The Last Pink Triangle Holocaust Survivor Just Died

At age 20, openly gay German-resident Rudolf Brazda witnessed Hitler rise to power. By age 29, the Nazi any-gay law known as “Paragraph 175? declared Brazda and other homosexuals a threat, and so they shipped him and other gays off to the Buchenwald concentration camp where he became prisoner 7952 and got a pink triangle slapped onto his uniform. He survived the labor camp where 56,000 out of 238,000 prisoners died from execution, exhaustion, or illness. And ever since, he has spent his life attending gay celebrations and commemorations of gay Holocaust victims. Yesterday, the 98-year-old survivor died quietly in his sleep. His cremains will rest alongside his partner of 50+ years, Edward Mayer, who passed in 2003. Luckily, Brazda published a book of his experiences just before he died so that his memory will live on.


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  • Thomas

    So sad.

    An era just ended.

  • egoiste

    honestly, sweety, I love the cream innuendo there but cremate is to cremains

  • Daniel Villarreal

    @egoiste: Oops. Even though resting next to your boyfriend for an eternity sounds nice, the innuendo was quite accidental, I assure you. We have corrected the misspelling.

  • Fitz

    What a wonderful use of a lifetime.

  • Brad

    Queerty Thanks for this amazing story. Stuff like this is what i love to read and see. Now to see how to get my hands on an English version of that book.

  • Kevin from Concord N.H.


  • Carl

    Sad. BTW, I think you mean anti-gay……. not any gay.

  • Dave

    God rest his soul. I think they suffered the most.

    I know this is going to sound self-serving. But we need to preserve these stories from the past. I have written a novel based on true events of a young boy who survived the Nazis’ terror. It is called “Butterfly Dream” and can be found at

    I hope someone is interested in reading it. I think it is important that we know what our collective past was like.

    Dave Lara

  • The crustybastard

    Unlike others who survived the Nazi concentration camps, gays were regarded by their “liberators” as criminals justifiably incarcerated under the German penal code. They were forced back into prisons to serve their sentences and not regarded as being entitled to Holocaust Survivor’s benefits until very recently.

    This fact goes largely unmentioned in the media, but deserves to be reported.

  • babo

    @Thecrustybastard: Thanks for that information! If I also remember well, the majority of them were unable to claim survivors benefits because being gay was illegal back then. I remember doing a project about Germany’s gays for my 10th grade English class and also found out that the majority of the guards at concentration camps would rather rape gay inmates than Jews or others as well.

    There was a wonderful film that I saw that interviewed a lot of these gay survivors, but I forgot its name. It basically was how progressive Berlin was before the rise of Hitler and how many were treated. This is a dark period of history that mustn’t be forgotten.

  • xander

    Brazda’s memoir has only been published in French and Portuguese, so far as I can tell from French wikipédia. A bio in German (his native, preferred language) also exists. I can’t find any book or translation in English listed.

    When time allows, I’ll research further.
    A sad day, and a reminder of the long history of oppression and violence against our own kind.

  • Taliaferro

    May he rest in peace. In some ways, this is the end of an age.

  • John

    wow brought a tear to my eye, it’s so strange thinking about it

  • OneVoice

    Yet another incompetent post from DANIEL VILLARREAL.

  • Dan

    Sleep well, Rudolph. And thank you for all that you’ve done to make the world a happier, better place.

  • GayGOP

    Rudolph, you have lived a life of greatness by merely being sent to those evil places, and you survived. May God have mercy on your soul, so you can rest in the peace that is your right, not only next to your boyfriend on earth, but also in heaven, where I suspect you are.

  • Alan

    A correction – Paragraph 175 was not a Nazi-era law, but one that dated back to 1869 in the Kingdom of Prussia. It also stayed on the books – and was used to prosecute gays as well – in BOTH East and West Germany until it was finally repealed in the late 1960s. The continued criminalization of homosexuality in the Germanys was one reason why it took so long for pink triangle survivors to get recognition and inclusion in Holocaust memorials. This information is all in the documentary “Paragraph 175.”

  • Jakey

    Sad to hear, although I’m glad this was how he got to close out his life. And I’m very glad we finally woke up and started documenting this aspect of the Holocaust before it was too late, and that people like him were tirelessly reminding us of it. So grateful for this man.

  • Niki

    What’s the name of his book? Books from holocaust survivors are so interesting. Elie Weisel’s Night is one of my favorites.

  • ewe

    Thank you.

  • just sayin

    While you wait for his book to be translated into English, check out “I Pierre Seel, Deported Homosexual” from Basic Books. The story of another survivor, and also very captivating reading.

  • Carson

    To whoever clicked ‘LOL’ – Not funny.

  • Jim in St Louis

    Can Queerty post anything without mis-spellings and syntax errors?

  • Ben

    As reads on the Pink Triangle Memorial in Sydney:

    We remember you who have suffered or died at the hands of others, Women who have loved women; Men who have loved men; And all those who have refused the roles others have expected us to play. Nothing shall purge your deaths from our memories.

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