Blog Theme: Getting History Right – Interview with Michael Coulter

Fact checking David Barton was not my first history rodeo. With the help of then Grove City College history professor J.D. Wyneken, I fact checked anti-gay crusader Scott Lively’s book The Pink Swastika in June of 2009. Lively made an outrageous case that Hitler’s Nazi project was animated by homosexuals and that the Holocaust was carried out by gay thugs. His opposition to gay rights, he preached, was to keep gays from doing the same things to other nations.

I learned a lot by deeply researching Lively’s claims. I saw how primary sources could be used selectively to distort a narrative and how speculation could be mixed with fact to create a plausible sounding but false picture. This awareness came in handy when, in 2011, I started to look into Barton’s claims about the American founding.

When David Barton’s book The Jefferson Lies was pulled from publication, he solicited moral support from Scott Lively in a Wallbuilders Live broadcast. Lively’s message essentially was: I know how you feel, he did the same thing to me.

It seems right that I fact checked both Lively and Barton. Lively had gone to Uganda with his historical fiction to agitate the Uganda Parliament into crafting law which made homosexuality a capital offense. An interpretation of the Bible was used as a justification. A religious view was used as a basis for civil law. On that issue, one church teaching was about to become the state policy.

Confronted with the reality that evangelical Christians were behind the bill in Uganda, I searched for the influences on them. There were many and we will hear from Jeff Sharlet next week who will help us remember the influence of the Fellowship Foundation. Extending beyond the Fellowship was the notion that civil policy should reflect Christianity because that is the proper basis for law in a Christian nation. Ugandan legislators saw themselves as lawmakers in a Christian nation.

But who in the U.S. was behind the idea that church and state is not separate? All roads led me back to David Barton.  At that point, I started to check out the fact claims that Barton said led him to question church-state separation. The rest, as they say, is history.

Part of that history involved writing the book Getting Jefferson Right: Fact Check Claim about Our Third President My co-author on that project is Michael Coulter. Michael is a professor of political science and humanities at Grove City College and a good friend. As we discuss in the interview below, I requested a pre-publication copy of The Jefferson Lies in February 2012. Somewhere in our McDonalds discussions, I asked Michael to join me as co-author and we had the ebook ready to go by May 1. A paperback followed in July and by August, The Jefferson Lies had been pulled from publication by Thomas Nelson.

In this interview, we discuss more about Getting Jefferson Right, but also get into why people would rather believe fiction over truth, the requirement of honesty from scholars, and how Christian nationalism influences attitudes towards political matters today. I hope you profit from it.

Correcting Scott Lively’s Conspiracy Theory

On the Bryan Fischer Show Tuesday, and then yesterday via Twitter, David Barton spoke favorably of Scott Lively’s article defending Barton, posted earlier this week. The chief aim of the article is to link my criticisms of Scott Lively’s book The Pink Swastika with our fact checking of claims made by David Barton about Thomas Jefferson in The Jefferson Lies.

The mention of Lively comes at about 5 minutes into the clip I posted on Monday. Then today, Barton tweeted the article to his followers. As regular readers of this blog know, Lively promotes criminalization of homosexuality and has done so in nations around the world. He most associated with the efforts in Uganda to maintain laws against homosexuality there.

In the summer of 2009, I looked into his book The Pink Swastika. Lively claims that the Holocaust was animated by gay Nazis. Although I trust my way around books of history, I also like to get advice from historians. For that reason, I asked then GCC colleague and historian J.D. Wyneken to look at the Pink Swastika and tell me what he thought about it.  Wyneken delivered a stunning blow to The Pink Swastika in a two-part post on my blog (read them here: one, two). You can read the rest of the series with my posts included here.

There are many problems with Lively’s current analysis. The most important is that he is wrong on his assumptions. Michael Coulter and I wrote Getting Jefferson Right because we believed it is important for Christians to discuss issues of church, state and liberty from a foundation of fact within proper context. We are both interested in the topic and wanted to do it.

