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Gays in the Holocaust

Day of Remembrance …

yellow_star_of_david

The international Day of Remembrance has begun in Israel. The day that we remember the 6 million Jews, and many others that went to their deaths in Nazi concentration camps. Those who do not remember the past are doomed to repeat it.

dach-id

big1402 KL Auschwitz Work makes free Arbeit macht frei Today

Nazi Records

These – Bad Arolson is where the millions upon millions of files for Nazi records have been kept and for years now been open to the public for research purposes.

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Yad Vashem. The Holocaust museum in Israel.

You who live safe
In your warm houses,
You who find, returning in the evening,
Hot food and friendly faces:
Consider if this is a man
Who works in the mud
Who does not know peace
Who fights for a scrap of bread
Who dies because of a yes and a no.
Consider if this is a woman,
Without hair and without name
With no more strength to remember,
Her eyes empty and her womb cold
Like a frog in winter

Meditate that this came about:
I commend these words to you.
Carve them in your hearts
At Home, in the street,
Going to bed, rising;
Repeat them to your children,

Or may your house fall apart,
May illness impede you,
May your children turn their faces from you.

Primo Levi

Survival in Auschwitz


Came to Believe…

It is really hard to try and explain to some readers that unless you have walked a day or a week or a month and quite possibly a year in my shoes, NO ONE has the right to judge me or leave nasty comments on this blog, thinking that I would even entertain posting those comments here.

The other night I wrote on the seven deadly sins, as I did a nightly inventory of my sobriety and I prayed for some wisdom in posting that post and I even PAGED it as well so that it can be readily accessed from the front page.

Illness forces one who is ill to grow up, faster than usual. It asks of us to persevere through the illness and to hope and pray that one will live through adversity and come victoriously to the other side. 162 of my friends went into that dark night with me. They are all dead, I am still alive. I must be doing something right.

People who think they know God, come here and tell me about their God and they share with me their warped views of Christianity. They leave nasty comments with vile judgments and accusations. How could I possibly know God, be a Christian and be Gay? My God does not care that I am gay and he doesn’t care that you are straight. My God tells me that I must walk this path, and I must pray and I must respect the station of God, and I do that. I am sure that every Christian who reads this blog has a different conception of God, and you may not agree with me and that’s ok. What a bore it would be if we all agreed on every note of Christianity.

When I got sick, and doctors told me that I had, at best, 18 months to live, that I better make good use of that time, I took that diagnosis home with me and I was alone. Because I would be Coming Out again, and AIDS was the great leveler. It surely separated the boys from the men, and the girls from the women. I tell this story again because it is who I am – what I am – and where I came from.

I had to come to believe that I was going to live, when all of my friends were dying. Against all odds, a group of men rallied round me and forced me to think, they begged me to believe in them, if I could not believe in myself or in God at that present moment. I cried for days. I worked my ass off and I listened to every word that was spoken to me in that first 18 months. I listened to the men who made sense of living. I listened to men encourage me through the toughest time of my life. Were THEY wrong???

The path lies ahead of you. What you choose to do with that knowledge is up to you. I had a choice, I could stay on the path and follow the leader, or I could go it alone. I chose to follow the leader. When Christianity turned its back on the sick and the dying, WE were still there. When the Christians were condemning us, and labeling us, WE were still there, we walked through that hell. I accuse many for what they did to me and my friends. I accuse you for turning your back on so many, families, friends, lovers, churches, congregations, funeral parlors, office workers, hospital workers and doctors and nurses.

You have not a shred of experience on what we lived through. You have not a leg to stand on when you speak your vile accusations and judgments. God as my witness, You have no idea who I am, you did not see with thine own eyes the horror I witnessed. You did not weep at the bodies laid wasted by those who abandoned them. I reckon, you did not shed one guilty tear of remorse for your actions.

And God Wept…

I counted the days, one by one, on paper, in my house, in my heart and in my mind. I sewed my own memorial quilt with the others and when they died I wept for my friends and those who loved them to the end. I worked night and day to care for the sick and the dying. I worked night and day to keep myself alive. And I was sober as well. I experienced rehab and I read my Big Book, I worked my steps and I let go of my resentments and my ego. Because let me tell you, there is no EGO when it comes to mortality. You beg God for one more day, one more week, one more month. You tell me if you’ve ever knelt before God, knowing that your life is in his hands, and you don’t let go of your EGO pretty damned fast.

God does not deal is egos and attitudes, although you wouldn’t know that by the actions of some Christians I run across on this blog. You’d think that God stepped out of his heaven to tell some Christians that it is their duty and responsibility to speak for the almighty!

I beg to differ…

I do not know of any Christian, priest, minister, pastor or the like who has ever heard from the Almighty and has access to the 1-800 number to the heavenly host. Not one day goes by as of late that I don’t think about my mortality. Because we are quickly approaching my diagnosis anniversary. It has been 14 years and counting, and I am still here, 162 of my friends are DEAD!!!

