Homosexuality in the Concentration Camps
We have now arrived at one of the most sensitive topics in our discussion of homosexuality in Nazi Germany. As we have noted, revisionists have attempted to define homosexuals as a class of people who were ``targeted for extermination'' by the Nazis. One homosexual group went so far as to stage a high-profile ``pilgrimage'' to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem in May of 1994. They were met by a delegation of Jewish Holocaust survivors who were so overcome with outrage that some of them had to be restrained from physically assaulting the contingent of (mostly American) political activists. One man cried, ``My grandfather was killed for refusing to have sexual relations with the camp commandant. You are desecrating this place...'' (The Jerusalem Post, May 30, 1994).
Yet, as we have noted, some homosexuals did in fact die in Nazi concentration camps. We do not diminish the tragedy of any life lost under the Nazi reign of terror; however, we must reject the implication that homosexuals as a class should be given moral equivalency to the Jewish people and other victims of genocide. There are five reasons why we must reject this claim of the revisionists.
First, we know that regardless of Himmler's anti-homosexual rhetoric, homosexuals as a class were never targeted for extermination, as their continued role in the Third Reich demonstrates. Second, those homosexuals who died did so primarily as the result of mistreatment and disease in slave-labor camps -- not in the gas chambers. Third, though we cannot condone the form of punishment meted out by the Nazis, homosexual sodomy was a legitimate crime of long-standing for which individuals were being jailed both before and after the Nazi Regime (and in this country during the same time period). This is in contrast to the internment of Jewish people, whose ethnicity is morally (and in pre-Nazi Germany, legally) neutral. Fourth, the actual number of homosexuals in the camps was a tiny fraction of both the estimated number of homosexuals in Germany and the estimate of the camp population. The camp homosexual population, estimated at 5,000-15,000 by Joan Ringelheim of the US Holocaust museum (Rose:40), contained an undetermined percentage of non-homosexuals falsely labeled as homosexuals (see section titled ``Anti-homosexual Policies'' above). Homosexuals who died were ``a small fraction of less than 1 percent'' of homosexuals in Nazi-occupied Europe (S. Katz:146), compared to more than 85 percent of European Jewry. Fifth and last, many of the guards and administrators responsible for the infamous concentration camp atrocities were homosexuals themselves, which negates the idea that homosexuals in general were being persecuted and interned.
The Nazi system of concentration camps began with Dachau in 1933, but by the fall of the Third Reich the number of sites which had held prisoners in German occupied territory surpassed 10,000 (Parshall:57). It is not generally known that only six of these camps were the notorious ``death camps.'' In his introduction to Jean-Francios Steiner's Treblinka, Terrence des Pres addresses this distinction:
The first Nazi camps, which were set up soon after Hitler came to power in 1933, were designed as places of detention and as training grounds for the SS. Dachau and Buchenwald were among the most notorious, and although we cannot forget that thousands of people perished in these places, we should keep in mind that camps of this kind were not intended or equipped to be instruments of genocide...however, as the Nazi policy of extermination took shape with the Jews as primary target, the major ``killing centers,'' as they came to be called, began to operate...The great killing centers were six: Auschwitz-Birkenau, Sobidor, Chelmno, Belzec, Maidenek, and Treblinka (Steiner:x-xi).
We make this point simply to show that the internment of homosexuals in the concentration camps was not equivalent to that of Jews and other racial groups who were, under Nazi policy, targeted for extermination. As terrible as life could be in the work camps, it offered better chances than being herded into gas chambers or shot in front of mass graves.
An additional point that deserves mention here is that the uniform pattern of brutality for which the camps are known was established as a deliberate and calculated policy by the SA under Ernst Roehm in 1933. Heiden writes that ``[t]he S.A. had learned...that the will of an imprisoned mass must be broken by the most loathsome cruelty'' (Heiden:565). He later adds that ``[f]rightening reports also trickled through from the concentration camps, and the public began to realize that the Fuehrer's picked troops had organized artificial hells in Dachau...Roehm admitted publicly that these things seemed unbearable to many people, but said he saw no reason for stopping them'' (ibid.:732f). Though Roehm was soon killed, his system of mass torture and degradation endured.
