Conference “History and memory of the persecution of homosexuals by the Nazis”: December 5, 2014

The Auschwitz Foundation – Remembrance of Auschwitz is organizing a round table on Friday December 5 from 5pm to 7pm on the question of the persecution of homosexuals during the Second World War.


Internment by the Nazis for cause of homosexuality is an historical reality and for a long time was occulted. Until recently, we even ignored the exact number of homosexuals deported to the Nazi camps because of their sexual orientation. It is only in the last twenty years that leading historical research has been published on the topic. Nevertheless, the history of the “pink triangles” remains still today – if not unbeknownst to the general public – prone to numerous confusions. This conference first aims to review historical knowledge: how and why were homosexuals persecuted by the Nazi regime in Germany? What was the situation in occupied countries? What status did homosexuals have in concentration camps?

This round table will then broach the question of the memory of the persecution of homosexuals. For several decades, activists and associations have campaigned for the recognition of homosexuals’ fate in the same way as other victims of Nazism. Yet, claiming the status as victim of Nazism was for a long time ill-received, as much by public authorities as by certain deportees (Jewish, political, members of the Resistance). In parallel, the persecution of homosexuals by the Nazi regime has become an element of the homosexual community’s recognition, the motif of the pink triangle even becoming the symbol for the emancipation of homosexuals in the 1970’s.
What are the various stages of the memorial construction regarding the persecution on the grounds of homosexuality? Where and how did it develop? What about Belgium?


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In order to answer these questions, we have the honour of welcoming two specialists:

  • Florence Tamagne, Professor of contemporary history at the Lille 3 University, has namely published Histoire de l'homosexualité en Europe: Berlin, Londres, Paris, 1919-1939 (Le Seuil, 2000); Mauvais genre? Une histoire des représentations de l'homosexualité (La Martinière, 2001); “La construction d'une mémoire historique homosexuelle”, in: Controverses (no. 2, June 2006); “La déportation des homosexuels durant la Seconde Guerre mondiale”, in: Revue d'éthique et de théologie morale (June 2006).
  • Régis Schlagdenhauffen, Doctor of sociology at the University of Strasbourg and the Humboldt University of Berlin. He won the Auschwitz Foundation Prize (2010) for his doctoral thesis, published the following year and titled Triangle rose: La persécution nazie des homosexuels et sa mémoire (Autrement, 2011). He is also the author of “Les lesbiennes sont-elles des victimes du nazisme? Analyse d’une controverse mémorielle”, Revue d’Allemagne (no. 42, 2010); “De l’oubli à la commémoration des victimes homosexuelles de la Déportation en France”, Revue des sciences sociales (no. 44, 2010).

This meeting will be moderated by Philippe Mesnard (Remembrance of Auschwitz / Blaise Pascal University – Clermont-Ferrand)

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Presentation page: front – back (PDF in Frech)



Practical details:

Friday December 5, 2014, from 5pm to 7pm
PointCulture Brussels
Rue Royale, 145 (entry by the boulevard Bischoffsheim)
1000 Brussels
Metro: lines 2 & 6 (Botanique); Trams: 92, 93; Bus: 61
Free admission – reservations required



For reservations please contact the Auschwitz Foundation – Remembrance of Auschwitz, Sarah Timperman:
Tel.: +32 (0)2 512 79 98 – Fax: +32 (0)2 512 58 84 – Contact by Email

Additional information

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