The longer I lived the more I believed that I would make it – the more I walked the path, I learned about me, about others, I learned what true compassion was, because I watched people like you, HUMAN BEINGS become ANIMALS, un-compassionate and uncaring. I witnessed the worst that humanity threw at us, don’t think for one moment that I have forgotten after so many years. I have not…

I know very few noble men and women in my life. I know that the men and women who worked tirelessly to help me and others stay alive, did that because they had to. The believed in us when nobody else did. They hoped that we would survive the medications, the drugs, and or the lack there of. Those men and women stood at the gates of death and protected us to the best of their ability to see that no one would go alone and those who lived would not forget the kindness shown to them in their darkest hours.

YOU who think you know God. YOU who think God has anything to say about me. YOU who think that you can prance around your little churches proclaiming “Jesus Saves” on Holy Sunday and at prayer meetings and revivals, out of one side of your mouth, and from the other you spout such vitriol and hatred!!! How could you possibly be in communion with the same God who created heaven and earth and all that you see before you!

May God have mercy on your souls.

In 40 years of life, I know who I am today. I survived. I lived. I persevered. I broke all the records and markers that my doctors gave me. I survived a family that turned their backs on me. I survived loosing my friends, my fellows, my boyfriend at the time. I survived finding my lovers corpse 5 days after he killed himself, rather than telling me that he was sick. I survived the curse that his mother said to me as I signed his body out of the coroners office to send his rotted corpse home to his family when she spoke those words:

“I Hope that every night when you close your eyes, that you see my dead sons body before you until the day that you die…”

Not a night goes by that I don’t pray for his soul and for mine. Not a day goes by that I am not reminded that this body is but a shell that I happen to inhabit for this lifetime. Not a day goes by that I am not reminded that I could die at any moment because my constitution is not that of a 26 year old boy any more. Not a day goes by that I don’t start my day with prayer and pray during the day and before I go to sleep at night that i don’t thank God for that day and pray that there is air in my lungs when I get up the next morning. It seems that God listens to my prayers, because there is still air in my lungs tonight.

You must concede that I know of what I speak of. You must concede that somewhere in God’s heaven are millions of souls who have gone before me, who speak to God on my behalf. You must concede that Sister Georgette, my sainted Grey Nun aunt, isn’t up there speaking to Mere D’Youville on my behalf. You must concede that after all these years, that I know how to pray. You must concede that probably I have prayed prayers for myself and my friends that YOU have never thought about praying for yourself or your families.

Death and Dying is not just a spectator sport for those who live and die with illness. You look at a child who is sick, and you feel pity for them, yet you spurn the lot of us who are sick and dying. There was no pity on your face, only recriminations and condemnation. Until you face your appointed hour could you ever utter one single word against me, my friends or our family.

We learn a great deal about life in the pursuit of death. We learn a great deal about prayer when the chips are down and we have to utter those “Hail Mary” prayers. I don’t think that YOU could shine a light on my prayer life with the certainty that you think you have. I don’t believe that YOU could even imagine what it is that I pray for on a nightly basis. I don’t believe that YOU could ever know the relationship that I have with God, because of the way you treat others. Humans are imperfect beings.

Religious men and women across the board for centuries have prayed to God, studied the finer points of God and they speak about theologies and religions, and nobody has the definitive word on God, what He thinks and what He believes of anyone on earth. Scripture, Talmud, the Qu’ran, the Bible, the Upanishads and the Vedas all speak of spiritual nature and spiritual truth. Words written by man, inspired by God are open to interpretation by the best scholars and religious leaders. Centuries of collected works are borne into a system of belief for the masses because YOU need to believe in something, and far be it from me to tell you what to believe, and As God as my witness, YOU have no right to tell me what to believe, how to live my life, or who I can love.

Matthew 7:1-5

Judging Others

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?

You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brothers eye.”

On top of 40 years of lived experience on this earth, and 14 years balancing the fine art of the living and the dead, I have spiritual truth on my side. I have years of sober time under my belt. I have worked to become selfless and ego-less. We have a reading called the Promises in AA that we believe will come to pass if one works the program of recovery to the best of their ability.

“If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others. That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. Self-seeking will slip away. Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change. Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.

Are these extravagant promises? We think not.

They are being fulfilled among us – sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly.They will always materialize if we work for them.”

Every week at my home group meeting we read this passage from the Big Book. And I can tell you that I have come to believe because I have watched God walk into our meeting and rest and I have seen his grace fall on the souls of those who come to that meeting week in and week out. I have seen God move in ways that probably YOU will never see in your lifetime. I have been blessed and my friends have been blessed by God because we come together to learn, to change, to work and to share our message with those who might need to hear it.

