Sunday, July 03, 2011

'Nazis Understood That Before You Could Legalize Hate, You Must Criminalize Love'

July 2, 2011

[Canada] When the remnant of European Jewry rose from the ashes of the Holocaust, its members confronted a world that either could not or would not comprehend the blind hatred that can spill out of the human heart. It took years for the documents of the European genocide to be read by legalists and historians, and still more time for the wider public to absorb the enormity of the state-sanctioned murder of 6 million Jews and some 5 million non-Jews, whose victims included political dissidents, Poles, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Roma and homosexuals.

In 1935, the Nazi party passed the Nuremberg Laws to severely curtail the rights and freedoms of Jews. Less well known is that in the same year the Nazis broadened the scope of one section of the law by redefining the “crime” of homosexual acts between males as a felony and increasing the maximum penalty from six months to five years imprisonment.

The parallels between Jews and gays are remarkable. Just as the Nazis made acts of love and intimacy between men illegal, so too did they seek to isolate Jews in this most fundamental area of human existence. The first two sections of the Nuremberg Laws of 1935 made marriage between Jews and non-Jews illegal, adding extramarital relations as well. Perhaps in some way the Nazis understood that before you could legalize hate, it is necessary to criminalize love. Between 1933 and 1945, as many as 100,000 men were arrested for the “crime” of homosexuality. It’s estimated that up to 15,000 were imprisoned in concentration camps, where as many as 60 per cent were murdered. Jews and gays wore the same striped uniforms, ate the same food, were worked to death together, subjected to medical experiments and marked with triangles (for what is a Star of David but two triangles?)

Read more at The Toronto Star