"The prisoners’ uniforms were marked with a colored cloth triangle to denote their offense or origin. The pink triangle, however, was about 2 or 3 centimeters larger than the others, so that we could be clearly recognized from a distance. Jews, homosexuals, and Gypsies, the yellow, pink, and brown triangles, were the prisoners who suffered the most frequent and most severely from the tortures and blows of the SS and the Capos. But the lowest of the low in this "scum" were we, the men with the pink triangle.
We could only sleep in our nightshirts and had to keep our hands outside the blankets… anyone found with his underclothes on in bed or his hands under his blanket - there were checks almost every night - was taken outside and had several bowls of water poured over him before being left standing outside for a good hour. Only a few people survived this treatment… we, who wore the pink triangle, were prioritized for medical experiments, and these generally ended in death.
In Sachsenhausen, at least, a homosexual was never permitted to have any position of responsibility. Nor could we even speak with prisoners from other blocks, with a different colored badge; we were told we might try to seduce them.”
-Heinz Heger, The Men with the Pink Triangle
- What they didn’t tell me about the Holocaust and queer identities; not in high school, not in college, not when I visited Berlin, and not even at the Auschwitz Memorial. Queer erasure of history is alive and well.