Over the last five years I have worked on my religious truth. I have studied God INTIMATELY. I know who God is and I know who God is not. I have prayed simple prayers in some of the most beautiful churches on the earth. I have walked the staircase to the roof the Pinnacle of the Holy Catholic Church. I have stood in awe of the expanse of Rome and I have looked down into Papal Gardens where I am sure, centuries of Popes have communed with God in their time.

I have spoken to Pontiffs, I have worshiped in the greatest Church that exists on the planet. I have communed with the bones of saints and prophets. I have stood in the place of honor where the disciple Peter’s bones rest beneath the cuppola of the Vatican. I have walked the hallowed halls of the catacombs beneath the Vatican and I have seen the early Christian catacombs on Rome where the first Christians worshiped God.

There is not one egotistical bone in my body. I have worked tirelessly for years to share a message of hope and love with my readers. I have worked with the sick and the dying. I have spent a lifetime learning how to die. I have spent a lifetime studying the path to righteousness. I don’t care one bit for righteousness, I DO care about Holiness. I care that I live a holy and blessed life. I care that those I listen to live holy and blessed lives. I care that the religious authority that I follow RESPECTS me for WHO I am and are not bothered by WHAT I may be.

The world is so caught up in labels. What good have labels done to people in the past? The Nazi’s believed that labeling people and putting them in extermination camps was useful. To route the world of Jews, Gypsies, Christians, (oh yes they exterminated Christians too), homosexuals, the Polish and the sick and dying. MILLIONS of people WERE MURDERED because they were labeled as useless and dirty.

I once believed, as a young person that I wanted to carry a label, but 40 years of experience has taught me that once you label someone, they are as good as dead. Once you label someone, they loose something of themselves. The uniqueness of the soul is tarnished by those who would see them labeled. In centuries of time gone by, we have seen what labels do to human beings. Because if YOU can label us, then You believe that you can separate us from the whole, and section us off from the normal human population. You do not own that power any longer.

My Husband, my friends, and my fellows love me for the man I am today. One who gives freely of his soul every day that I live. One who writes with such passion and strength. One who lives with determination that I can safely say that probably YOU will never see in your lifetime. Because faced with imminent death, I am sure you would not rise to the level of enlightenment that I have seen in my lifetime.

Ah, you might get sick, get cancer, or some other disease, you will say a prayer here or there, and maybe you just might see the face of God before he takes you, but you will still be as judgmental and vile as you are today. Nothing will change.

Because a sick heterosexual is far better in Gods eyes than a sick homosexual.

Because you believe that God will hear and harken your prayer before he does mine. Well, I wonder about that. What do you think? YOU who sputter unchristian words now need God’s grace, because like me, now you are sick and you need God to heal you and make you better. Do you think that you are going to walk a different path than I have? Do you think that your illness might be better than mine? Do you believe that a heterosexual should be pushed up the line of healing before God, before someone like me?

You have no idea what it feels like to face your own death, several times over in my case. And lived to tell the tale. And you think that I am prideful or have one ounce of hubris in my soul? You think that I am arrogant and that I come from a place of ego rather than a place of selflessness???

I have come to believe…

One day YOU will stand before God, and on that day YOU will reckon for all that you have done on this earth, and for me it is this last thought that keeps me going in my pursuit of Christian faith, that at the end of my life when I stand before God I will hear him say:

“Well done, good and faithful servant.”

Will God say the same words to you???


Berlin inaugurates memorial to Nazi's gay victims

The memorial for homosexual victims of the Nazi regime, designed by Norwegian artist Ingar Dragset and Danish artist Michael Elmgreen, seen in Berlin on Monday, May 26, 2008. On Tuesday, May 27, 2008 the monument will be unveiled officially.

By GEIR MOULSON, Associated Press

BERLIN – Germany unveiled a memorial Tuesday to the Nazis’ long-ignored gay victims, a monument that also aims to address ongoing discrimination by confronting visitors with an image of a same-sex couple kissing.

The memorial — a sloping gray concrete slab on the edge of Berlin’s Tiergarten park — echoes the vast field of smaller slabs that make up Germany’s memorial to Jewish victims of the Holocaust, opened three years ago just across the road.

The pavilion-sized slab includes a small window where visitors can view a video clip of two men kissing.

Berlin’s openly gay mayor, Klaus Wowereit, said the monument was a reminder of the ongoing struggles that still confront gays.

“This memorial is important from two points of view — to commemorate the victims, but also to make clear that even today, after we have achieved so much in terms of equal treatment, discrimination still exists daily,” Wowereit said as he inaugurated the memorial alongside Culture Minister Bernd Neumann.

Nazi Germany declared homosexuality a threat to the German race and convicted some 50,000 homosexuals as criminals. An estimated 10,000 to 15,000 gay men were deported to concentration camps, where few survived.

“This is a story that many people don’t know about, and I think it’s fantastic … that the German state finally decided to make a memorial to honor these victims as well,” said Ingar Dragset, a Berlin-based Norwegian who designed the memorial along with Danish-born Michael Elmgreen.

