The American Family Association’s hater-in-chief, Bryan Fischer, is at it again. He is claiming “homosexuals helped to form and shape and mold the Nazi party.”
The appearance of Jonah Goldberg of the right wing American Enterprise Institute and National Review, on Fox News, repeating the message, got Fischer all riled up about the reception he got for peddling this excrement back in 2009.
Calling these deranged and obscene lies a “factoid,” Fischer claimed,
“I said that back in 2009, got absolutely hammered, got absolutely blistered, and I think what happened is people like Jonah Goldberg saw what happened to somebody who was willing to step out and tell the truth about the origins of the Nazi party, that it was rooted in the homosexual movement, homosexual community; it was formed in a gay bar in Munich, most of the officers of the SA, the Stormtroopers, were homosexuals, you had no chance of advancing in the Stormtroopers unless you were a practicing homosexual.”
You can watch Fischer’s spiel here courtesy of Right Wing Watch:
Actually, the Nazi Party was not formed in a gay bar in Munich. Central to Nazi mythos was Munchi’s Bürgerbräukeller, which was actually owned by Löwenbräu as of 1921. Beer was brewed and sold there and various public functions were held in the 3,000 capacity grand hall, the fledgling Nazi Party among them. Beginning in 1920, it became a central gathering place for Hitler and his followers. But it was not a gay bar.
Nor did a bunch of gay men get together and form the Nazi Party somewhere else. Gay men were victims, not perpetrators, of the right wing Nazi terror and holocaust.
In fact, as historian of the Third Reich Richard J. Evans relates, gay rights advocates like Magnus Hirschfeld (who claimed ‘homosexuals’ were a ‘third sex’) “was repeatedly vilified by the Nationalists and the Nazis.” Hirschfeld wanted Paragraph 175 of the Reich Criminal Code, which outlawed “indecent activity” between adult males, to be eliminated, while the Nazis wanted it strengthened.
From that alone, it doesn’t sound as though homosexuals were at the core of the Nazi Party. It got worse for Hirschfeld and his cause, of course, when the Nazis came to power in 1933. As the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum explains,
Soon after taking office on January 30, 1933, Hitler banned all homosexual and lesbian organizations. Brownshirted storm troopers raided the institutions and gathering places of homosexuals.
Evans describes what happened next:
On the morning of 6 May 1933, a group of vans pulled up outside Dr. Magnus Hirsceld’s Institute for Sexual Science in the smart Tiergarten district of Berlin. Out of them leap students from the Bernlin School for Physical Education, members of the National Socialists German Students’ League. They drew up in military formation, then, while some of them took out their trumpets and tubas and started to play patriotic music, the others marched into the building.
There, they set about attacking Hirschfeld’s library of 12,000 to 20,000 books on sex-related topics “and an even larger collection of photographs on sexual subjects” and “poor red ink over books and manuscripts. played football with framed photographs…”
Four days later, more vans arrived, this time with stormtroopers carrying baskets, into which they iled as many books and manuscripts as they could and took them out onto the Operate Square. Here they stacked them up in a gigantic heap and set light to them. About 10,000 books are said to have been consumed in the conflagration.
For Fischer to be right, we have to imagine truckloads of gay stormtroopers destroying a gay doctor’s life’s work and then threatening to kill him. It’s much more likely they were raging homophobes like Fischer himself, who, when he talks about “homosexuality,” sounds a lot like a Nazi himself.
The students were back, too, apparently, because they threw a bust of Hirschfeld onto the fire with his books.
And Hirschfeld himself? Evans tells us, “Told the 65-year-old Hirschfeld was abraod recovering from an illness, the stormtroopers said, “Then hopefully he’ll snuff it without us; then we won’t need to string him up or beat him to death.”
Hirschfeld was smart enough to stay overseas, remaining in France until his death in 1935. Anyone who disagreed with the Nazis on sex and procreation was killed or driven into exile. The Nazis had their way with Paragraph 175 and duly strengthened its prohibitions in 1935. Whereas before it had been directed against anal sex, now it included “lewdness” so that even fondling and kissing could be counted as illegal.
175. A male who commits lewd and lascivious acts with another male or permits himself to be so abused for lewd and lascivious acts, shall be punished by imprisonment. In a case of a participant under 21 years of age at the time of the commission of the act, the court may, in especially slight cases, refrain from punishment.
That wasn’t the end of the Nazi obsession with the idea that homosexuals were a threat to the German people. Ben S. Austin writes at the Jewish Virtual Library that, “In 1936, Himmler created the Reich Central Office for the Combating of Homosexuality and Abortion.”
Sounds like a Trump cabinet-level position, doesn’t it?
In 1937, Heinrich Himmler, head of Hitler’s elite SS, told his group commanders,
…In the SS, today, we still have about one case of homosexuality a month. In a whole year, about eight to ten cases occur in the entire SS. I have now decided upon the following: in each case, these people will naturally be publicly degraded, expelled, and handed over to the courts. Following completion of the punishment imposed by the court, they will be sent, by my order, to a concentration camp, and they will be shot in the concentration camp, while attempting to escape. I will make that known by order to the unit to which the person so infected belonged.
The Nazis, far from promoting homosexuality, threw gay men into concentration camps. After the war, about 40 percent of these men remained alive. To add insult to injury, some of these men, victims of the holocaust, upon liberation by allied forces, were thrown into prison because they had not served their terms. Paragraph 175 remained the law of the land until 1994. From 10,000 to 15,000 gays died in Nazi concentration camps.
Richard J. Evans. The Coming of the Third Reich. Penguin Books (2003).
For English translation of Paragraph 175 see Warren Johannson and William Perry, “Homosexuals in Nazi Germany,” Simon Wiesenthal Center Annual, Vol. 7 (1990).
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.