The Guards and Kapos
There is one aspect of life in the concentration camps that is seldom noted by historians, yet is profoundly significant in this discussion. That aspect is the unique status of homosexuals in the camps. For while any prisoner could be chosen as a Kapo (a slave overseer), none other of the interned groups except homosexuals had counterparts among the Nazi guards and administrators (for example, there were no Jewish guards or administrators).
Examples of the homosexuality of the concentration camp guards can be found in many of the personal accounts of Holocaust survivors. Elie Wiesel, sent to the Buna factory camp in the Auschwitz complex, for example, acknowledges this in his book Night:
The head of our tent was a German. An assassin's face, fleshy lips, hands like wolf's paws. He was so fat he could hardly move. Like the leader of the camp he loved children...(Actually this was not a disinterested affection: there was a considerable traffic in young children among homosexuals here, I learned later) (Wiesel:59).
In Treblinka, the narrative account of the Treblinka uprising, Steiner records the story of another Nazi administrator, taken from interviews with survivors:
Max Bielas had a harem of little Jewish boys. He liked them young, no older than seventeen. He had a kind of parody of the shepherds of Arcadia, their role was to take care of the camp flock of geese. They were dressed like little princes...Bielas had a little barracks built for them that looked like a doll's house...Bielas sought in Treblinka only the satisfaction of his homosexual instincts (Steiner:117f).
Walter Poller, a German political prisoner who was interned in the Buchenwald concentration camp, also noted the homosexuality of certain guards. In Medical Block Buchenwald Poller describes the camp practice of mass beatings, and reports on the perverse pleasure these guards derived from the torment of the prisoners:
If the camp doctor happened to pass by after a mass whipping, and knew that a certain type of homosexual ScharFuehrer [platoon leader] and SS officer stood at a certain gate, he arranged a little special entertainment for them, which he called a medical examination (Poller:103).
Poller leaves the details of these ``medical examinations'' to our imagination. But this brief glimpse into the ranks of the SS guards reveals much about the camps. Poller's distinction between ``types'' of homosexual SS officers, for example, implies that there were more than a few such guards. Furthermore, their homosexuality was a matter of public knowledge. Both of these inferences are supported in another passage which tells of the retaliation against the Jewish prisoners following the attempted assassination of Hitler in July, 1944:
Two Scharfuehrer came along the empty camp roads at about nine o'clock. One of them was...an Oberscharfuehrer [commander of platoon leaders] known to the prisoners by the nick-name of ``Anna,'' because of his undisguised homosexuality. They entered one of the Jewish barracks, and there indiscriminately chose five Jews and brought them outside. From a second barracks they brought out eight more. From a third they selected another seven...the twenty Jews were ...[marched] off under Anna's orders...Some time later we heard a burst of firing from the direction of the stone quarry. It was now clear that the earthly existence of our...Jewish comrades had ended (ibid.:136f).
Plant, though a revisionist, admits that ``a few SS guards were homosexual'' and that they ``made some younger inmates, usually Poles or Russians, their `dolly boys' (Pielpel)'' (Plant:166). These homosexual antics were not carried out in secret. Plant writes that such guards would ``occasionally compete with Kapos for these teenagers. They even drew lots to determine who should go to whom'' (ibid.:166). Primo Levi, in Survival in Auschwitz notes that ``young attractive homosexuals'' had a much higher survival rate than average prisoners (Levi:81). Though they constituted one of the smallest numerical minorities in the camps (Plant:153), homosexuals apparently were appointed in disproportionally large numbers as Kapos (roughly the equivalent of ``trusties'' in our penal system). Psychoanalyst and medical doctor Edmund Bergler writes that ``[i]t is...well known that the capos in Hitler's concentration and extermination camps were only too frequently recruited from the ranks of homosexual criminals...I had firsthand information on this point from a patient who had spent six years in the infamous camp at Dachau (Bergler:279). Jan D. (who wishes to remain anonymous), in Auschwitz and Gross Rosen from 1940-1945, comments on the role of these prisoners: ``The most cruelty inflicted on the Concentration Camps prisoners was done by the `Capos' (work detail supervisors), mostly German criminals and homosexuals'' (Private letter).