The commemoration “unfortunately comes too late for those who were persecuted and survived in 1945,” said Guenter Dworek, of Germany‘s Lesbian and Gay Association. “That is very bitter.”

He said the last ex-prisoner that his group knows of died in 2005.

Wowereit echoed his regret over the time it took to honor the Nazis’ gay victims.

“That is symptomatic of a postwar society which simply kept quiet about a group of victims, which … contributed to these victims being discriminated against twice,” he said.

Few gays convicted by the Nazis came forward after World War II because of the stigma attached to homosexuality. The law used against them remained on the books in West Germany until 1969, and Dworek said there were 50,000 convictions under the legislation after the war.

Not until 2002 did the German parliament issue a formal pardon for homosexuals convicted under the Nazis. One reason it took so long was because the legislation had been linked to a blanket rehabilitation of 22,000 Wehrmacht deserters — a move many conservatives opposed.

The effort to get a memorial built started in 1992, and a 1999 parliament decision to build the memorial to the Holocaust‘s 6 million Jewish victims also called for “commemorating in a worthy fashion the other victims of the Nazis.” In 2001, Jewish and Gypsy leaders backed an appeal for a monument to the gay victims.

After lawmakers approved its construction, a jury picked the winning design in early 2006 out of 17 design proposals.

The federal government financed the $945,660 building costs, while Berlin’s city government provided the site.

The designers’ original plan to feature only a video of two men kissing ran into criticism that lesbians were left out. Last year, a compromise was reached to change the memorial’s video every two years, allowing lesbian couples to be shown in the future.

The first film — a repeating clip of two men kissing, shot at the site of the memorial before it was built — was done by photographer Robby Mueller and directed by Denmark’s Thomas Vinterberg.

“It was quite important to have a direct imagery of a love scene, a passionate scene … because that is the main problem in homophobia,” designer Elmgreen told AP Television News. “You can get acceptance on an abstract level, but they don’t want to look at us.”

Germany has allowed gay couples to seal their partnerships at registry offices since 2001, although the law stops short of offering formal marriage. Berlin has a large gay community, as do other major German cities, such as Cologne and Hamburg.

The memorial to the Nazis’ Jewish victims and the new monument will soon be joined by a third memorial honoring the Roma and Sinti, or Gypsy, victims. Some 220,000 to 500,000 Gypsies were killed during the Holocaust.

Work begins this year on that memorial, also in Tiergarten park.

“We stand stunned before the brutality with which the Nazis threatened, persecuted and destroyed all those who did not correspond to their inhuman ideology,” Neumann said.

“The experience of war and Holocaust, state terror and tyranny, puts on us Germans a special responsibility to protect freedom and human rights.”


Berlin inaugurates memorial to Nazi’s gay victims

The memorial for homosexual victims of the Nazi regime, designed by Norwegian artist Ingar Dragset and Danish artist Michael Elmgreen, seen in Berlin on Monday, May 26, 2008. On Tuesday, May 27, 2008 the monument will be unveiled officially.

By GEIR MOULSON, Associated Press

BERLIN – Germany unveiled a memorial Tuesday to the Nazis’ long-ignored gay victims, a monument that also aims to address ongoing discrimination by confronting visitors with an image of a same-sex couple kissing.

The memorial — a sloping gray concrete slab on the edge of Berlin’s Tiergarten park — echoes the vast field of smaller slabs that make up Germany’s memorial to Jewish victims of the Holocaust, opened three years ago just across the road.

The pavilion-sized slab includes a small window where visitors can view a video clip of two men kissing.

Berlin’s openly gay mayor, Klaus Wowereit, said the monument was a reminder of the ongoing struggles that still confront gays.

“This memorial is important from two points of view — to commemorate the victims, but also to make clear that even today, after we have achieved so much in terms of equal treatment, discrimination still exists daily,” Wowereit said as he inaugurated the memorial alongside Culture Minister Bernd Neumann.

Nazi Germany declared homosexuality a threat to the German race and convicted some 50,000 homosexuals as criminals. An estimated 10,000 to 15,000 gay men were deported to concentration camps, where few survived.

“This is a story that many people don’t know about, and I think it’s fantastic … that the German state finally decided to make a memorial to honor these victims as well,” said Ingar Dragset, a Berlin-based Norwegian who designed the memorial along with Danish-born Michael Elmgreen.

The commemoration “unfortunately comes too late for those who were persecuted and survived in 1945,” said Guenter Dworek, of Germany‘s Lesbian and Gay Association. “That is very bitter.”

He said the last ex-prisoner that his group knows of died in 2005.

Wowereit echoed his regret over the time it took to honor the Nazis’ gay victims.

“That is symptomatic of a postwar society which simply kept quiet about a group of victims, which … contributed to these victims being discriminated against twice,” he said.

