Gay and Lesbian persecution highlighted at NZ Holocaust Centre lecture

March 6, 2016 by Keren Cook
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The largely unspoken life stories of the persecution of gay men and lesbians were highlighted at an open lecture this weekend at the Holocaust Centre of New Zealand in Wellington.

William Spurlin

William Spurlin

U.K. professor, William Spurlin, visited the Holocaust Centre of New Zealand to offer focus and perspective on a gap this is often in our historical perspective: Lesbians and gay men under the Third Reich, in Nazi Germany.

Mr Spurlin, is a professor of English and a Director of Teaching and Learning for Arts and Humanities at Brunel University, London and has written widely on the politics of gender and sexual dissidence and is well-known for his work on queer theory.

Rick Sahar, Board member of the Holocaust Centre of New Zealand says: “It is extremely important to hear as many narratives as possible about the minorities that suffered during the Holocaust to really be able to appreciate the deep impact the Holocaust had on society.

“The horror of the Holocaust included the systemic persecution and murder of Gay men and Lesbians, Professor Spurlin’s lecture reminds us of the Third Reich’s inhumane war crimes against millions of innocent people.

“Sometimes our past is so painful and horrific it’d be easier to forget it but we must never forget. We must remind ourselves and our children of those people who were dehumanized and murdered because of who they were: it is our responsibility to not just remember but to retell their stories.”

Mr Sahar, welcomed anyone who had an interest in human rights and an interest in learning from the past to attend the lecture at the NZ Holocaust Centre in Webb Street.

The NZ Holocaust Centre, The Rule Foundation, Raye Freedman Trust and Rainbow Youth sponsored the lecture.


3 Responses to “Gay and Lesbian persecution highlighted at NZ Holocaust Centre lecture”
  1. Paul Winter says:

    Comparing the Nazi persecution of homosexuals to that of their persecution of Jews is false and hysterical. Homosexuals, communists and various other groups were discriminated against and were even killed. But the Nazis selected only two groups for extermination: the Jews and the Gypsies. The extermination of the Gypsies was nowhere near as thorough or as sadistic as the extermination program that Jews were subjected to.

    Nobody wishes to persecute people because of their sexuality. Nobody in their right mind would want a regime to drive a person to suicide as that genius Alan Turing was. But nobody in their right mind either would acquiesce to same sex marriage or for same sex couples to raise children. That is not being homophobic, but simply recognising that we do not need to change the marriage laws in Australia where homosexuals have equal rights and that no man can be a mother nor a woman a father, role models children need to develop in a healthy way.

    Complaining about a persecution that does not exist – unlike in mohammedan realms where homosexuals are publicly hanged or thrown off tall buildings – is merely a ploy to gain social goals that the LGBTIQ cohort does not need or deserve. We do not need to change to make Trotskyites deriding society as heteronormative feel comfortable. We do not need rainbow or colour me purple days at schools where students fling their difference in the face of their heterosexual peers, who then, like true cry-bullies, complain about objectors denying them a safe space. Mutual acceptance and all round respect is called for.

  2. Liam Wilson says:

    Truly I am glad to see that someone sees the severity of the way the LGBT community is treated. It must stop. There are still people today who are afraid of revealing who they are, or, to use a slang term; “Coming out” because they are afraid of how they will be treated. It seems like the only way to discourage homophobia is to make people realise that, by persecuting the LGBT community, and, in some countries, even sentencing them to death, we are basically stooping to Nazi level. That’s something I hope to never have to say again. Being gay myself, I hope to see a change around the corner. I’m just lucky to live in a more accepting country than some others, who are not as lucky as I am.

  3. Michael Barnett says:

    Sadly a readily overlooked facet of the Nazi persecution of humanity. Worse yet there are many who still feel persecution of homosexual people is acceptable, denying basic human rights and protections to same-sex attracted people. Many of those come from the Jewish community, where you’d expect this would be the last place to see it.

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