In Hidden Holocaust?, Gunter Grau includes a report from the Buchenwald archives (Buchenwald was the camp with the highest number of ``pink triangle'' prisoners). It reads,
The kapo, Herzog, was a former member of the foreign legion, extremely brutal, apparently homosexual-sadistic and with a frightening tendency to become frenzied; if someone was beaten by him it was all over (Grau:268).
These testimonies are supported by Raul Hilberg, author of The Destruction of the European Jews and a member of the (U.S.) President's Commission on the Holocaust. Rector cites a December 10, 1979 Village Voice article in which Hilberg said ``that homosexuals were highly valued prisoners [relative to the Jews], and that many kapos -- inmates who administered the barracks and dispensed instant discipline (beatings and killings were common) were gay'' (Rector:139).
There seems to have been a great dichotomy between the experiences of homosexuals in the camps. While on the one hand, Lautmann reports that 44% of homosexuals received desk jobs (Lautmann in Plant:168), Plant claims that homosexuals were treated more harshly than the members of other groups, citing Kogon's Dachau memoir, The Theory and Practice of Hell. To some extent this may simply reflect the differences between camps and the philosophies of their administrators. But the enduring ``Butch/Femme'' conflict clearly had a substantial bearing on the treatment of homosexuals. Plant writes of one survivor who reported that ``the guards lashed out with special fury against those who showed `effeminate traits''' (Plant:172). And Rector records a statement from an interview with a former Pink Triangle named Wolf (a pseudonym) in which the issue of effeminacy was raised. ``The ones who were soft, shall I say, were the ones who suffered terribly'' (Rector:157). Rudolf Hoess, the infamous commandant of Auschwitz, who may himself have been a ``Butch'' homosexual, defined ``genuine homosexuals... [by their] soft and girlish affectations and fastidiousness, their sickly sweet manner of speech, and their altogether too affectionate deportment toward their fellows'' (Hoess in ibid.:137f). These ``genuine homosexuals'' were considered incorrigible and held in special barracks, while many non-effeminate homosexuals were released (ibid.:137).
Wolf's testimony about the homosexual behavior of the S
As for the SS, their behavior was typical among those who engaged in sexual bestiality. An example is a film, in color with a sound track, that was secretly made for the pornographic enjoyment of a select coterie of Nazis showing a wild drunken orgy of beautiful boys and handsome young men being whipped, raped and murdered by the SS (Rector:144). (Note: Rector adds that this film is still today ``very discreetly and very privately shown to only an inner circle of certain homosexuals in Europe'').
No study of homosexuality in the Nazi concentration camps would be complete without mentioning a book called The Men with the Pink Triangle. In recent years this book has become a standard text for revisionists because it is purportedly the only autobiography written by a former pink triangle prisoner. The book itself, however, written by Heinz Heger, cannot be considered reliable. It is presented as an autobiography, yet translator David Fernbach admits in his introduction that Heger's account is not his own but is the story of ``an anonymous victim of the Nazis, an Austrian'' (Heger:9). And though it contains quite a number of anecdotes about homosexuality among the SS guards which would otherwise be useful in this discussion, these stories all have a distinct quality of sexual fantasy. We are asked to believe that nearly every male authority figure whom ``Heger'' encounters requires him to perform oral sex, for example. Other ostensibly true-life histories of camp survivors are sober chronicles of enslavement and degradation, but ``Heger's'' account is almost whimsical in places and includes numerous implausible scenes, such as one in which ``Heger's'' Kapo lover countermands an order to punish ``Heger'' which comes from the camp commandant himself. For this reason we will not credit the many examples of homosexual sadism reported in this work.
Before we leave the subject of guards and Kapos, we must mention one of the few accounts of lesbians in Nazi history, again in connection with the prison system. In Paris Under the Occupation, Historians Perrault and Azema describe the activities of the French Gestapo. They identify ``Sonia Boukassi, a drug addict, and Violette Morris, onetime French weight-lifting champion, both lesbians, [as] the chief women's interrogators'' in the notorious torture chambers of La Carlingue (Perrault and Azema:38).