Few gays convicted by the Nazis came forward after World War II because of the stigma attached to homosexuality. The law used against them remained on the books in West Germany until 1969, and Dworek said there were 50,000 convictions under the legislation after the war.

Not until 2002 did the German parliament issue a formal pardon for homosexuals convicted under the Nazis. One reason it took so long was because the legislation had been linked to a blanket rehabilitation of 22,000 Wehrmacht deserters — a move many conservatives opposed.

The effort to get a memorial built started in 1992, and a 1999 parliament decision to build the memorial to the Holocaust‘s 6 million Jewish victims also called for “commemorating in a worthy fashion the other victims of the Nazis.” In 2001, Jewish and Gypsy leaders backed an appeal for a monument to the gay victims.

After lawmakers approved its construction, a jury picked the winning design in early 2006 out of 17 design proposals.

The federal government financed the $945,660 building costs, while Berlin’s city government provided the site.

The designers’ original plan to feature only a video of two men kissing ran into criticism that lesbians were left out. Last year, a compromise was reached to change the memorial’s video every two years, allowing lesbian couples to be shown in the future.

The first film — a repeating clip of two men kissing, shot at the site of the memorial before it was built — was done by photographer Robby Mueller and directed by Denmark’s Thomas Vinterberg.

“It was quite important to have a direct imagery of a love scene, a passionate scene … because that is the main problem in homophobia,” designer Elmgreen told AP Television News. “You can get acceptance on an abstract level, but they don’t want to look at us.”

Germany has allowed gay couples to seal their partnerships at registry offices since 2001, although the law stops short of offering formal marriage. Berlin has a large gay community, as do other major German cities, such as Cologne and Hamburg.

The memorial to the Nazis’ Jewish victims and the new monument will soon be joined by a third memorial honoring the Roma and Sinti, or Gypsy, victims. Some 220,000 to 500,000 Gypsies were killed during the Holocaust.

Work begins this year on that memorial, also in Tiergarten park.

“We stand stunned before the brutality with which the Nazis threatened, persecuted and destroyed all those who did not correspond to their inhuman ideology,” Neumann said.

“The experience of war and Holocaust, state terror and tyranny, puts on us Germans a special responsibility to protect freedom and human rights.”


Vast Nazi archive opens to public

holocaust-files.jpg

By ARTHUR MAX, Associated Press Writer

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands – After more than 60 years, Nazi documents stored in a vast warehouse in Germany were unsealed Wednesday, opening a rich resource for Holocaust historians and for survivors to delve into their own tormented past.

The treasure of documents could open new avenues of study into the inner workings of Nazi persecution from the exploitation of slave labor to the conduct of medical experiments. The archive’s managers planned a conference of scholars next year to map out its unexplored contents.

The files entrusted to the International Tracing Service, an arm of the International Committee of the Red Cross, have been used until now to help find missing persons or document atrocities to support compensation claims. The U.S. government also has referred to the ITS for background checks on immigrants it suspected of lying about their past.

Inquiries were handled by the archive’s 400 staff members in the German spa town of Bad Arolsen. Few outsiders were allowed to see the actual documents, which number more than 50 million pages and cover 16 linear miles of gray metal filing cabinets and cardboard binders spread over six buildings.

On Wednesday, the Red Cross and the German government announced that the last of the 11 countries that govern the archive had ratified a 2006 agreement to open the files to the public for the first time.

“We are there. The doors are open,” said ITS director Reto Meister, speaking by telephone from the Buchenwald concentration camp where he was visiting with a delegation of U.S. congressional staff members.

Survivors have pressed for decades to open the archive, unhappy with the minimal responses — usually in form letters — from the Red Cross officials responding to requests for information about relatives.

“We are very anxious,” said David Mermelstein, 78, an activist for survivors’ causes in Miami, Fla., who wants to scour the files for traces of his two older brothers whom he last saw as he passed through a series of concentration camps.

“Now I hope we will be able to get some information. We have been waiting, and time is not on our side,” said the retired businessman.

The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington and the Yad Vashem Memorial in Jerusalem began receiving digital copies of the entire archive in August, allowing survivors and historians more access points.

Izzy Arbeiter, 82, the head of a survivor’s organization in the area of Boston, Mass., said he hoped to go to the museum next month to browse the files.

“My goodness, I don’t know where I would start, there are so many things I am interested in,” he said. “The history of my family, of course. My parents. One of my brothers is missing. We never knew what happened to him.”

Yad Vashem said the opening of the archive was “a breakthrough” for survivors and others.

“Our understanding and knowledge of the personal story of the Holocaust will be deepened,” said Yad Vashem’s chairman Avner Shalev.

The records are unlikely to change the general story of the Holocaust and the Nazi era, probably the most intensely researched 12-year period of the 20th century.

But its depth of detail and original documentation will add texture to history’s worst genocide, and is likely to fuel a revival of academic interest in the Holocaust.

