The Germanic Mosaic: Cultural and Linguistic Diversity in Society

By Carol Aisha Blackshire-Belay | Go to book overview
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considered criminals in the second German Reich and in the Weimar Republic; however, it was only with the signature of fascist ideology that their so-called crimes became punishable by death. The average homosexual could not be incarcerated and executed based on race or political leanings, which left the state control of sexuality as the only avenue open for pursuit. Homosexuals were oppressed and the attempt at their elimination undertaken, because the National Socialists wanted to create a German male who was allowed to possess only one type of collective heterosexuality. What still must be understood is the acceptance by the general population of the violent reflex of the National Socialist state, which ranged from the social control of minorities to the extermination of various subcultures. Since a voice of opposition was barely heard, the concentration camps can be seen as executing the wishes of a homophobic society. In other words, the frightening outbreak of state-sanctioned crimes against minorities, carried out with unbelievable precision, was the consequence only for those already despised by society. To discuss the attempt of National Socialism to eradicate homosexuality is to lay bare an apparatus of oppression. This is not, however, a cause to merely mourn for those murdered during the Third Reich. In remembering one's history, one can hopefully move away from the alienation of being constructed and toward a moment of self-definition.

This law also included lesbians in its list of offenses. "'A woman who does this shall lose her member each time, and on the third must be burned. (Feme qui le fet doit a chescune foiz perdre membre et la tierce doit estre arsse.)' Conceivably, the formula perde membre in [this] might refer to the loss of an arm or leg; however, it is identical with that used in [the law for men], where the context indicates that the man's penis is meant. Apparently this law called for the infliction of a clitorectomy, but it is difficult to imagine how this operation could be performed twice. Rarely has a law aimed primarily at male offenders been more grotesquely adapted to women" (Crompton: 13).
The translations from the German into English are my own, and I assume responsibility for their accuracy.


Crompton Louis ( 1985). "The Myth of Lesbian Impunity. Capital Laws from 1270 to 1791", in The Gay Past. A Collection of Historical Essays, ed. Salvatore J. Licata, et. al. New York: Harrington Park Press.

Diehls Rudolph ( 1950). Lucifer ante Portas. Stuttgart: n.p.

Heger H. ( 1979). Die Männer mit dem rosa Winkel. Hamburg: n.p.


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