Bryan Fischer boasts a huge radio audience, religious right fan base, and a dangerous obsession with homosexuality. Even when his propaganda is disproven by facts, he keeps right on repeating it, ad nauseam. There’s his constant conflation of homosexuality and pedophilia. And take this gem of a Tweet, for instance: “Drug Court a template for public policy on homosexuality? Rehabilitation rather than punishment.”
One particularly ugly canard, drawn from Scott Lively‘s discredited 1998 book The Pink Swastika, claims that gay men dominated the Nazi Party ranks and instituted many of the horrors of the Third Reich. The notion is so absurd even Lively’s absurd employer, the far-right American Family Association, distanced itself from the claim.
The demonstrably false claim serves several purposes for antigay activists like Fischer. For one, it turns gay men into jackbooted thugs rather than victims of the antigay right that they are today, not to mention in Nazi Germany, where tens of thousands were murdered or perished at concentration camps. It also justifies extreme antigay measures because we are defined as the moral descendants of the worst villains in history. Fischer and his far-right ilk view themselves as under siege, like Jews in Nazi Germany, but they also fancy themselves the conquering Army, led by General God.
Enter New York journalist Garrett Glaser, one of the first out TV news reporters in the U.S. and the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association Hall of Fame award winner for 2009. Happening across one of Fischer’s old broadsides,”The truth about homosexuality and the Nazi Party,” he thought to himself, “What a crock!” and did what good journalists do by seeking the truth. He sent the column off to the senior historian at the National Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., and requested an analysis.
A few weeks later, he received an email from historian Peter Black with a detailed destruction of the Fischer-Lively claims.
“This provides even more evidence that the Rev. Scott Lively and associates brazenly re-write history,” Glaser told Queerty. “What’s noteworthy here: the extent to which they will go” to defame us.
First, a few choice excerpts from Fischer’s thoroughly undocumented column — followed by the official refutation.
- …the Nazi Party began in a gay bar in Munich, and Ernst Roehm, Hitler’s right hand in the early days of Nazism, was well-known for his taste in young boys. William Shirer says in his definitive “Rise and Fall of the Third Reich,” not only that Roehm was “important in the rise of Hitler,” but also “like so many of the early Nazis, (he was) a homosexual.”
- Hitler’s Brown Shirts, the dreaded SA, better known as “Storm Troopers,” were the creation of another homosexual, Gerhard Rossbach, and Storm Troopers were almost exclusively homosexual. They also, sadly, comprised most of the leadership of the Hitler Youth, resulting in frequent instances of sexual molestation.
- The Brown Shirts were Hitler’s enforcers. According to Nazi historian Louis Snyder, Roehm recruited homosexuals into the SA because Roehm felt Germany needed “a proud and arrogant lot who could brawl, carouse, smash windows, kill and slaughter for the hell of it. Straights, in (Roehm’s) eyes, were not as adept in such behavior as practicing homosexuals.”
- Most of Hitler’s closest aides were homosexuals or sexual deviants. This circle included not only Roehm but the Hitler Youth leader, the Minister of Justice, the Minister of Economics, Hermann Goering (who may not have been homosexual but who liked to dress in drag, paint his nails and put rouge on his cheeks), his personal attorney and his bodyguards. Hitler himself likely functioned as a male prostitute in the days of his youth in Vienna.
- Heinrich Himmler, second in power only to Hitler, was publicly opposed to homosexuality but may have been a closet homosexual himself, and served Roehm faithfully and loyally until Roehm fell out of Hitler’s favor. Himmler was deeply immersed in the occult, as was Hitler, which led them ultimately to replace every Christian holiday on the German calendar with a pagan counterpart.
- There of course is no question that the Nazis rounded up effeminate homosexuals and a great many of them died in slave labor camps as a result of mistreatment and disease. Historians estimate that less than one percent of Europe’s homosexual community died at the hands of the Nazis. While even one such death is too many, this pales in comparison to the 85% of Europe’s Jews who, unlike homosexuals, were sent to gas chambers.
- Many of the guards and administrators responsible for concentration camp horrors were themselves homosexuals. Famous Nazi hunter Elie Weisel was sent to Auschwitz, where he discovered that the head of his part of the camp “loved children,” and observed that “there was a considerable traffic in young children among homosexuals there.”
- In some camps, SS guards would actually sponsor lotteries to see which of the “young attractive homosexuals” would go to whom, while at the same time, according to one historian, they “lashed out with special fury against those who showed effeminate traits.” A Pink Triangle survivor said, “The ones who were soft were the ones who suffered terribly.”
- Even today in America, it is chic in some homosexual circles for individuals to wear replicas of Nazi Germany uniforms, complete with iron crosses, storm trooper outfits, military boots and even swastikas.
The response from the Holocaust historian, in full:
Dear Mr. Glaser,
Thank you for your e-mail of June 5, 2015. Your inquiry was forwarded to the Division of the Senior Historian for a response.
1. With regard to the general thrust of the text that you sent us under the title, “The Truth About Homosexuality and the Nazi Party” there is no documentation to confirm that the Nazi policy towards homosexual acts (as they were labeled in those days) was governed by a Party distinction between those folks referred to in the text as “effeminate” and “masculine” homosexuals.
Even before the Nazis came to power, same gender sexual relations constituted a criminal offense under German law, though during the years of Germany’s first republic (1919-1933) only sexual intercourse or sexual exchanges aimed at a similar result constituted criminal behavior. In general, though not always, the police in the big cities, particularly Berlin and Hamburg, were relatively lax on enforcement of the law in cases that came to their attention, as long as the “offense” involved two consenting adults acting on their private time.
