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Posted By Subaltern Queer

Gay Aryan National Socialist
Nazis, German Homosexuals, and Conversion Therapy

Not that long ago (2018), the right-wing, quasi-Evangelical sychophant Dinesh D'Souza made the claim in a film that the Nazis were pro-gay. There is an actual fact that one might invoke in any such discussion--namely, that Ernst Röhm, Hitler's second in command for a time, was gay--and very openly so. That is completely and utterly true. However, during the Night of the Long Knives (1934), Hitler ordered him to be killed. So much for being pro-gay.

The reality is that Heinrich Himmler--the man who brought to us millions of orchestrated deaths--had long been against Röhm personally and against gays in general. Any possible pretext to arrest homosexuals was permitted--a longing glance could land you in a concentration camp. Or simply a rumour from a neighbour would suffice. The traditional German 'treatment' for homosexuals was being drowned in bogs. Himmler wanted something a bit more elaborate.

In a speech of 1937, Himmler listed homosexuality, along with suicide, the flight from the country to the cities, and the deline of the birthrate, as the four chief ills facing German society. What's important to understand here is that homosexuality was a threat to Aryan purity that came from within. In that sense, it was much more worrying than being Jewish--which was genetically defined and could not be altered. In contrast, a German solider could always be tempted by gay sex (and, in reality, many were out there on the cold Russian front). So there could be no security against this internal threat. As we noted before, homosexuals do not come pre-packed with labels on their foreheads. So any German man might be a homosexual 'threat' to Aryanism.

That fear of internal impurity explains why homosexuals were among the first to be rounded up. Like Jews, homosexual Germans were seen as 'polution' that was 'unnatural'. Unlike Jews, however, they contributed to the overall loss of German semen and so would not be able to carry on the Master Race.

Consider this statement by Himmler concerning German homosexuals: "We must exterminate these people root and branch. Just think how many children will not be born because of this, and how a people can be broken in nerve and spirit when such a plague gets hold of it. When someone in the Security Services, in the SS, or in the government has homosexual tendencies, he abandons the natural order of things for the perverted world of the homosexual. We can't permit such danger to the country; the homosexual must be entirely eliminated." 

Whereas Jews (like many unwanted immigrants) might be told "go back where you came from," there was no natural habitat for homosexuals. So a habitat needed to be created.

The first Nazi strategy was containment. Chemically, a ‘concentration’ is defined by the ratio of one element to the space as a whole; a ‘solution’ is a mixture of ingredients. What the Nazis called ‘the final solution’ was the removal of polluting elements. Concentration camps had a function remarkably analogous to landfills—removal and burying of pollution. Of course, many gay men did not need any physical containment. They internalized the hatred of society directed toward them and took care of their own problem by way of suicide.

The second strategy was conversion therapy. For the Nazis, this was attempted in two ways. The first was strenuous labor designed to make homosexuals into 'real' men. One of the reasons that Röhm had been tolerated was that, despite being gay, he advocated a hyper masculinity. His military idols included Napoleon, Prince Eugene of Saxony, and King Karl II of Sweden. Turns out all three were either gay or bi. 

So the Nazis put homosexuals in the camps with the hope of making them 'normal'. They were given the most brutal tasks. At Sachsenhausen, they were told: "You are a biological mistake of the Creator. That's why you must be bent straight." Gays were forced to make cement and were required to run to their workstations in the morning in groups of five with gunfire to spur them on. The ones who made it to the workstations were covered in blood from the ones who didn't. It may come as a great surprise, but such attempts at conversion were completely unsuccessful as conversion techniques. They were, however, extremely effective in eliminating many homosexuals.

The other way of achieving 'conversion' was bringing in prostitutes. Himmler decided that homosexuals might be able to 'change' if they were forced to have sex with women. In Flossenbürg, gays were required to have weekly 'visits' at a brothel set up with Jewish and Roma women. Those visits were monitored by SS men peeping through holes in the wall. Depending on exactly how things went, some homosexuals were declared ‘cured’.

Then, in 1943, Himmler provided a different sort of 'cure' or 'therapy'. Any homosexuals who were willing to be castrated were promised that they would be subsequently released from the camp. We don't know exactly how many thousands of homosexuals were castrated both in the camps and outside of them, but we do know that many 'respectable' doctors took part in this collective deed. Moreover, we also know that many men who were actually not homosexuals were castrated simply on the 'suspicion' of being gay. As hard as it is to believe, the psychotherapists at the Göring Institute insisted that castration was indeed a cure for homosexuality. 

The final strategy was asexuality (what is often termed ‘celibacy’). The Nazis used Article 175 to prohibit any same-sex acts—touch of any kind could be seen as ‘unnatural’. One could be a homosexual in what we would today term ‘orientation’, but one could not act upon it in any way whatsoever. However, this prohibition brought with it a different kind of unnatural distortion. While one might favour celebacy as a choice made for religious reasons, the prohibition of gay sex--enforced celebacy, decided by the government--in effect simply exchanged one ‘unnatural’ thing (homosexuality) for another (asexuality).
 
Having laid out the Nazi strategy for dealing with homosexuals, I will turn in my next post to the way in which the contemporary Christian world--particularly the world of American Evangelicals--deals with gays. Most cases of using the epithet 'Nazi' to describe something turn out to be quite spurious. In this case, the similarities between the Nazis and American Evangelicals are eerily similar.
 
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