Rudolf Brazda, the last known survivor to be interned in a German concentration camp for being gay, has died aged 98.
Philippe Couillet, a friend of the deceased, is quoted by the AFP as saying that Brazda “passed on peacefully in his sleep at dawn on August 3″ in a hospital for the elderly in Bantzenheim, eastern France.
Rudolf Brazda was born to Czech parents in June 26 1913, the youngest of eight children, in Brossen in the central German state of Thuringia.
Even though homosexuality was technically illegal in Weimar Germany under Paragraph 175 of the German Criminal Code, Brazda lived a relatively open life prior to Hitler coming to power and even cohabited with his then partner, a man named Werner, whom he’d met aged 20 at a dance in Leipzig.
Brazda would later recount that, so tolerant was the culture of the time, he and Werner held a marriage ceremony with Brazda’s mother and siblings present. Their relationship, however, would be torn apart by the looming war when Werner was enlisted for military service. He would later die while still on active duty in 1940.
Germany’s tolerance was also quickly mutilated when the Nazis took power and began enforcing the country’s anti-gay laws. These laws were later expanded upon them to make homosexuality a felony. In a short space of time homosexuals in the country went from being able to live their lives relatively out in the open to, like so many others, being actively hunted.
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