What did the Nazis ever do for us?

A fairly innocent post today – referencing an exhibition currently happening in Brighton, about the fate of the lgbt minority under the Third Reich – prompts one rather timid regular reader to ask, quite genuinely, whether the Nazis were really as bad as made out when it comes to sexual issues.

Which, following on from yesterday’s do at the United Nations Association, did cause me to think just a little bit.

Let’s start with the obvious. No: this is not a post arguing the merits of Nazism. Not in the least.

Its more in the spirit of “services to pedantry” – and also following up the point that if we are to campaign effectively on any issue, we need to understand it accurately, as opposed to tilting at its shadow (otherwise, the cliches that rise up around it).

So. I have no special knowledge one way or the other on this topic. Yes. I know that the Nazis were utterly despicable when it came to issues of race. And i had always assumed similar around lgbt. Mel Brooks may have something to answer for there!

All that pink triangle stuff…

My reader suggests, though, that when it came down to it, the Nazis did not have a programme of extermination in place for lgbt folk: merely containment.

If true – and i repeat, i have no idea whether they are accurate or just imagining this – then while Nazis remain pretty low on the pecking order, they are possibly a notch or two above a fair few African and Asian states, as well as places like Saudi Arabia.

Easy cliché. That’s the issue. It would be nice if the world DID split into two thoroughly opposed camps: on the one side, all the virtues. On t’other, all the vices. But it doesn’t, as discussion of religion at yesterday’s meeting also highlighted.

For some of the most tolerant folk on the planet are religious. As are some of the most intolerant.

The push back towards “traditional” (for which, read “bigoted”) values on lgbt seems to be headed right now by Russia…not best known for its religiosity…while China does not help.

All very puzzling. As for those pesky Nazis: well, if it weren’t for the fact it is allegedly all myth anyway, they might just have scored some brownie points for being in favour of vegetarianism. But that appears to be a mis-hear…and all they really liked was “arianism”.

Sheesh…it is entirely possible that they were in favour of SOMETHING we also favour.

By contrast, the Greeks in the 4th and 5tyh century BC were pretty good on gay rights. Or rather, they’d probably not have recognised them as such at all. They just mostly reckoned shagging and/or falling in love with your best same sex friend was perfectly OK.

Nah. The problem with people of that time and place was while they were pretty sound on the lgbt thing, it was women and, er, slaves they had little time for, politically. And as for Sparta!

Recent films featuring well-oiled muscly men aside…they could possibly have taught Germany a thing or too about fascist authoritarianism. I doubt we’d have enjoyed it much.

Ah, well. Its a question…and one i’d enjoy being enlightened on.

jane xx


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