Nazi Persecution of Homosexuals: 1933‐1945

The Florida Holocaust Museum is pleased to present the traveling exhibition Nazi Persecution of Homosexuals 1933-1945, on loan from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Presented locally by Wells Fargo, this exhibition examines the Nazi regime’s attempt to eradicate homosexuality, which left thousands dead and shattered the lives of many more.


Between 1933 and 1945, the Nazi German regime promoted racial health policies that sought to eliminate all sources of biological corruption to its dominant “Aryan” race. Among the groups persecuted as threats to the national health were Germany’s homosexual men. Believing them to be carriers of a “degeneracy” that weakened society and hindered population growth, the Nazi state arrested and incarcerated in prisons and concentration camps tens of thousands of German men as a means of terrorizing them into social conformity.



Nazi Persecution of Homosexuals 1933-1945 was produced by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s exhibitions program is supported in part by the Lester Robbins and Sheila Johnson Robbins Traveling and Special Exhibitions Fund established in 1990.


Photo credits:
Image 1: “Solidarity.” Richard Grune lithograph from a limited edition series “Passion des XX Jahrhunderts” (Passion of the 20th Century). Grune was prosecuted under Paragraph 175 and from 1937 until liberation in 1945 was incarcerated in concentration camps. In 1947 he produced a series of etchings detailing what he witnessed in the camps. Grune died in 1983. -US Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy Schwules Museum, Berlin
Image 2: Cover of the September 1931 issue of The Island, a magazine for homosexuals, edited by Martin Radzuweit. Although illegal, homosexuality was generally tolerated in pre-Nazi Germany, particularly in urban areas. Some 30 literary, cultural, and political journals for homosexual readers appeared during the Weimar era. -US Holocaust Memorial Museum
Image 3: Prisoners at forced labor in the Mauthausen concentration camp. Beginning in 1943, homosexuals were among those in concentration camps who were killed in an SS-sponsored “extermination through work” program. -Nederlands Instituut voor Oorlogsdocumentatie, courtesy US Holocaust Memorial Museum
Image 4: A 1907 political cartoon depicting sex-researcher Magnus Hirschfeld, ‘Hero of the Day,’ drumming up support for the abolition of Paragraph 175 of the German penal code that criminalized homosexuality. The banner reads, ‘Away with Paragraph 175!’ The caption reads, ‘The foremost champion of the third sex!’ -US Holocaust Memorial Museum Photo Archives
Image 5: German police file photo of a man arrested in October 1937 for suspicion of violating Paragraph 175.  -US Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Landesarchiv, Berlin