To all the Members and Friends of the International Association of Lesbian and Gay Children of Holocaust Survivors.
We are still over 150 members world-wide, with a few new members finding our site each month. We now have a member in Russia, so we have members now in 10 countries. I am still paying the annual dues to remain in groups such as the Association of Holocaust Organizations, etc. so that our name has to appear in all of their publications, mailing lists, website lists, etc. I think the mere fact that we exist does help. I also do get a few inquires (mostly from parents of glbt children) asking about our group. But there are some very interesting things going on that I want to pass on.
We are approaching Yom HaShoah again. I am suggesting that we all light a candle for the "other victims" of the Nazi era. At CBST I am proposing the following words be read during the lighting of this candle,
" We have just lit 6 candles to remember the lives of the six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust… May their lives be remembered as a blessing. But the Nazis reign of terror spread to other groups of people in different ways. To truly understand the horror of the Holocaust one needs to understand what happened to the other victims as well. We light this candle to honor and remember those innocent people who were interned in camps, beaten or murdered by the Nazis for the crime of being disabled, gypsies, homosexuals, communists, Jehovah Witnesses, Polish Non-Jewish citizens, political prisoners, and anyone else killed for not fitting into the Nazi view of the world."
At the 60th Anniversary of Kristallnacht my father spoke about being arrested that night from his hometown of Augsburg and how there was no memorial. The Mayor promised that he would build a memorial and they did.
Finally, I am hoping to get the political candidates in NYC to focus on the Holocaust Memorial in Brooklyn to have us inscribe what happened to the homosexual community during the Nazi Era on one of the hundreds of markers that are they. Keep in touch with our progress on the website at www.infotrue.com.
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As you know, I have been fighting the Brooklyn Borough Presidents Office for years to include other victims in the City's public Holocaust Memorial at Sheepshead Bay. Comptroller Hevesi joined in, but nothing is going to happen until next year, when it is election time. One interesting note though…. The city worker who originally designed the memorial found our website and thanked me for continuing the fight. He always had it designed to include homosexuals, Roma, Jehovah Witnesses, etc. but that homophobia changed the design. Please check out the website (www.infortrue.com) from time to time to keep up with what's happening. But I will ask for help to bring it up as a campaign issue next year. The Disability Rights Advocates are also working with us on this project.
If you live in Brooklyn, and want to help out, please email me.
Traveling exhibit memorializes Gay Holocaust victims - Used by politicians to Kiss-up to the Gay community?
A state representative accused of downplaying Nazi persecution of homosexuals says he plans to view the exhibit.
BY DAVID HAWLEY ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS
The man who inspired efforts to bring a traveling exhibit on the Nazi persecution of homosexuals to the Twin Cities was not present when it opened Monday in Minneapolis. But state Rep. Arlon Lindner said he plans to see the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum's "Nazi Persecutions of Homosexuals 1933-1945," which is on display at the Downtown YWCA on Nicollet Mall through Sept. 26.
"I'm looking forward to it," said Lindner, R-Corcoran, who ignited a political firestorm last March with remarks he made during debate on his efforts to repeal state human rights protections for people based on their sexual orientation. Lindner's legislation went nowhere, but critics accused him of questioning whether the Nazis persecuted gays.
"It's just recently that anyone's come out with this idea that homosexuals were persecuted to this extent - there's been a lot of rewriting of history," Lindner was quoted as saying, though he now says his remarks were misunderstood. "I said I didn't believe that homosexuals were persecuted to the same extent that Jewish people were," Lindner said when contacted last week. "I was thinking more number-wise." The local sponsors of the exhibition hope it will educate Lindner and others. "
Aside from Rep. Lindner's statements, a lot of people of good conscience don't know about this history," said Linnea Stenson, program director at the Steven J. Schochet Center for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Studies at the University of Minnesota. Her organization is co-sponsoring the exhibit with three others, including OutFront Minnesota, Jewish Community Action and the Minneapolis YWCA. The organizers also have invited elected officials - including the entire Minnesota Legislature and representatives of city and county governments - to attend a ceremony and reception Thursday. But as of Monday, only a small number of officials had promised to attend, said Ann DeGroot, executive director of OutFront Minnesota.
"To be frank, we're somewhat disappointed," DeGroot said. Small in size, the exhibit consists of 28 panels that display reproductions of hundreds of photographs and documents arranged in a loose chronological order. It describes a purposeful effort by the Nazis that resulted in about 100,000 arrests, 50,000 imprisonments, an untold number of deaths in concentration camps and such things as forced castrations.
The exhibit, which came to the Twin Cities from Los Angeles, also includes poignant personal stories, many sketched in a few sentences. Here, for example, is the story of Friedrich-Paul von Grosheim, a German who was first arrested in 1937 during a mass arrest of 230 suspected homosexuals:
"He was tortured and given the choice between castration or a concentration camp. He submitted to the operation. Friedrich-Paul survived the war, but it took him 50 years to talk about his experiences.
'I'm living proof that Hitler didn't win ... if I don't tell my story, who will know the truth?' "
Lindner said he accepted an invitation to tour the exhibition with Stephen Silberfarb, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas. The two plan to see the exhibition together next Tuesday.
"We look upon this as a learning experience for everybody, and we'll see what happens," said Silberfarb, who added that he is pleased that Lindner is willing to tour the exhibit with him. "I think this is a step in the right direction," Silberfarb said.
"Does this resolve the issues about the legislation he was trying to enact? No. But it's a step."