Homosexual prisoners did not integrate well into the prison populations, writes Eugen Kogon. The prisoners ostracized ``those whom the SS marked with the pink triangle'' (Kogon:44). Kogon attributes this dislike to the fact that the homosexual population included ``criminals, and especially blackmailers...Hostility toward them may also have been partly rooted in the fact that homosexuality was at one time widespread in Prussian military circles, as well as the SA and the SS'' (ibid:44). Kogon implies that the prisoners associated homosexuality with their tormentors and thus saw the ``pink triangles'' as objects of fear and hatred. Plant supports this view, noting that ``homosexual prisoners were often tainted by the crimes of the homosexual guards--even though they themselves were often the victims'' (Plant:167). There is evidence, as well, that the homosexuals in the camps alienated their fellow prisoners because of the predatory nature of their sexual drive. Polish sociologist, Anna Pawelczynska, in Values and Violence in Auschwitz, describes this situation:
Sometimes a confirmed homosexual would lead a prisoner of normal inclinations into homosexual practices. Such relationships were usually deeply immoral or deeply demoralizing. A prisoner-functionary's [Kapo's] desire to satisfy his or her pederastic sexual needs could also manifest itself in various brutal forms of terror and blackmail used to bring the partner into compliance (Pawelczynska:98).
Pawelcznska's record also refutes Plant's suggestion that homosexual prisoners were ``utterly disunited'' and therefore powerless. She cites the use of prostitution as a form of currency among the homosexual prisoners. This was likely a common means of getting favors from the homosexual guards as well. She writes,
...paid prostitution existed in the camp and the choice of erotic partners was dictated by one's ability to pay -- either in the form of help in gaining a better place in the camp structure or, at each visit, in the form of food or better clothes. Homosexual erotic availability became a coin of incommensurate worth, in return for which the chance of biological survival could be won, depending on the client's possibilities (ibid.:99).
In Buchenwald, however, we are told that ``[a]ssisted by isolation from the other camp and more supported than supervised by the SS, a number of bandits were completely terrorizing the workforce, stealing the packets they were supposed to receive since winter 1941, and holding real orgies of brutality and the most shameless sadism. Sexual abuse and the foulest murder were the order of the day'' (Grau:268).
There is one other distinction between homosexual and other prisoners. Toward the end of World War II, many homosexuals were released from the concentration camps and drafted into the Wehrmacht (Shaul:688). A leading historian of the period, Steven Katz cites records that ``indicate that 13% of all homosexual camp inmates were reprieved and released'' (S. Katz:146). This, of course, happened as the Nazis frantically increased their ``production'' in the death camps, trying to exterminate every last Jew in Europe before the Allies could liberate the camps.
Before we leave this subject we should mention the fact that many of the non-effeminate homosexuals interned in Nazi work camps were former Storm Troopers whose allegiance had been to Ernst Roehm and not to Hitler. When ``Roehm's Avengers'' began killing SS leaders in retaliation for Hitler's assassination (Snyder:298), Himmler cracked down on these homosexual former SA soldiers and many were sent to the camps. (This would account for many of the incidents of sadism and brutality.) Holocaust survivor Eugen Zuckerman wrote the following in a letter to the New York Post, protesting the portrayal of homosexuals as Nazi victims in the New York Holocaust museum.
As a Jewish ex-inmate of several concentration camps, including Mauthausen, and as one who grew up in Berlin from the late 1920s until October 1939 and knows the history that led to the internment of gay men in concentration camps, I am opposed to a memorial to homosexuals...The first thousands of homosexuals interned were all members of the Sturm Abteilung (SA), the Nazi Storm Troopers (New York Post, February 16, 1997).
(For the reasons he cited above, Hilberg also believes that the inclusion of homosexuals in any memorialization of Holocaust victims ``would be a travesty'' -- Hilberg in Rector:139).
Thus, if we add up the numbers, it appears that very few of the millions of European homosexuals were ever sent to concentration camps for purely sexual reasons. If, of the 5,000-15,000 homosexuals interned, the ``first thousands'' were SA Brownshirts and many others were non-homosexuals falsely charged with homosexuality, it is possible that as few as one or two thousand people were sent to camps for ``being `gay.'''
