France - Germany

Last gay concentration camp survivor dies

AFP/John Macdougal

The last survivor of the Nazi persecution of homosexuals has died in France. Rudolf Brazda, who was interned in Buchenwald concentration camp for 32 months, was 98-years-old.


After serving two prison sentences for “debauchery between men”, Brazda was judged to be a repeat offender sent to Buchenwald where, like other gays, he was forced to wear a pink triangle.

The Nazis interned about 10,000 people for homosexuality, declaring it a disease which endangered the perpetuation of the German nation.

Brazda, a German-speaking Czech, was born in Saxony, deported to Czechoslovakia after serving his first prison sentence, then arrested again after Germany annexed the Sudetenland in 1938.

In Buchenwald, he said, he survived thanks to his friendship with a communist kapo (trustee prisoner) and “a bit more chance than others”.

He took French nationality in 1960, living in Alsace, but did not publicly reveal the reasons for his internment until 2008, when friends urged him to come out after the inauguration of a memorial to the Nazis’ gay victims in Berlin.

After that he spoke about his experiences in several schools in Alscace and was awarded the Légion d’honneur in April this year.

Elizabeth Ronzier from gay rights group Inter-LGBT told RFI that Brazda had been an important figure in helping to get recognition for homosexuals who were deported to Nazi concentration camps during the Second World War.

Some of his achievements included campaigning to get memorials for them built in both Berlin and the French city of Toulouse, she said.

According to his wishes, Brazda's body will be incinerated and his ashes placed next to those of Edouard Mayer, his life companion, who died in 2003.

The website Les Oublié-e-s de la mémoire (The forgotten), which campaigned for the recognition of the Nazis’ gay victims, is to organise a commemoration ceremony in September.

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