Prime Minister honours gay victims in Holocaust Memorial Day statement
Prime Minister Gordon Brown has released a statement ahead of Holocaust Memorial Day tomorrow, the international day of remembrance for the victims of the Holocaust and other genocides.
HMD is marked each year on 27 January – the anniversary of the date of the liberation of Nazi death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau.
“The theme of this Holocaust Memorial Day is Standing up to Hatred,” Mr Brown said.
“We all like to think that we know what we would do in the face of hatred – that in a moment of decision we would honour our obligations to resist brutality and to stand with its victims.
“In studying the Holocaust, however, one thing becomes painfully clear: that the full barbarity of Hitler’s death camps was the end point of many acts of cruelty and discrimination, each injustice feeding on the last.
“The murder of six million Jews and countless Roma, Poles and other Eastern Europeans, gay men and lesbians, trade unionists, disabled people and political and religious opponents of the Nazis was not a sudden and frenzied explosion of hate, but a horror that had been methodically and carefully planned.
“Hatred may begin with small acts of prejudice or bigotry – but it rarely ends with them. That is why we all have an obligation to stand up to hatred.
“This Holocaust Memorial Day I hope that people all across Britain will join me in renewing a personal commitment to resisting hatred wherever it is found today.”
The US Holocaust Memorial Museum has a section on its website about gays and the Holocaust.
“The Nazis believed that male homosexuals were weak, effeminate men who could not fight for the German nation,” it states.
“They saw homosexuals as unlikely to produce children and increase the German birthrate.
“The Nazis held that inferior races produced more children than “Aryans,” so anything that diminished Germany’s reproductive potential was considered a racial danger.
“SS chief Heinrich Himmler directed the increasing persecution of homosexuals in the Third Reich. Lesbians were not regarded as a threat to Nazi racial policies and were generally not targeted for persecution.
“Similarly, the Nazis generally did not target non-German homosexuals unless they were active with German partners.
“In most cases, the Nazis were prepared to accept former homosexuals into the “racial community” provided that they became “racially conscious” and gave up their lifestyle.
“Between 1933 and 1945 the police arrested an estimated 100,000 men as homosexuals.
“Most of the 50,000 men sentenced by the courts spent time in regular prisons, and between 5,000 and 15,000 were interned in concentration camps. Judges and SS camp officials could order castration without the consent of a homosexual prisoner.
“Nazis interested in finding a “cure” for homosexuality expanded this programme to include medical experimentation on homosexual inmates of concentration camps. These experiments caused illness, mutilation, and even death, and yielded no scientific knowledge.
“There are no known statistics for the number of homosexuals who died in the camps.”
The Lesbian and Gay Foundation, Keshet Manchester and Aqueous Humour will commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day tomorrow in Manchester.
For the last six months the North West’s LGBT community have been telling the LGF their experiences of homophobia via the ‘Enough is Enough’ campaign.
Some of these experiences form the basis of the events, along with experiences which affected the gay community during the Holocaust.
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There will be three chances to see the “Stand Up To Hatred” – Enough is Enough presentation, and the event is free.
Lammars (Northern Quarter), 57 Hilton Street, Manchester, M1 2EJ
5.30pm – 6.30pm
Taurus Bar – Sabai Lounge (Gay Village), 1 Canal Street, Manchester, M1 3HE
6.30pm – 7.30pm
The Lesbian and Gay Foundation, 3rd Floor, Princess House, Manchester, M1 6DD
8pm – 10pm
The presentation will last for 20 minutes, followed by a discussion with members of the LGB&T community and Keshet Manchester.
Anyone interested in attending one of the performances email: [email protected]
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