The Final Solution
There is perhaps no more terrible expression in human speech than the ``Final Solution.'' In it is contained an evil so profound as not to be easily assimilated by the human mind. How could people be so filled with hate, we wonder, that they would seek to exterminate whole races of fellow human beings from the face of the earth? In our struggle to answer this question, we find science inadequate and must look to a deeper source of human knowledge. Only in a spiritual context can we truly understand the meaning of the ''Final Solution,'' the Holocaust of the Jews. It is not surprising, then, that the roots of the Nazi evil are found in the neo-pagan revival of the late 1800s, which manifested itself in the glorification of occultism and the subversion of the Judeo-Christian foundations of German culture.
We have addressed many elements of the neo-pagan revival in previous chapters, but to find the specific roots of the Holocaust we must revisit the occult ideologue, Jorg Lanz von Liebenfels. Remember that Lanz, the homosexual male supremacist, was called ``the man who gave Hitler his ideas,'' by Austrian psychologist Wilhelm Daim. Anti-Semitic pamphlets by Lanz and Guido von List shaped Hitler's early hatred of the Jews. It was Lanz who originated the concept of Himmler's Lebensborn, the Aryan breeding colony. And it was Lanz, again, who can be seen behind Hitler's answers to ``the Jewish question.'' Goodrick-Clarke writes,
The similarity between Lanz's proposals...and the Nazi plans for the disposal of the Jews and the treatment of the enslaved Slav populations in the East [is unmistakable]. Lanz's specific recommendations for the disposal of racial inferiors were various and included: deportation to Madagascar; enslavement; incineration as a sacrifice to God; and use as beasts of burden. Both the psychopathology of the Nazi Holocaust and the subjugation of non-Aryans in the East were presaged by Lanz's grim speculations (Goodrick-Clarke:97).
We are all too familiar with the Nazi enslavement of ``non-Aryans'' and with their incineration of the Jews in the death camps, but these atrocities, though they agree perfectly with his ideas, do not by themselves prove any special influence by Lanz. In the Nazis' ``Madagascar Plan'' (which was nothing more than a proposal to put all the Jews on the island of Madagascar), however, we find an indisputable connection to Lanz. In Harvest of Hate: The Nazi Program for the Destruction of the Jews of Europe, historian Leon Poliakov writes about the ``Madagascar Plan,'' but reveals that he was unaware of Lanz's influence:
Goering had mentioned the ``Madagascar Question'' during the...meeting of November 12, 1938. Himmler had been dreaming of it since 1934, as one witness testified. Putting all the Jews on a large island -- moreover, a French island -- would satisfy the Nazi love of symbolism. At any rate, the idea was put forth by the Minister of Foreign Affairs...[and] was accepted by Himmler as well as by the Fuehrer himself. Great inventions always have several originators; other more or less famous dignitaries can claim the honor of fathering this ``philanthropic solution.'' For example, Philip Bouhler, Chief of the Fuehrer's personal chancellery...hoped to become the governor of the island (Poliakov:43).
Guido von List targeted his hatred more specifically against Christians, and developed an elaborate mythology to justify attacks against Christianity. Goodrick-Clarke explains List's ideas:
[List developed] a conspiracy theory that identified Christianity as the negative and destructive principle in the history of the Ario-Germanic race. If it could be shown that Christian missionaries had been intent upon the destruction of Armanist culture, its actual non-existence in the present could be related to empirical events...List's account of Christianization in the historic German lands reiterated the debilitation of Teutonic vigour and morale and the destruction of German national consciousness. He claimed that the Church's gospel of love and charity had encouraged a deviation from the strict eugenics of `the old Aryan sexual morality'...it was he who had demonized the Church as the sole source of evil in the pan-German scheme of belief (Goodrick-Clarke:68f).
Unfortunately, the occult dimension of Nazi history is overlooked by many historians who must attempt, therefore, to find materialist answers to ideological questions. And if the occult dimension has been ignored, this is doubly true of the homosexual dimension. As Duberman, Vicinus and Chauncey have stated in the title to their ``gay studies'' text, the role of homosexuals and pederasts has been Hidden from History. They, of course, imagine the influence of homosexuality to be positive. Yet the rise of homosexuality in a Judeo-Christian based culture necessarily represents the diminution of Biblical morality as a restraint on human passions. Consequently, where Judeo-Christian ideals decrease, violence and depravity increase.
