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Watch: Rudolf Brazda, Last Known 'Pink Triangle' Survivor of Buchenwald Concentration Camps, Gives Interview

Pinktriangle

Rudolf Brazda, the last known survivor of the Pink Triangles, tells the sobering story of his experience for French website Yagg:

"The son of Tcheckoslovaquian immigrants in Germany, Rudolf Brazda was 20 when Hitler rose to power. He had lived his homosexuality freely and openly until the law penalizing homosexuality, the notorious “Paragraph 175″, was toughened by the Nazi regime. On August 8, 1942, after having gone to prison twice, he was sent to the concentration camp of Buchenwald, where he was given the number 7952, and a pink triangle. Even though Buchenwald wasn’t an extermination camp, an estimated 56.000 prisoners (out of the 238.000 who were incarcerated) died in the camp, either because they were executed or from exhaustion or illness."

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Comments

  1. Paragraph 175? Isn't that one of the planks the Republicans are running on? I wonder if it was difficult for them to translate from the German?

    Posted by: Achtung!! Auf Deutsch Bitte | Oct 15, 2010 1:21:23 PM


  2. achtung

    Montana repubs for sure are

    Montana repub party platform criminalizes homosexuality as an illegal act

    Posted by: mstrozfckslv@yahoo.com | Oct 15, 2010 1:39:16 PM


  3. What a sweet man. I’m so grateful he found happiness after experiencing such horrors at the hands of the Nazis.

    Posted by: ichabod | Oct 15, 2010 1:42:28 PM


  4. Holocaust was an act against mankind. I truly hope no gay will never go through what gays like mr Brazda, a true hero, went. But sadly, the mankind is turning (once again) because economical problems to political far right and ultranationalism, I am not sure.

    Posted by: Matt26 | Oct 15, 2010 1:45:36 PM


  5. The Republicans are using the entire Nazi play book starting with the burning of the Reichstag (world trade center). Its classic fear mongering to gain more and more power so they can get richer and richer.

    Posted by: Andrew | Oct 15, 2010 1:58:22 PM


  6. Dear Towleroad Editor:
    I love the blog, but I must ask - on what planet do people spell the name of the predecessor country of the Czech Republic and Slovakia as "Tcheckoslovaquia"?

    Posted by: Hunter | Oct 15, 2010 2:15:09 PM


  7. There are few human beings left on the planet whose stories are more important and more poignant today than his. Sadly his biography is only available in French.

    We rightly shutter at violence to gays and lesbians today, but it's a drop in the bucket compared to what this man lived through. Still, he lived openly and found happiness when he could.

    Everybody should forward this story on to friends and be thankful we live when we do today.

    Posted by: Gregoire | Oct 15, 2010 2:15:16 PM


  8. Dear Hunter: It's a quote from the French site Yagg. Perhaps you should direct your question there.

    Posted by: Andy Towle | Oct 15, 2010 2:32:11 PM


  9. Hunter, that is the French spelling of Czechoslovakia. The interview was done by a French crew.

    Rudolf, you are BEAUTIFUL and AMAZING!

    Thank you so much for sharing your story of tragedy and triumph with us. You are a part of our history that should never be forgotten.

    Unfortunately most pink triangles weren't as lucky as you were. Most died in captivity or were transferred from the concentration camps to civilian prisons upon the Ally liberation.

    Posted by: TampaZeke | Oct 15, 2010 2:41:37 PM


  10. If you haven’t already made the connection, this is precisely why Don't Ask, Don't Tell and the Defense of Marriage Act are important to repeal. Laws that take away the lives and civil rights of Gay and Lesbian people are not new, and continue today. Mr. Brazda has survived all these years for a reason – lest we forget.

    Posted by: Michael | Oct 15, 2010 3:02:54 PM


  11. awww!! what a sweet lil old man, im so glad for him that he had a good life! People only need to look at gays like him to see that we are just like straight people, we want to find love and spend the rest of our life with that person and grow old together....warms my heart.

    Posted by: shae | Oct 15, 2010 3:30:21 PM


  12. I highly recommend to anyone interested that they read the book "The Men With The Pink Triangle". It is a quick little read but ever so worth it. Sometimes I will take it off the shelf and read it again just to put my life back in perspective.

    http://www.amazon.com/Men-Pink-Triangle-Life---Death/dp/1555830064/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1287171108&sr=8-1

    Posted by: David H | Oct 15, 2010 3:32:44 PM


  13. Notice the bit about his living openly before Hitler and the Nazis rose up.

    We think we're so free. So did he.

    Posted by: BobN | Oct 15, 2010 3:35:49 PM


  14. Watch out GOProud and Log Cabin guys, this is what the Republicans will try to do to us here in the US.

    Posted by: DH | Oct 15, 2010 3:45:51 PM


  15. Does anyone know of an Oral History Project for gay people? It would be fascinating.

    I love the closing shot of the guys on a bike together & the notation that they were a couple until Edouard's passing in 2003.

    A very touching story.