Another problem which is what I want to correct now is Lively’s revision of recent history and the false picture he paints regarding my colleague and friend J. D. Wyneken. In his conspiracy theory piece, Lively says:

He [Throckmorton] even corralled a newly-arrived faculty member at Grove City to write a criticism of my book The Pink Swastika: Homosexuality in the Nazi Party. I called the man who wrote the critique, intending to challenge him to a debate. He told me that he had been very uncomfortable with Throckmorton’s request and didn’t intend to repeat the collaboration.

Yesterday, I talked to J.D. Wyneken who disputed Lively’s account. Lively may have called but according to Wyneken, they never spoke on the phone. Lively emailed and, according to Wyneken, wanted to drive a wedge between us. Wyneken never said he was uncomfortable with my request to look at Lively’s book, but rather was glad to provide a reaction to it. Wyneken planned no additional posts since his interest in the matter was complete, not because he had second thoughts about what he said about The Pink Swastika. There was and is no problem with Wyneken. That was a figment of Lively’s imagination.

So now we have David Barton distributing an article which traffics in assumptions and false statements about me and my friends. Rather than paint me as a bogeyman, wouldn’t it be more respectable to just address the issues which have been raised by no fewer than 15 conservative Christian scholars?

 

Scott Lively’s defense of Holocaust revision

Scott Lively has a new blog. His first post of substance is a defense of his revision of events surrounding the Nazi’s treatment of gays during WWII.

There isn’t much new there or of any real defense. He essentially says he’s right with no response to the claims raised against him. His defense boils down to this:

7. The Pink Swastika has not been “discredited” except by homosexualist reviewers, most of whom have failed to disclose their ideological conflict of interest. The few non-homosexual critics of the book have no expertise in the history of the “gay” movement and are thus not qualified to render judgment.

From his own perspective, Lively has no “ideological conflict of interest” which of course is contradicted by the body of his work. And, despite lacking the training he demands of others, he feels qualified to render his judgment.

Of course, his defense is self-serving. A gay person is just as capable of rendering the facts correctly as he is. Ideology matters but he is just as biased as any gay reviewer. And regarding his non-gay critics (e.g,, me), they are just as qualified to read and report what they read as he is.

Lively’s blanket dismissal of his critics obscures the fact that trained historians have dismissed Lively’s theories as inconsistent with the total picture. As I documented here in 2009, trained non-gay, even Christian, historians have considered The Pink Swastika and criticized Lively’s methods and his conclusions. Perhaps Lively will use his blog to actually respond to those critics, but I doubt it.

In light of the fact that he will not respond to the substantial and scholarly criticisms of The Pink Swastika, no one should take him up on his offer to debate. The ball is already in his court.

For more on The Pink Swastika, click the link.

For coverage of Scott Lively’s visit this weekend to an Oklahoma church, see this story.

The Pink Swastika and Holocaust revision

Inexplicably, Scott Lively, co-author of The Pink Swastika, has been invited to speak at an evangelical church this coming weekend in Oklahoma City. Draper Park Christian Church plans to have him in for three days of meetings.

Evangelical organizations Exodus International (scroll down) and Campus Crusade removed links to Lively’s article on the Pink Swastika in 2009. Even NARTH removed the article.

During the summer of 2009, with the help of historian J.D. Wyneken, I reviewed the claims of Lively and his co-author Abrams made in the Pink Swastika (click the link to read those posts).

With the Oklahoma appearance coming up, I reviewed those posts and here want to point out two which demonstrate Lively’s selective approach to the Holocaust. Unless something changes, Draper Park’s families will be exposed to Holocaust revisionism for three days.

The first is my post on how Lively and Abrams used Gunter Grau’s book The Hidden Holocaust. In this post, I point out how Lively and Abrams read all the way through Grau’s section on how the Nazi’s treated gays to pick out a segment more friendly to their position. No real historian does that. Real historians report what happened in toto. Grau reports the horrible treatment many gays received and Lively and Abrams do not.