It was the pederasts of the Community of the Elite who, in large part, sponsored the revival of Hellenic pagan ideals in German society. These men were fanatically anti-Jew and anti-Christian because of the injunctions against homosexuality implicit in the Judeo-Christian sexual ethic. Johansson notes that Hans Blueher, one of the leading theoreticians of the Community of the Elite, ``maintained that Judaism had suppressed the homosexual aspect of its culture, with concomitant hypertrophy [enlargement] of the family'' (Johansson:816). Benedict Friedlander, in an essay for Der Eigene titled ``Seven Propositions,'' chose as his first proposition an attack on Christianity. ``The white race is becoming ever sicker under the curse of Christianity, which is foreign to it and mostly harmful,'' writes Friedlander. ``That is the genuinely bad `Jewish influence,' an opinion that has proven true, especially through the conditions in North America'' (Friedlander in Oosterhuis and Kennedy:219).
For his part, Adolf Brand called Christianity ``barbarism'' and ``expressed his desire to fight `beyond good and evil,' not for the sake of the masses, since the happiness of `the weak' would result in a `slave mentality,' but for the human being who proclaimed himself a god and was not to be subdued by human laws and ethics'' (Oosterhuis and Kennedy:183). We should not forget Nietzsche, who called Christianity ``the lie of millennia'' (Macintyre:188).
Much has been made of the reported silence, and in some cases complicity, of the supposed Christian churches during the Third Reich. But few have noted the long period of ``Biblical deconstruction'' that preceded the rise of Nazism, and fewer still have chronicled the systematic perversion of German religious culture by the Nazis themselves. While the neo-pagans were busy attacking from without, liberal theologians undermined Biblical authority from within the Christian church. The school of so-called ``higher criticism,'' which began in Germany in the late 1800s, portrayed the miracles of God as myths; by implication making true believers (Jew and Christian alike) into fools. And since the Bible was no longer accepted as God's divine and inerrant guide, it could be ignored or reinterpreted. By the time the Nazis came to power, ``Bible-believing'' Christians, (the Confessing Church of Barth and Bonhoeffer) were a small minority. Francis Schaeffer writes of this phenomenon in The Great Evangelical Disaster:
In the late nineteenth century it was these ideas [the all-sufficiency of human reason and the falsehood of supernatural religion] which began to radically transform Christianity...This started especially with the acceptance of the ``higher critical'' methods that had been developed in Germany. Using these methods, the new liberal theologians completely undercut the authority of Scripture...in spite of the efforts of...[theologians Hodges, Warfield and later Machen], the destructive methods of biblical criticism came into power and control in the denominations. By the 1930s liberalism had swept through most of the denominations and the battle was all but lost (Schaeffer:34).
The replacement for Biblical Christianity in Germany was a pseudo-Christian ``pietism'' that grew increasingly more bizarre as devotion to the social ideals of traditional Christianity was divorced from its source. In The Twelve Year Reich, social historian Richard Grunberger writes of Nazi-sponsored ``charity'' drives, for example, in which collectors of surplus goods for the poor became irrational fanatics:
[Collectors] indefatigably pounded the staircases of apartment houses in the large towns, rooting out the last possible donor...Small rural communities erected what were known as Boards of Shame, listing those who, `despite financial ability, refuse to make donations.' Not infrequently, `selfish elements' were victims of organized physical violence: `Widow B. of Volksdorf, who had only contributed ridingboots to a Winter Relief collection of clothing, had to ask the police to take her into protective custody after a threatening crowd gathered outside her house and started to smash her greenhouses.' Hereditary farmer, Bernard Sommer Kempdorf, who had told the collectors that if they wanted any fruit from him they were at liberty to pick it off the trees themselves, had to be taken into protective custody when a crowd of hundreds gathered around his farm chanting demands for his imprisonment. (Grunberger:88).
The Germans under Hitler developed a ``purely German i.e. de-Romanized and de-Judaicized form of Christianity,'' writes Grunberger, while the growing ``New Heathenism'' rejected Jesus entirely and substituted ``either Wotan worship or a cult of nature centered on the Sun'' (ibid.:482). Soon, this neo-paganism had entered the weakened churches. ``German Christianity [began to focus] on the Aryan savior Jesus...[and theological studies appeared] under such titles as `Wotan and Jesus,' `Baldur and the Bible,' and `The German Savior''' (ibid.:482). Despite all this, however, it would be a mistake to believe that the German church, as liberal and/or heretical as it had become, would have supported Hitler's total agenda on its own. On the contrary, Hitler and the Nazi elite were forced to conduct a slow and methodical takeover of the German churches to silence their dissent.
