What was it like in the camps?
10. THE WAR AND THE CAMPS
The war years witnessed a rise in concentration camp populations as the Gestapo seized increasing numbers of "enemies of the state." In July 1940, SS and police chief Himmler directed officers of the Criminal Police that "in future, after their release from prison, all homosexuals who have seduced more than one partner are to be placed in preventive detention (Vorbeugungshaft)" at a concentration camp. This radical step, intended to stop the homosexual "contagion," meant that thousands of homosexual men convicted under Paragraph 175 whose police histories recorded multiple partners faced indefinite incarceration in the camps.
Once in the camps, the fragmentary record suggests, homosexual men had short life expectancies and high death rates from overwork, starvation, physical brutality, or outright murder.
Thank you for visiting the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum website.
Please take 5-10 minutes to answer a few short questions about your experience using the website today.