The Nazi Era:
1933 – 1943

Paragraph 175a was created, punishing “qualified cases” as schwere unzucht (“severe lewdness”) with no less than one year and no more than ten years in the penitentiary. This included sexual relations with a subordinate or employee in a work situation, homosexual acts with men under the age of 21, and male prostitution. The definitions of these acts were used liberally and subjectively by law enforcement. “Unnatural fornication with a beast” was moved to Paragraph 175b.

Year Convictions (Adults) Convictions (Under 18)
1933 853 104
1934 948 121
1935 2106 257
1936 5320 481
1937 8271 973
1938 8562 974
1939 8274 689
1940 3773 427
1941 3739 687
1942 3963 N/A
1943 2218 N/A
Total 48,027 4,713

** No records were kept during the 2nd half of 1943, and the years of 1944 and 1945.

After World War II:

In Germany after the end of World War II, homosexuals continued to be hunted down, convicted and imprisoned under Paragraph 175 until its abolishment in 1994. The many arrests, lawsuits, and legal proceedings due to this law had serious consequences. In 1950 – 1951 alone the following occurred: “A nineteen-year-old jumped off the Goetheturm after having received a summons, another fled to South America, another to Switzerland, a dental technician and his friend poisoned themselves with coal gas. In total there were six known suicides. Many of the accused lost their jobs.”

Total 63,545

The Death Toll

No one knows how many homosexual men were killed by the Nazis before, during and after the war. The death toll for all inmates is 8 million. It is impossible to estimate how many of them were homosexuals. According to Hoess own estimate, he personally supervised the extermination of 2,000,000 homosexuals, Jews, Gipsies, communists, and Russian soldiers. This would imply that he alone could have killed at least 15,000 homosexuals; the figure often cited for the total number of homosexuals killed in the concentration camps. Concentration camp records were systematically destroyed by the Nazis, and surviving records are sparse and incomplete, so there are no reliable figures for how many men were dealt with under Hitler's "final solution" to "the homosexual problem". The estimate ranges from 430,000 (which is probably too high) to 10,000 (which is probably too low).

After almost 10 years of my own research together with accounts from pink triangle survivors combining the homosexual population of each country invaded by the Nazis from 1938 to 1941, the total number of homosexual men killed in concentration camps rages from 80,000 to 100,000 thousand. We will never know the exact number of homosexual victims. What we know for sure is that they were there. After the war, homosexuals were denied the reparations given by the German government to other groups, because they were still classified as criminals under German law. They were even denied state pensions to compensate for the amount of time spent in the concentration camps. They could be re-imprisoned for "repeat offenses,” and many were. They were also kept on the modern lists of "sex offenders." The humane institutions of every country have condemned the treatment of all of the victims — except for homosexuals. On annual days of mourning for the victims, few countries officially mourn for homosexuals. To the survivor's comment that "one day they were simply gone" we might add "and today are all but forgotten."

For more information about my research please contact me at

Yael Deynes.

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