“The Pink Triangle: The Nazi War Against Homosexuals”– haunted by specters

Plant, Richard. “The Pink Triangle: The Nazi War Against Homosexuals”, Owl Books (Henry Holt), 1986.

Haunted by Specters

Amos Lassen

“The Pink Triangle” by Richard Plant was and still is the first comprehensive book in English about what happened to homosexuals in Nazi Germany. Plant is himself a refugee from Nazism and he carefully explores the climate and the culture that allowed such a terrible campaign against the gays of that time. Heinrich Himmler and his storm troopers were responsible for the arrests and deaths of tens of thousands of gays.

When arrested, German and Austrian gays were confined to death camps where they were forced to wear pink triangles (once a symbol of our movement here). They were considered to be the lowest of the low. Plant tells us of the horrors of camp life as it was revealed in diaries and documents that were translated from the German for the first time.

Plant maintains that the war against gays was fueled by fanatic homophobes with ridiculous fantasies. These were the men who made possible the inhumane treatment that homosexuals suffered. The book is a chilling portrait of an era of history that has irrevocably stained mankind’s existence. Plant sheds light on a piece of contemporary history that has for too long been hidden from public view. It is an invaluable contribution and it shows how much we are still haunted by that dark period of history.

This is a powerful and painful book and once you start reading you will not want to put it down—but you will, to wipe the tears from your eyes. It s written convincingly and steers clear of sentiment as it unleashes the horrors of Nazi Germany. Gut-wrenching and heartbreaking, t is a book that had to be written and the personal insights and scholarship speak for themselves.

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