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Nazi Ideology and Victims of the Holocaust and Nazi Persecution

Dr. Meinecke spoke to North Carolina teachers at the Museum in November 2002. He presents this material at many of the Museum's teacher training programs on-site and around the nation. In addition to video of the actual workshop session, segments include historical and artifact photographs, text, and links to related sites within the Museum's website.

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Nazi Ideology and the Persecution of Germans


For the Nazis, the national “folk” community or “Volksgemeinschaft” was a community of racially superior individuals who accepted and obeyed Nazi ideology. The Nazis demanded the German public’s unconditional obedience, and they tolerated no criticism, dissent, or nonconformity.

View the Nazi Persecution of Homosexuals 1933-1945 Online Exhibition

Population Policy and Homosexuals in Germany

In 1936, the Gestapo (Secret State Police) established a central office to investigate homosexuals.

It was called: The Reich Central Office for the Combating of Homosexuality and Abortion

The linking of homosexuality and abortion reflected the Nazi concern with expanding the population of "racially acceptable" Germans.

Some leading Nazis feared that the relative shortage of men in Germany and the possible size of the homosexual population would seriously hinder the expansion of the German population into eastern Europe. 

German Male Homosexuals

About 50,000 German men were convicted under Paragraph 175 of the German criminal code.

Between 5,000 and 15,000 German homosexual men were confined in Nazi concentration camps.

The 1935 version of Paragraph 175 remained in effect in Germany until 1969.

Even after liberation, homosexual men faced prosecution under German law.

Workshop Video

  • “... is another group who would otherwise be racially acceptable Germans.”

  • “Jehovah’s Witnesses wear the purple triangle.”

  • “The real impetus for combating homosexuality...was population policy.”

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Supporting Media

  • A group of Jehovah's Witnesses in their camp uniforms after liberation. These men were imprisoned in the Niederhagen bei Wewelsburg concentration camp. —Kreismuseum Wewelsburg

  • Portrait of a Berlin gay couple. —Schwules Museum

  • Mug shot of homosexual Auschwitz prisoner: Walter Peters, medical doctor, born Oct. 1, 1890, in Nakel, arrived to Auschwitz Oct. 10, 1941, and died there Oct. 15, 1941. —Panstwowe Muzeum w Oswiecim-Brzezinka

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