The Shmooze

Last ‘Pink Triangle’ Holocaust Survivor Dies at 98

By Michael Kaminer

  • Print
  • Share Share
Getty Images

Another living link to the Holocaust was lost last week when the last surviving man to have worn the pink triangle — sewn onto concentration camp uniforms to signify homosexuality — died at the age of 98.

The New York Times reported that Rudolf Brazda, who had been imprisoned in Buchenwald, died in Alsace, France, where he had lived since the camp’s liberation, in 1945.

It was only in May 2008, “when the German National Monument to the Homosexual Victims of the Nazi Regime was unveiled in Berlin’s Tiergarten park — opposite the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe — that Mr. Brazda became known as probably the last gay survivor of the camps,” the Times said. “Until he notified German officials after the unveiling, the Lesbian and Gay Federation believed there were no other pink-triangle survivors.”

According to the Jerusalem Post, Brazda was incarcerated in 1937 for six months because of Germany’s anti-gay Paragraph 175 law. A Nazi collaborator denounced him to the authorities as engaging in “unnatural lewdness.” Four years later, he was again jailed and convicted under the anti-gay statute. After serving a prison sentence in 1941, he was deported to Buchenwald, where an estimated 650 gay men were imprisoned, the Post said.

More than 50,000 men in Germany were arrested because of alleged violations of Paragraph 175 during the Nazi period (1933-1945), according to the Post. “I didn’t understand what was happening, but what could I do? Under Hitler you were powerless,” Brazda said in a 2010 video interview with Yagg, a French gay website, the Post reported.

After the Holocaust, Brazda relocated to Alsace, where he lived with his partner, Edi Mayer, for more than three decades. Mayer died in 2003, the Post stated.

This past April, France appointed Brazda a Knight of the Legion of Honor. “Germany chose not to award Brazda the Federal Cross of Merit. Brazda did not receive monetary compensation from the German government for his incarceration in Buchenwald,” the Post said. “Successive post-Holocaust German governments resisted paying financial compensation for gay victims of the Nazi period.”


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Rudolf Brazda, Pink Triangle, Homosexuality, Holocaust

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • "I’ve never bought illegal drugs, but I imagine a small-time drug deal to feel a bit like buying hummus underground in Brooklyn."
  • We try to show things that get less exposed to the public here. We don’t look to document things that are nice or that people would like. We don’t try to show this place as a beautiful place.”
  • A new Gallup poll shows that only 25% of Americans under 35 support the war in #Gaza. Does this statistic worry you?
  • “You will stomp us into the dirt,” is how her mother responded to Anya Ulinich’s new tragicomic graphic novel. Paul Berger has a more open view of ‘Lena Finkle’s Magic Barrel." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: Hundreds of protesters marched through lower Manhattan yesterday demanding an end to American support for Israel’s operation in #Gaza.
  • Does #Hamas have to lose for there to be peace? Read the latest analysis by J.J. Goldberg.
  • This is what the rockets over Israel and Gaza look like from space:
  • "Israel should not let captives languish or corpses rot. It should do everything in its power to recover people and bodies. Jewish law places a premium on pidyon shvuyim, “the redemption of captives,” and proper burial. But not when the price will lead to more death and more kidnappings." Do you agree?
  • Slate.com's Allison Benedikt wrote that Taglit-Birthright Israel is partly to blame for the death of American IDF volunteer Max Steinberg. This is why she's wrong:
  • Israeli soldiers want you to buy them socks. And snacks. And backpacks. And underwear. And pizza. So claim dozens of fundraising campaigns launched by American Jewish and Israeli charities since the start of the current wave of crisis and conflict in Israel and Gaza.
  • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.