The second is Lively and Abram’s treatment of German Nobel Prize winning author, Thomas Mann. Mann never came out as homosexual but disclosed same sex fantasies in his diaries which were barely hidden in some of his literature. Because of Mann’s interest in Nietzsche, Lively and Abrams view Mann as a contributor to the National Socialism, albeit indirectly. Although no one knows whether or not Nietzsche was gay, Lively assumes he was and because Nietzsche’s sister used some of his later writings (probably under the influence of mental illness) to praise National Socialism, Mann, the same-sex- attracted-married-to-a-woman man, is an indirect contributor to Nazism because he wrote favorably of Nietzsche. Pretzel logic much?

The strange moves don’t stop there. Mann, who we know was not completely straight, was an ardent enemy of Hitler and the Nazis. He recorded messages beamed in by Allied forces to the German people, urging them to resist Hitler and promising that help was on the way. Summarizing the post, I wrote in 2009:

First, it is worth noting how Lively and Abrams’ devotion to their thesis leads them to treat Thomas Mann. Apparently the primary reason he is mentioned at all is to make a stronger case that Nietzsche was homosexual. Mann was a great writer, one of the best fiction writers in modern history. He was a resolute opponent of Hitler and the Nazis. He left his homeland in service of his convictions and used his fame and gifts to try to bring down Hitler. In The Pink Swastika, his personal life is disparaged and he is discounted as an apologist for Nietzsche and thus an unwitting contributor to Nazism.

Lively and Abrams thesis collapses into absurdity when one considers the vigor of Mann’s opposition to Hitler’s fascism. People of all orientations and worldviews supported and opposed Hitler. The Nazis used anyone, gay or straight, religious or not, to get to power. And once they attained power, they systematically crushed opposition both gay and straight, religious and not.

The revisionist cannot rest on one or two revisions. He must continue until the revisions lead to absurd twists and turns. In the case of Mann, it is the same-sex attracted man who actively combats the Nazis. This glaring contradiction, along with so many others, must be either avoided or explained away.

Revising the Holocaust is not the same thing as denying it, but it is morally objectionable. Revising the causes and course of the Nazi evil does a disservice to an accurate view of human nature. Lively locates this evil in a variation of sexual attraction, thereby exonerating others. Such revision is a massive exercise in deception.

In 1961, Yale psychologist Stanley Milgram began his famous experiment on obedience to authority figures. Much to the astonishment of his peers, Milgram found that 65% of his sample consented to supply what participants perceived to be dangerous shocks to another person in obedience to an experimenter. This and other studies provide ample evidence that many of us, straight and gay, are capable of terrible evil under certain conditions. Revisionism takes our eyes off of this ball, and reassures the self-serving urges in us that we would never do something like that. Only those other people (insert the group you dislike) could do that.

Thus, such faulty revisionism also leads to stigma directed at the scapegoated group. As we have seen through history, ancient and recent, stigmatizing people based on their group affiliations or innate characteristics has led to the most awful atrocities.

When will we learn?

 

 

 

Oklahoma City Church to host Scott Lively

As unbelievable as that sounds, Draper Park Christian Church is hosting Scott Lively for a weekend of seminars April 27-29, 2012.

On the church Facebook page, they prep their congregants with an article from MassResistance.

Upcoming DPCC keynote speaker featured in this article…thanks Stephen Black of First Stone Ministries. Church, the Lord said “Be alert and ready for service!”. This Christian lawyer Dr. Lively needs our fervent, effectual, righteous prayers.

It is not clear what the role of Stephen Black and First Stone Ministries is. If that Exodus affiliate has anything to do with this appearance, they would be flying directly in the face of the policy of the national Exodus ministry, who denounced the Anti-Homosexuality Bill as well as Lively’s role in Uganda. They also removed Lively’s article about the Pink Swastika from their website.

I want to believe that the Draper Park people don’t understand what they are getting into. They read information from MassResistance calling Lively a martyr, but they will not hear Lively’s real message until he is inside their doors.

