When we think of the Holocaust (or Shoah) the first thing that jumps to mind is that of the NAZI persecution of the Jewish population. It is true that the NAZI's exterminated millions of Jews in the most horrific example of ethnic cleansing of the 20th Century.
However, the Jewish people were not the only targets of the NAZI's. In addition, Jehovah Witnesses, Romanians, the physically and mentally disabled, communists and other political and religious dissidents, as well as gay and transgender men.
Around 10,000-15,000 men were convicted and imprisoned under Paragraph 175, which stated:
An unnatural sex act committed between persons of male sex or by humans with animals is punishable by imprisonment; the loss of civil rights may also be imposed.
While imprisoned, these men were marked with Pink Triangles, much like the Jews were marked with the Star of David. The pink triangle would later be adopted as a badge of honor by LGBTQ activists who wanted to reclaim the symbol.
The pink triangle prisoners were treated more brutally by the concentration camp guards, due to the stigmatization surrounding homosexuality the death rate has been estimated to be around 60%.
However, the worst part was the aftermath. At the end of World War II, the concentration camps were liberated by allied troops and the rest of the world came to know of what had occurred. However, the liberation for the gay men who had been convicted under Paragraph 175 did not occur. Still viewed as convicted criminals, many gay men were re-imprisoned and/or re-convicted in courts under evidence that had been obtained by the NAZI's.
Reparations by the German government that were made to the Jewish population that had been imprisoned by the NAZI's, did not come as easily to those prosecuted under Paragraph 175. Several survivors, such as Karl Gorath, Heinz Dörmer, and Pierre Seel, would fight for decades for acknowledgment and reparations to little avail.
Furthermore, much like the scientists who acquired medical knowledge while experimenting on concentration camp prisoners, no NAZI was ever prosecuted for war crimes committed against a homosexual prisoner. It was not until 2002 that the German government even apologized to the gay community for what had been done to us under NAZI rule.