Levi’s “The Periodic Table” that recounted his time in Auschwitz, I had not read a book that centered on the brutality of concentration camp life. Heger shares the story of a 22-year old Austrian man who was sent to a concentration camp for being gay. The unnamed Austrian spent 6 years in two different concentration camps, Sachsenhausen and Flossenbürg, and narrates with heart-wrenchin I came across this book in a library book sale and I couldn’t not pick it up. While I had read books like Primo Levi’s “The Periodic Table” that recounted his time in Auschwitz, I had not read a book that centered on the brutality of concentration camp life. Heger shares the story of a 22-year old Austrian man who was sent to a concentration camp for being gay. The unnamed Austrian spent 6 years in two different concentration camps, Sachsenhausen and Flossenbürg, and narrates with heart-wrenching honesty the brutality of the treatment received by the prisoners. He calls out the hypocrisy of a regime that imprisoned him for being gay while looking the other way on the homosexual acts committed by guards and political prisoners as well as the underworld of sexual favors he had to navigate to stay alive despite the best efforts of the SS. The horrors he recounts, going far beyond following orders and escalating to sickening torture sessions for the “amusement” of the guards, make this book, and others of its kind, a mandatory reading requirement to never forget the utter inhumanity of Hitler’s regime.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Hrafnhildur

    A profound and chilling tale of the treatment of homosexual men in the concentration camps of Nazi Germany. Although the narrative is not eloquently written, it is forgiven because of its subject and its purpose. For me, the Holocaust has always been the systematic slaughter of Jews in WWII and no other groups; I had not - perhaps in my naivete - given thought to the fact that any other groups had been similarly persecuted. A unique piece of history that is as relevant today as on the day of its A profound and chilling tale of the treatment of homosexual men in the concentration camps of Nazi Germany. Although the narrative is not eloquently written, it is forgiven because of its subject and its purpose. For me, the Holocaust has always been the systematic slaughter of Jews in WWII and no other groups; I had not - perhaps in my naivete - given thought to the fact that any other groups had been similarly persecuted. A unique piece of history that is as relevant today as on the day of its publication.

  28. 4 out of 5

    David

    A hugely important but incredibly difficult read, not only because of the appalling experiences related by the subject, but due the knowledge that he had to remain anonymous when it was published in 1970. Homosexuality was still illegal in his native Austria at the tome, and gay men who had survived the camps had continued to persecuted in the postwar period. Perhaps one of the most significant documents in LGBT history.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Megan

    Necessary to know and painful to read. No matter how much historical truth one may know about the horrors of the holocaust prior to the reading, it is still an utterly painful experience to read a first-person account. And yet, it is necessary to give voice and understanding to a minority often forgotten in historic accounts of the Nazi Death Camps.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Zofia

    This is certainly an important book. Important and sad. Not because the persecution of homosexual people in Nazi Germany was worse than that of the Jews' - both were horrifying and inhumanly cruel - but because the suffering of gay people has been buried in history. This book gives voice to those who had been silenced for so long.

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