After taking power in 1933, the Nazis persecuted homosexuals as part of their so-called moral crusade to racially and culturally purify Germany. This persecution ranged from dissolution of homosexual organizations to internment of thousands of individuals in concentration camps. Gay men, in particular, were subject to harassment, arrest, incarceration, and even castration. In Nazi eyes, gay men were weak and unfit to be soldiers, as well as unlikely to have children and thereby contribute to the racial struggle for Aryan dominance.
In 1994, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum acquired the unique collection of Josef Kohout. More widely known as Heinz Heger, Kohout’s experiences are the subject of The Men with the Pink Triangle, the first published account of a gay survivor of the Nazi camps. Dr. Klaus Müller, the Museum’s Representative for Europe, shares his story.