Among its files, seen by The Associated Press during repeated visits to Bad Arolsen in the last year, are the list of deportees from the Netherlands to Auschwitz on which Anne Frank‘s name appears, the list of employees of Oskar Schindler’s factory who were sheltered from death, medical records showing the number of lice on the heads of prisoners, the list of inmates evacuated by the Nazis from the Neuengamme labor camp who later died on prisoner boats mistakenly bombed by the British air force.

Defying its orderly appearance, the archive is a labyrinth of paper that has never been organized by a historian or even by a professionally trained archivist. Its main database comprises 50 million entries of names, often duplicated in different spellings, referring to 17.5 million victims of Nazi persecutions.

The Bad Arolsen facility, which has received 50 applications this month alone from researchers and institutions seeking to examine the archive, has opened a visitors room with 10 computer terminals to enable searches of files that have been scanned. But less than half of the 50 million pages have been digitized and are available on computer.

Though the archives are now open to the public, Erich Oetiker, the ITS deputy director, said anyone seeking specific information would need professional assistance and all visitors are asked to make an appointment in advance.

While it is not set up to receive unannounced visitors off the street, he said, “we will refuse nobody, but we have very limited staff to provide support.” Guided tours are also available.

Visitors have to show ID and cannot access a special category of documents — correspondences between the ITS and private or official inquirers that are less than 25 years old. Researchers must sign a waiver stating that they are personally responsible for respecting privacy laws.

The ITS gets about 700 requests each month for information about relatives, and has not yet cleared away a backlog of inquiries that reached nearly half a million a few years ago.

The Tracing Service, the Washington museum and Yad Vashem intend to hire new staff to help to ferret out specific documents.

“The challenge now is organizing the material in such a way that people can easily find what they want and what they need,” said Paul Shapiro, director of the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the Washington museum.

The museum took the first step by creating a database to search an inventory of more than 21,000 collections of documents, each ranging a few pages to thousands.

Allied forces began collecting the documents even before the end of the war, and eventually entrusted them to the Red Cross. The archive has been governed since 1955 by a multinational commission that normally met once a year.

Access to the archives had been closely guarded by Red Cross officials who viewed requests for academic information as a distraction from what they saw as their humanitarian task of answering requests about individuals.

In 2001 the State Department, urged on by the Holocaust museum, began pushing the 11-member governing commission to open the doors to the rapidly dying survivor population and for research.

The decision was adopted in May 2006, but it took 19 months to complete the required ratification process.

_____

Investigative researcher Randy Herschaft contributed to this report in New York.

**********************

Vast Nazi archive opens to public

 

The archive at Bad Arolsen - 28/11/2007

The archive contains details on the fate of millions of the Nazi’s victims

A vast archive of wartime German documents on the Nazi Holocaust has been opened to the public. The 47m documents, kept in Germany, contain detailed records on 17.5m forced labourers, concentration camp victims and political prisoners.

Previously, the files were only used to trace missing persons, reunite families and provide information for compensation claims.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) manages the files.

The whole archive takes up some 26km (16 miles) of shelving in the town of Bad Arolsen in western Germany.

Minute details

The files are not expected to shed dramatic new light on the Nazi regime – already one of the most researched periods of modern history.

But it will provide historians with more details about the murder and exploitation of millions of Jews, Roma (Gypsies) and other victims.

The Nazis kept records on the smallest details – from the number of lice on a prisoner’s head to the exact moment of their execution.

Allied forces began gathering the records from concentration camps and other Nazi prisons as they swept across Europe at the end of World War II.

The move to open the archive came after the last of the 11 countries that sit on the body managing the archive ratified a 2006 agreement to allow public access.

“I would like to invite all researchers to make use of this, and work through this dark chapter of German history,” said Guenter Gloser, Germany’s deputy foreign minister for Europe.


Labels … Let us Reflect on them …

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Krystalnacht – The Night of the Broken Glass…
The Beginning of The Holocaust

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Work Makes You Free …

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A Survivor from Buchenwald

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Yad Vashem – Jerusalem Holocaust Memorial

 

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Auschwitz – Concentration Camp

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Red Ribbon

The Red Ribbon – Synonymous for AIDS

Pride Flag

The Pride Flag – Proud Symbol for all things Gay

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The Names Project AIDS Memorial Quilt – For all those who died from AIDS
My friends,My family, My brothers and sisters…

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The JEW – The Star of David used during the Holocaust …
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You who live safe
In your warm houses,
You who find, returning in the evening,
Hot food and friendly faces:
Consider if this is a man
Who works in the mud
Who does not know peace
Who fights for a scrap of bread
Who dies because of a yes and a no.
Consider if this is a woman,
Without hair and without name
With no more strength to remember,
Her eyes empty and her womb cold
Like a frog in winter

Meditate that this came about:
I commend these words to you.
Carve them in your hearts
At Home, in the street,
Going to bed, rising;
Repeat them to your children,

Or may your house fall apart,
May illness impede you,
May your children turn their faces from you.