In March of 1935 seven hundred Protestant priests were arrested by the Gestapo in Prussia ``for issuing condemnations of neo-paganism from the pulpit,'' and later a similar number of clergy in Wuerttemberg had their teaching credentials stripped for ```violating the moral instincts of the German race' by references to Abraham, Joseph and David in the course of their teaching'' (ibid.:494). The Nazis confiscated Protestant seminaries in Wuerttemberg and Catholic convents and monasteries in the Rhineland (ibid.:500).
As Grunberger asserts, Nazism itself was a ``pseudo-religion'' (ibid.:79) that competed, covertly, with Christianity and Judaism. The Nazi regime, attempting to usurp the role of the church and eliminate its influence on German culture, ``spawned an unending series of relatively minor, but cumulatively effective, anti-Church measures'' (ibid.:500). The Nazi Party's spiritual adjunct, the ``German Faith Movement,'' represented one of several fronts in this war on Christianity. Grunberger writes,
The movement...could best be defined by its negative articles of faith of which the chief was enmity to Christianity and the established churches. Planning to use neo-pagan ``conversion'' to complement its own more general anti-Church measures (such as hamstringing communal and youth organizations, or attenuating religious instruction in schools), the Party therefore launched a drive to make individual parishioners withdraw from Church membership. The ``Church Secessionist Campaign'' was particularly effective among professionals materially dependent on the regime: civil servants, municipal employees, teachers, [and] full-time party workers (ibid:491).
As soon as the Nazis came to power they replaced many Christian holidays with pagan celebrations: ``The Day of the Summer Solstice,'' ``The Day of the Winter Solstice,'' and ``Mothering Sunday'' (which featured the so-called ``Rune of Life'' as a symbol to honor births) (ibid.:80f.). Marriage ceremonies increasingly invoked ``Mother Earth'' and ``Father Sky'' as the deities by whom the covenant was blessed (ibid.:492). Birth and death announcements began to feature the life and death runes, respectively, as part of a campaign to eliminate the star and the cross from public life, and crucifixes were gradually removed from hospitals and schools (ibid.:494). The Nazis made all religious activities which were not centered in the churches dependent on official permission and confiscated lists of churchgoers who were on active duty in the military (ibid.:500).
The schools were heavily targeted in the strategy to deChristianize the young. Mandatory prayer in schools was stopped in 1935, and from 1941 onward, religious instruction was completely eliminated for all students over fourteen years old (ibid.:494f). The Nazi Teachers Association actively discouraged its members from taking religious instruction, while at the same time many teachers of religious studies (who were all required to be licensed by the state) ``inculcated neo-paganism into their pupils during periods of religious instruction.'' Later, teachers were outright prohibited from attending voluntary religion classes organized by the Catholic church (ibid.:495).
In an obscene twist, the Nazis used former Christian religious facilities, seized by the government, to establish schools in which students were trained in male supremacist ideology, using teachings from the works of homosexual theorists such as Otto Weininger (Rosenthal:69). Igra writes,
[Weininger's Sex and Character] was revived as a kind of text book in the Nazi Ordensburgen, those schools for the training of future German leaders which have been set up in the confiscated monasteries and convents. There they learn the doctrine that `the lowest type of male is infinitely higher than the noblest woman,' and that `by her very nature, woman is deceitful, mentally inferior to man and unmoral' (Igra:99).
The de-Christianization of German society was carried out in the Nazis' characteristically duplicitous style. Ever masters of the euphemism and of political sleight-of-hand, they kept the general population confused about their true motives. When Hitler needed the support of the churches in the early days of the regime, for example, the SA attended Sunday services en masse, creating ``veritable SA church parades'' (Grunberger:485). But just months later these same troops marched in the Nuremberg Party Rally alongside the Hitler Youth as they sang anti-Christian songs. ``No evil priest can prevent us from feeling that we are the children of Hitler,'' the children sang. ``We follow not Christ, but Horst Wessel. Away with incense and holy water...The swastika brings salvation on earth'' (ibid.:489). For their part, the SA sang, ``Storm Trooper Comrades, hang the Jews and put the priests against the wall'' as the refrain to one of their favorite tunes.