Most likely, he will tell them that the Holocaust was animated by homosexuals and gays want to recruit their children. He may tell them that he doesn’t support forced therapy, but he won’t tell them what would happen to gays who refuse state-sponsored ex-gay therapy. He might tell them that he didn’t support the Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Bill but he might not be as candid as he was with Mariana Van Zeller here:

 

He might tell the church what he thinks causes homosexuality, as he did below to the Ugandans in 2009, but he probably won’t tell them that both Exodus and NARTH have removed his articles from their websites.

I know there other Christians of conservative theology who are grieved by this.  It is sad when Christians are tricked into thinking they are fighting evil when instead they mislead and misrepresent. Mr. Lively, as a Holocaust revisionist, should not have a platform in a Christian venue.

For more on the distortions and misleading presentation that is the Pink Swatiska, see this link.

The Pink Swastika and NARTH

In 2009, I reported that NARTH (National Association for the Research and Therapy of Homosexuality) had removed all but one reference to Scott Lively’s works from their website. That reference was a note in their newsletter which described Lively’s short speech at the 2005 NARTH convention where he donated money to the organization on behalf of his Pro-Family Charitable Trust. As an aside, Lively has donated at least $2000 to NARTH since 2003.
In fact, Lively’s involvement with NARTH goes back further than his donations. In 1995, Lively spoke at the NARTH conference and presented his signature theme – homosexuals started and animated the Nazi party. In that paper still available on the NARTH website, Lively wrote, “In many respects, the SA was a creation of Germany’s homosexual movement, just as the Nazi Party was in many ways a creation of the SA.”
The problem is not that Lively documents the existence of homosexuals among the Nazis; that much was true. For instance, Ernst Roehm and others in his orbit were gay or bisexual. However, Lively errs by saying the “homosexual movement” created the Nazi party, as if the inevitable outcome of a movement for civil rights for gays is national socialism. See this link for more on the Pink Swastika.
In fairness, the paper does not show up in a search conducted on NARTH’s website (actually very little available on the website comes up from using that search engine). However, it does come up in various Google searches.
Although NARTH is not making this article easy to find, it is still available and demonstrates to me something about the DNA of the organization. Despite claiming to be a scientific organization, the leadership has invited anti-gay activists to present their views since the early days of the organization. Scott Lively favors legal restrictions on homosexual behavior and free speech surrounding advocacy for gay rights. At the most recent conference, NARTH featured Sharon Slater, a leading proponent of criminalization.
 
 

World Net Daily hearts the Pink Swastika

In a given month, World Net Daily numbers page views in the millions; I number mine in the thousands. So I know that repeating the critique of the Pink Swastika will not reach the number of people now misled by WND but here goes anyway…

WND has a superstore with an apparently spanking new edition of Scott Lively’s The Pink Swastika in it. WND site owner Joseph Farah gives a shout out to TPS without addressing any of the criticisms. He says he has read all of the criticism, but he attributes it to “homosexual bloggers.” Well, I am not a homosexual blogger; Grove City colleague and historian Jon David Wynekin is not a homosexual blogger and we spent lots of time and detail demonstrating the flaws in the book. Campus Crusade for Christ is not a homosexual blogger organization and it removed an exerpt of The Pink Swastika from one of their websites. Exodus International is not a homosexuality affirming organization but they removed the link to The Pink Swastika. NARTH is hardly a gay affirming bunch but they removed all references to Scott Lively and The Pink Swastika.

Maybe Joseph Farah didn’t know that; maybe he doesn’t care, having already made up his mind.

Bryan Fischer and the Nazis: This is what I meant by vilification

On Monday, I wrote about the corrosive effect of the culture war on the real business of Christianity. In that post, I wrote

On the other hand, my great concern is that culture warring lulls people into feeling that that the cause justifies the considerable offense that comes with vilifying those the church yearns to reach.