Primo Levi

Survival in Auschwitz

 

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The Homosexual – Also Used during the Holocaust …

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A Young Man – Hungarian Jewish Boy –
From Fateless, the Motion Picture

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The Label Chart Used By the Nazi Party within
the Death Camps and Concentration Camps to
Identify people…
Location, Ethnicity, Area, Orientation, Religious Affiliation

 

There weren’t only Jews in the Camps…

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The ACT UP slogan for Gay and AIDS circa 1980

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What Would Jesus Do???

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This is my Label – I earned every hour of it, with Pride…

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We Should Be Proud, but we should remember what labels have done to millions world wide over the Decades. I think it is time to move past them, to stop labeling and Outing people. I think we need to learn to live together PEACEFULLY in order to stop the killing of ALL people around the world…

THAT WE SHOULD REMEMBER – SO THAT WE NEVER FORGET!!


Quiet time …

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“God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.”

1 John 1:5-7

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The Pontiff in Winter, John Paul II. And the candle lit tonight to bring my prayers to heaven above us. There is much to be grateful for and much to pray for this night. May the Lord hear us and grant us our petitions. We ask these and all things through Christ our Lord who gives all that is good.

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O God, my heart is the altar
and my love for you is the flame:
I’ll keep the fire burning for you, Lord,
And I will rejoice in your name

Hess – Our Daily Bread Sunday August 12th


We Have Failed to Remember …

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Writing along the lines starting at my last post, “Custodians of a Living Earth,” we take a more serious look at the past for guidance for the future. With all the wars in the world and all the conflict in many areas of the world like the Middle East, Asia, Africa and Iraq and Afghanistan:

“We have Failed to Remember and We have Failed in Never letting this Happen Again.” 

I have updated my header with images from that period of time. I happen to have spent an entire semester last Fall 2006 studying the Holocaust. We watched film after film, looking at raw data and Nazi history. I read “Night” by Elie Wiesel and “Survival in Auschwitz” by Primo Levi and I visited the Holocaust Memorial Museum here in Montreal and these numbers come from research notes from our class. My goal here is to remind you that we may not call it Holocaust today, Some use the term “Genocide” and millions of people are dying all over the world by war, conflict, division, famine, disasters and so forth and so on…

It Falls to Us to make a Difference, I Wonder if We are Able???
And do We care to even Try? We Must DO there is no Try !!!

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Auschwitz-Birkenau

The largest Nazi extermination camp.

  • Location: Oswiecim, Poland
  • Established: May 26th1940
  • Liberation: January 27th, 1945, by the Soviet Army.
  • Estimated number of victims: 2,1 to 2,5 million (This estimated number of death is considered by historians as a strict minimum. The real number of death is unknown but probably much higher, maybe 4 millions)

Belzec
From march 1942 until early 1943, it is estimated that about 600,000 Jews were murdered in Belzec extermination camp.

Chelmno:
C
helmno, also known as Kulmhof, was a small town roughly 50 miles from the city of Lodz, Poland. It was here that the first mass killings of Jews by gas took place as part of the ‘Final Solution’.

Majdanek
The killing operations began in Majdanek in April 1942 and ended in July 1944. Majdanek also provided slave labor for munitions works and Steyr-Daimler- Puch weapons factory. The estimated number of deaths is 360,000, including Jews, Soviet POWs and Poles.

Sobibor
Sobibor was the second extermination camp to come into operation in the Aktion Reinhard program. Estimated number of deaths: 250,000, the majority being Jews.

Treblinka
Opening for “business” on July 23, 1942, with the beginning of the evacuation of the Warsaw ghetto, some 245,000 Warsaw Jews and 112,000 Jews from other places in the Warsaw district were murdered in Treblinka by September 21. 337,000 Jews from the Radom district, 35,000 from the Lublin district and 107,000 from the Bialystok district also met their death in Treblinka with 738,000 Jews who had been residents of the General Gouvernement. From outside Poland many thousands of Jews were transported to and killed in Treblinka: 7.000 from Slovakia, 8,000 from Theresienstadt concentration camp, 4,000 Jews from Greece, and 7,000 Jews from the Macedonia portion of Bulgaria. In addition to the Jews, some 2,000 gypsies were killed in Treblinka.

 


Remembering John Paul II

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Yad Vashem – Jerusalem 

You who live safe
In your warm houses,
You who find, returning in the evening,
Hot food and friendly faces:
Consider if this is a man
Who works in the mud
Who does not know peace
Who fights for a scrap of bread
Who dies because of a yes and a no.
Consider if this is a woman,
Without hair and without name
With no more strength to remember,
Her eyes empty and her womb cold
Like a frog in winter

 

Meditate that this came about:
I commend these words to you.
Carve them in your hearts
At Home, in the street,
Going to bed, rising;
Repeat them to your children,

 

Or may your house fall apart,
May illness impede you,
May your children turn their faces from you.