In Hitler and I, Strasser records a conversation he had with Hitler, in which Strasser criticized Nazi propagandist Alfred Rosenberg for his pagan ideals. ``Hitler stopped and looked me in the eyes,'' writes Strasser, ```Christianity is, for the moment, one of the points in the programme I have laid down. But we must look ahead. Rosenberg is a forerunner, a prophet. His theories are the expression of the German soul''' (Strasser, 1940:96). Much later, as Hitler's religion of hate appeared to have completely overwhelmed the German culture, Hitler proclaimed, ``Do you really believe the masses will ever be Christian again? Nonsense, that tale is finished'' (Newton:16).
From the early years, leading Nazis openly attacked Christianity. Joseph Goebbels declared that ``Christianity has infused our erotic attitudes with dishonesty'' (Taylor:20). Himmler is reported to have considered Christianity ``the greatest plague delivered by history, and demanded that it be dealt with accordingly'' (Ziegler:85). Martin Bormann, who replaced Hess as Deputy Fuehrer, issued a decree to the Party Gauleiters titled, ``The Relations Between National Socialism and Christianity'' in which he said ``National Socialist and Christian conceptions are incompatible. The Christian churches build upon men's ignorance...The people must be increasingly wrested from the churches...Never again must the churches be allowed any influence over the leadership of the people. This must be broken totally and forever'' (Fest, 1970:132f). The Nazis ultimate goal was the elimination of all the Christian churches. Grunberger points out that ``[j]ust as the genocide programme provided for certain areas to be made `free of Jews' before others, so the Warthegau [the Posen-Lodz civil defense region] was envisioned as the first region to be `free of churches' in the Reich'' (Grunberger:498).
It is in this campaign against Judeo-Christian morality that we find one of the reasons for the German people's acceptance of Nazism's most extreme atrocities. Their religious foundations had been systematically eroded over a period of decades by powerful social forces. By the time the Nazis came to power, German culture was spiritually bankrupt. Historians have largely ignored the spiritual element of Nazi history, but if we look closely at Hitler's campaign of extermination of the Jews, it becomes clear that his ostensible racial motive obscures a deeper and more primal hatred of the Jews as the ``People of God.''
The probable reason for Hitler's attack on Christianity was his perception that it alone had the moral authority to stop the Nazi movement. But Christians stumbled before the flood of evil. As Poliakov notes, ``[W]hen moral barriers collapsed under the impact of Nazi preaching...the same anti-Semitic movement that led to the slaughter of the Jews gave scope and license to an obscene revolt against God and the moral law. An open and implacable war was declared on the Christian tradition...[which unleashed] a frenzied and unavowed hatred of Christ and the Ten Commandments'' (Poliakov:300).
As we turn from the issue of Nazi hatred for Christianity we are reminded of the common moral standard shared by believing Christians and Jews (generally speaking, German Jews of that day were far more devout than their modern American counterparts). It is a standard which unequivocally condemns homosexuality. This fact assumes enormous significance in the context of this book and causes us to question the common wisdom, which.explains the Holocaust in purely racial terms.
There is no question that homosexuality figures prominently in the history of the Holocaust. As we have noted, the ideas for disposing of the Jews originated with Lanz. The first years of terrorism against the Jews were carried out by the homosexuals of the SA. The first pogrom, Kristallnacht, was orchestrated in 1938 by the homosexual Reinhard Heydrich. And it was the sometime transvestite Goering who started the ``evolution of the Final Solution...[with an] order to Heydrich (Jan. 24, 1939) concerning the solution of the Jewish question by `emigration' and `evacuation''' (Robinson:25). Still, despite their disproportionate role, homosexuals did not cause the Holocaust. They, along with so many others who had lost their moral bearings, were merely instruments in its enactment. The Holocaust must be blamed on the one whom the Bible compares to ``a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour'' (NKJ:I Peter 5:8).