The Nazis shared the belief with many in the German population that same gender sexual relations were 1) unnatural and immoral; 2) undermined the cohesiveness of the family; 3) increased the habit and temptation to engage in other criminal behavior; 3) encouraged the seduction and corruption of minors; 4) and rendered public sector officials vulnerable to blackmail by foreign intelligence agents and (5) both public and private sector employees susceptible to using or demanding sexual favors in the workplace to obtain or grant discriminatory treatment in hiring, promoting, receiving assignments, rewarding and disciplining employees.
On a broader level, the Nazis also shared with many others among all classes of German society a notion that homosexuality undermined the vitality of the German male, and the capacity of Germans to stand up for themselves diplomatically or in war. Beyond this, the Nazis believed that homosexuals undermined the future of the German race by not devoting their sexual energy to reproduction. Even here, the Nazis had no exclusive ownership of this belief on this belief.
Hence when the Nazis came to power, over the first three years of Nazi rule, they 1) broadened the applicability of the law to criminalize even gestures without touching that might suggest a homosexual relationship or intent to engage in same-gender sex; 2) decreed stiffer penalties for persons convicted under the broader law; and 3) ordered more focused and consistent police enforcement of the law. Under Nazi rule, some 100,000 persons were arrested under the law; approximately 63,000 were convicted. Homosexual rights organizations were banned and their assets and publications confiscated, and past offenders, whether or not they had committed another crime, were sent to concentration camps, where hundreds, possibly thousands died under Nazi rule.
There is no reliable documentation that would suggest or confirm that, in applying the criminal statute the German judiciary and police made a legal distinction between the categories that are identified in the text that you have sent us.
Heinrich Himmler, the Reichsführer SS and Chief of German Police during the Nazi regime, believed that most homosexual activity was the consequence of experimentation or seduction and hence could be erased by discipline.
2. Among the other notions in the text that you sent us that find no confirmation in the historical record or are simply incorrect are the following:
There are no records of 40,000 “confessions of Nazi Party members to having engaged in same-gender sex.
There is no record to confirm that the Nazi Party was founded in a so-called gay bar.
While SA Chief of Staff Ernst Röhm did place on his staff individuals who were homosexuals — primarily because he had known them for years and could count on their personal loyalty to him — neither he nor the SA commanders ever recruited on this basis. Moreover, the SA chief of staff between 1925 and 1930, when Röhm was in Bolivia, was not a homosexual and did not recruit on this basis.
Hitler’s reason for having Röhm shot was not Röhm’s disloyalty to Hitler, but the demand of the German Army leadership, which feared the replacement of the professional army
by a People’s Army promoted by Röhm and the SA commanders, told Hitler that his continued rule depended upon removing the SA leadership.
Though open as one could be in those days about his sexual preferences, there is no reliable documentation to confirm that Röhm engaged in sexual acts with minors.
There is no documentation that would confirm that the killers on June 30 1934 of Röhm and the other victims, were, as a group, homosexuals, either openly or “in the closet.”
The three main conspirators — Himmler, Heydrich, and Goring — were not homosexuals, nor were the best known of the executioners, Josef Sepp Dietrich and Theodor Eicke.
There is no reliable documentation to confirm the statement that Hitler thought homosexuals would make suitable SA men because of a propensity to violence or because of any other reason.
The size of the SA in 1934 was about 4.0 million.
There is no reliable documentation that would confirm that Baldur von Schirach (Hitler Youth Leader), Franz Gürtner (Minister of Justice to 1941), Otto von Thierack (Minister of Justice (1942-1945) Hjalmar Schacht (Minister of Economics to 1938), Walter Funk (Minister of Economics,. 1938-1945), Hermann Göring, Hans Frank (Hitler’s personal lawyer up to 1939, or any of his personal bodyguards were gay.
There is no reliable documentation to confirm that Hitler worked as a male prostitute in Vienna.
While there is plenty of evidence that both Himmler and Hitler were implacably hostile to the Christian Churches and denominations, in particular the Catholic Church, there is no documentation that provides confirmation that either was, as the article says, “a closet homosexual”.
Jews and Christian clergy were indeed targeted by the Nazi regime, but not, as the article opines, in like ways. All Jews were targets; only those Christian clergy who failed to comply with Nazi secular law or who engaged in public opposition to the regime were targeted and only for as long as they engaged in these activities.
There is no reliable documentation that “the masculine homosexual movement” as phrased by the article, was responsible for the formation of the SA. The Nazi Party and SA had separate beginnings; the SA came into the Nazi movement as a more or less equal partner in the early 1920s. After Hitler came out of prison in 1925, the SA was completely and absolutely subordinate to the Nazi Party and its Führer.
Two-thirds of Europe’s Jews were killed in the Holocaust; less than half of them died in gas chambers.
While there were acts of same gender sex among prisoners — some consensual, some not–the existing documentary evidence does not confirm that “many of the guards and administrators responsible for the concentration camp horrors were themselves homosexuals.” After 1941, conviction under paragraph 175 (sexual deviation) for an SS man meant at a minimum expulsion from the SS and could carry a death sentence.
For more information about the situation of gay people under Nazi rule, please visit our website (www.ushmm.org).
I hope that this is helpful to you.
After reading Black’s refutation, the Nazis’ positions on homosexuality sound, well, a wee bit like Bryan Fischer and Scott Lively’s.
Clearly, Fischer and facts have never been bedfellows, so will this refutation from a beyond-reproach expert finally shut his pie-hole? We think not. After all, cockroaches can survive even nuclear attacks.