12.02.2009

Hitler's Other Scapegoated Group


I made a quick detour on my way home from a meeting downtown earlier this week to walk through a fascinating exhibit at the William Way Center. Entitled "Nazi Persecution of Homosexuals: 1933 - 1945," the exhibit tells the story of how male homosexuality was criminalized under Hitler. Hitler blamed the homosexuals for Germany's population decline; never mind that Germany had just lost 2 million men in the prime of their lives in World War I. He also accused gays of being subversive to the Aryan nation because of their propensity to form their own sub-groups; these accusations were grounds for arrest, abuse, and punishment via concentration camps. I guess you could call gays Hitler's other scapegoated group.

It never fails to astound me that these and other atrocities existed so recently in human history. I wonder what injustices we will be telling our grandkids that we allowed to take place in the earliest years of this century. Though the material was shocking, it was important for me to see; and it is important for us to be aware of the great evil we are capable of, so that we can be mindful to defeat it in our own lives and in our generation.

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