    Posted by: pete | Oct 15, 2010 4:36:36 PM


  16. This man is the last gay holocaust survivor. All the others are dead.

    After the War all of them were again imprisoned or punished again in some way. This was the only group of holocaust survivors this happened to.

    It is a part of history which is in danger of being forgotten. We need to learn from the memory projects of Jewish people to make sure our young people know this history.

    Why? It is relevant to now. Ugandan MP David Bahati wants to 'kill every gay person'. Bahati is not alone in his genocidal impulse.

    Posted by: paul canning | Oct 15, 2010 4:39:04 PM


  17. Two years ago I asked if someone would do an interview with him. I'm glad other gay people realized the importance of getting his story out to the public and found him.

    Posted by: Bill | Oct 15, 2010 4:44:40 PM


  18. Very moving. On a tangent I just watched AMEN this afternoon. Crazy times. Makes me grateful for the things I take for granted.

    Posted by: john | Oct 15, 2010 5:07:00 PM


  19. Germany was the birthplace of the gay movement in the 1880s. The Weimar Republic before the rise of Nazism was in many ways a very tolerant and open society. One of the dangers of forgetting our history, and imagining that being gay was just invented 40 years ago, is that we can become complacent, and can falsely assume that things always only get better, or that history only moves in one direction. And this might cause us to take current threats less seriously than they warrant.

    Posted by: Hank | Oct 15, 2010 6:05:52 PM


  20. GOProud = Kapos

    Posted by: niles | Oct 15, 2010 10:37:57 PM


  21. Even then, you had the phenomenon of short-sighted, selfish gays doing themselves in. Many Germans - gays included - supported the Nazis initially. These people, caught up in the patriotic fervor of Hitler's message, joined the SA in droves. And they were under the mistaken impression that, as members of the "master race," they'd be left alone once he took power. They were victims, in a sense, but they were also instrumental in their own demise. Swept up in militant racism, naivety, and outright stupidity, they elected a man who would send them to die in concentration camps alongside the very people they wanted to discriminate against.

    Posted by: John | Oct 16, 2010 12:01:26 AM


  22. I am french. (Sorry for my english). I saw him in Struthof (The only French Concentration Camp) in September where a tablet "In memory of victims of Nazi barbarism deported on grounds of homosexuality" was unveiled.
    Go to the link of this French association to see pictures.

    http://www.devoiretmemoire.org/

    Posted by: Gouli | Oct 16, 2010 4:03:56 AM


  23. Very touching and moving story- He is such a cutie! I just want to give him a kiss on the top of his little old head.

    But the previous comments are so out of wack (sp?) I sometimes think they are posting ironically or just for shock effect.

    One more time for those who may have forgotten: Hitler and the Nazi party were products of the LEFT, they sprang directly from the socialist, progressive movement.

    Posted by: Jim in St Louis | Oct 16, 2010 4:52:40 AM


  24. Jim, youre a troll. And what a low life, who trolls a holocaust survivor's thread?

    Posted by: eb | Oct 16, 2010 8:15:48 AM


  25. sad ROFLMAO

    Jim uhm no

    Hitler and the nazis along with musolini in italy were fascist, they rose to power after replacing the liberal democratic weimar republic. Liberal democratic, and as u can see from Rudolf's own testimony he was able to live his gay life openly .............then via the world wide great depression coupled with the rise of ultra nationalism and conservative rebellion against liberalism in germany

    Hitler and the nazis staged the burning of the reichstag, blaming it on foreigners and Jews

    While the USA went the liberal New Deal route via FDR to come out of the depression germany through ultra nationalism, fear mongering, religiosity (catholic and lutheran priests blessed the SS daily = there r pics!!! and Hitler spoke many times about His savior and lord leading him to destroy the liberal, the Jew, etc) they
    went the route of fascism which is very conservative and the setting up and running of the state for the benefit of corporations (that is how musolini himself a fascist publicly defined fascism)

    The concentration camp focus on the end reult= death leaves out a huge section/ horror of what was going on. In that at first children and old were killed at one kind of camp while the strong healthy youthful adults like Rudolf were sent to WORK CAMPS that were run producing products for Germany's big Biz interests on the cheap / slave labor. When a worker at these camps became sick and unable to work they either died of their sickness or were killed on the spot or shipped to one of the specifically killing camps. Imagine being separated from ur family and they killed off while u are forced to build engines etc for the profit of ur captors / murderers of ur family or even making the gas nozels used in the gas chambers of the non work camps knowing full well that if u start coughing due to work camp conditions ur going to be killed to.

    The use of the word socialist in the nazi slogan was not referring to liberal democratic socialism, it was referring to the social strength and unity of ultranationalist GERMAN ARYAN ONLY fascism conservative bs.

    One can not be a fascist and a socialist at the same time , they r diametricaly opposed to each other. Hitler and the Nazis were a Fascist regieme

    Posted by: mstrozfckslv@yahoo.com | Oct 16, 2010 11:21:41 AM


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