On facebook yesterday, at the page for the ”Soho Masses Community” group, Trish Fowlie wrote:
Let us remember Holocaust Memorial Day tomorrow (that is, Sunday 27th). I attended a service at an Anglican Church today, and was pleased that the minister had responded to my request to include the Men with the Pink Triangle in the prayers.
Let us remember, indeed. I offer for your consideration today, a posts on this theme that I have published previously, and another by Kittredge Cherry, at Jesus in Love.
The Priest With the Pink Triangle.
For the first post in my “queer modern heroes” series, I begin with someone most people have never heard of. (I’m not sure anyone even knows his name.) I begin with him because he represents a double martyrdom, martyred for his orientation, and also martyred for his faith. I choose him also precisely because he is anonymous, reminding us that in our own way, we are all called to our own heroism in the face of persecution, all called to be “martyrs” in the true, original sense – as witnesses to truth. I read this story in John McNeill’s “Taking a Chance on God“: McNeill got the story from Heinz Heger. These are McNeill’s words:
“I would like to end this reflection on the mature life of faith with the eyewitness account of a gay priest who was beaten to death in a German concentration camp during World War II because he refused to stop praying or to express contempt for himself. The story is recounted by Heinz Heger in his book “The Men With the Pink Triangle“, in which he he recalls what took place in the special concentration camp for gay men in Sachsenhausen (Sachsenhausen was a “level 3″ camp where prisoners were deliberately worked to death):
(also at Queering the Church, on a related theme: Lest We Forget: Remember the Ashes of Our Martyrs)
This day is commemorated on different dates in the UK, and the USA. From the other side of the Atlantic, for the American remembrance day in April, Kittredge Cherry reminded us at Jesus in Love:
Holocaust Remembrance: We All Wear the Triangle
Holy Priest Anonymous one of SachsenhausenBy William Hart McNichols ©
On Holocaust Remembrance Day we recall the genocide of 6 million Jews in state-sponsored extermination by Nazi Germany during World War II. The Nazis also murdered millions of people in other groups, including thousands of gay men and lesbians. Holocaust Remembrance Day, also known as Yom HaShoah, is April 11 this year.
One of those killed was an anonymous 60-year-old gay priest who died at the concentration camp in Sachsenhausen, Germany in 1940. Heinz Heger gives an eyewitness account in his book, “The Men with the Pink Triangle.” The priest was brutally beaten and tortured, and yet there was a moment of grace when a narrow beam of sunlight shone on the priest’s face. For a detailed account, visit:
The gay priest is honored in the icon above, “Holy Priest Anonymous one of Sachsenhausen” by Father William Hart McNichols, a renowned iconographer and Roman Catholic priest based in New Mexico.