 

Primo Levi

 

Survival in Auschwitz

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“You brought to many comfort
True shepherd of your flock.
Hallmarks of your wisdom shone
With kindness entwined –
A loving knot.

So many on our planet loved
Your charity of ways.
Your path through life
Showed us well –
How not to fall astray.

Let’s take the teachings from your reign
Let’s not forget the lessons.
Let’s ever remember your inspirations
Came directly from –
Our Father in Heaven.”

Prayer by Susan Kramer


UNESCO committee renames Auschwitz

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By RAY LILLEY, Associated Press Writer 21 minutes ago

WELLINGTON, New Zealand – UNESCO officially renamed the Auschwitz death camp in Poland Thursday to reflect the German Nazi role, and added seven new sites to its world heritage registry, including ancient ruins in Iraq.

The U.N. agency’s World Heritage Committee did not mention the war in Iraq but said it had listed ruins in the city of Samarra as “in danger.” Considered a holy city by Shiite Muslims, Samarra has been the target of attacks. Earlier this month insurgents blew up the minarets of its Askariya shrine.

Auschwitz now will be known as “Auschwitz-Birkenau. German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp (1940-1945),” said Roni Amelan, a spokesman for the committee. Previously the camp was listed on UNESCO’s world heritage registry as the “Auschwitz Concentration Camp.”

Poland requested the change to ensure that future generations understand it had no role in the camp established by Adolf Hitler‘s forces during their brutal occupation of the country.

Polish officials have complained that Auschwitz is sometimes referred to as a “Polish concentration camp,” a phrase they fear may be misleading to younger generations who may not associate the camp with Nazi Germany.

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The Nazis killed more than 1 million people at the camp outside the city of Oswiecim and nearby Birkenau, the site of the main gas chambers and crematoriums.

Most of those killed were European Jews, although Poles, Gypsies and others also were gassed or died from starvation, disease and forced labor during its roughly five years of operation.

The camp was made a World Heritage site by the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in 1979.

The ruins in Samarra stretch along the eastern bank of the Tigris river and include the 9th century Great Mosque with its 170-foot-tall spiral minaret.

Measuring about 26 miles long and 5 miles wide, the huge site “testifies to the architectural and artistic innovations that developed there and spread to the other regions of the Islamic world and beyond,” the committee said.

The other sites include the Lope-Okanda landscape of Gabon, the Richtersveld mountainous desert of South Africa, the rock carvings of Namibia’s Twyfelfontein region and 1,800 fortified tower houses in China’s Guangdong province.

Three natural sites — the Teide National Park on the island of Tenerife, ancient beech forests in central Europe and Switzerland’s high Alps site of Jungfrau-Aletsch Bietschhorn — also were named.

The committee, meeting this week in the New Zealand city of Christchurch, was considering dozens of other applications for additions to its list of natural and cultural treasures.

___

On the Net:

http://www.unesco.org

http://www.auschwitz.org


Construction To Start On Berlin Memorial To Gay Victims Of Nazis

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A very good film about the Nazi’s and the Homosexual Story see
Paragraph 175

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

Posted: June 4, 2007 – 1:00 pm ET

(Berlin) After nearly four years of delays construction will begin this year on a monument to honor gays and lesbians persecuted by the Nazis. Final approval of the design was made on Monday the government announced.

A government committee approved the design by Danish-born Michael Elmgreen and Norwegian native Ingar Dragset last year but until now could not agree on minor changes for the memorial.

It will be a gray concrete slab, with a window allowing visitors to view a film projected inside showing gay men and lesbians kissing.

The statement said that the memorial will be completed later in the year at a cost of slightly over $800,000.

It will sit on the edge of Tiergarten Park near the memorial to the six-million Jews who died in the Holocaust.

The exact number of gay killed by the Nazis may never be known. Adolf Hitler declared homosexuality an aberration that threatened the German race. Some 50,000 homosexuals were convicted and an estimated 10,000 to 15,000 gay men were deported to concentration camps, where few survived.

The Nazi law against homosexuality remained on the books in West Germany until 1969.

In 2002 the German parliament issued a formal pardon for gays convicted under the Nazis.

There also is a monument to gay holocaust victims is in San Francisco.

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©365Gay.com 2007


Bhaddekaratta Sutta

Buddha with a view

‘Do not pursue the past.
Do not lose yourself in the future.
The past no longer is.
The future has not yet come.
Looking deeply at life as it is
in the very here and now,
the practitioner dwells
in stability and freedom.
We must be diligent today.
To wait until tomorrow is too late.
Death comes unexpectedly.
How can we bargain with it?
The sage calls a person who knows
how to dwell in mindfulness
night and day
‘one who knows
the better way to live alone.’

Text: Adapted from the Bhaddekaratta Sutta,
translated by Thich Nhat Hanh
Seen over at: All Things But None