As if to volunteer to be Exhibit A, Bryan Fischer helps define “vilifying” for us. On his American Family Radio program this week, Fischer, who erroneously believes the New Testament teaches criminalization of homosexuality) made the tired and discredited link between homosexuality and the WWII Nazis. He did not do this as an attempt at a lesson in history but as a part of his opposition to gays serving openly in the military. He did not simply comment on his moral opposition to homosexuality, teaching his view of the matter from the Bible. He vilified an entire group of people based on distortions of fact and the behavior of a few. Listen for yourself, transcript to follow:

So Hitler himself was an active homosexual. And some people wonder, didn’t the Germans, didn’t the Nazis, persecute homosexuals? And it is true they did; they persecuted effeminate homosexuals. But Hitler recruited around him homosexuals to make up his Stormtroopers, they were his enforcers, they were his thugs. And Hitler discovered that he could not get straight soldiers to be savage and brutal and vicious enough to carry out his orders, but that homosexual solders basically had no limits and the savagery and brutality they were willing to inflict on whomever Hitler sent them after. So he surrounded himself, virtually all of the Stormtroopers, the Brownshirts, were male homosexuals.

When Fischer says that Hitler could not find straights to be savage enough, he goes beyond even Scott Lively’s imagination. This is one clear example of what I meant by vilifying.

He followed up his radio performance with a column defending his views by quoting books by Lothar Machtan and of course, Scott Lively. Machtan speculates that Hitler was homosexual, although other historians have explored this possibility and most of them are skeptical. I explored the matter in this post and you can get a more objective look at the matter via the documentary Men, Heroes and Gay Nazis. I have a clip here dealing with Machtan’s book on the question of Hitler’s sexuality:

Note that the historians other than Machtan point out that there is no proof, no eye witness account. When Fischer confidently says that Hitler was an active homosexual, he misleads his numerically substantial audience. And he does so make a far more sinister point which he makes explicit in a column out today. In that article, he extensively quotes Lively’s book The Pink Swastika and echoes Lively when he writes:

Homosexuality gave us Adolph Hitler, and homosexuals in the military gave us the Brown Shirts, the Nazi war machine and six million dead Jews.

Regarding the specific claims of the Pink Swastika, I did a series of posts with the help of historian J.D. Wyneken. We found that The Pink Swastika took some historical facts, threw in a lot of wild speculation and simply overlooked disconfirming facts to create a false picture – one which Bryan Fischer summarized over this last week to support his culture war position.

Here are related posts in that series:

May 28 – Scott Lively wants off SPLC hate group list

May 31 – Eliminating homosexuality: Modern Uganda and Nazi Germany

June 3 – Before The Pink Swastika

June 4 – Kevin Abrams: The other side of The Pink Swastika

June 8 – A historian’s analysis of The Pink Swastika, part 1

June 9 – A historian’s analysis of The Pink Swastika, part 2

June 11 – American Nazi movement and homosexuality: How pink is their swastika?

June 15 – Nazi movement rallies against gays in Springfield, MO (See this one regarding Fischer’s association of American Nazis with homosexuality)

June 17 – Does homosexuality lead to fascism?

June 23 – The Pink Swastika and Friedrich Nietzsche

June 29 – The Pink Swastika and The Hidden Holocaust?

July 6 – The Pink Swastika and Hate 2 Hope (See this one regarding Fischer’s association of American Nazis with homosexuality)

Factoid: Fischer is a confirmed speaker at the Values Voter Summit.

Scott Lively: Anti-Homosexuality Bill is “step in the right direction”

I am behind on posting relevant news concerning the main characters in the Ugandan drama.

Here is an audio clip, you need to hear if you want to put Scott Lively’s opposition to the Ugandan bill in perspective.

Alan Colmes wondered how you could oppose the death penalty and call the bill “a step in the right direction.” About the show, Colmes wrote:

Scott Lively, one of three evangelicals who went to Uganda at in 2009 to preach against gays, says he doesn’t support Uganda’s bill that would punish homosexuality by life imprisonment or death.  Nevertheless, he said, on my radio show Monday night, it’s “a step in the right direction.”  He refused to say that gays should get jail time, but said it should be treated as a we treat those who smoke marijuana.  Yet, he refused to back off his “step in the right direction” comment.

So what would be the next step, Mr. Lively?

The Pink Swastika and the Hidden Holocaust?

One purpose of The Pink Swastika is to minimize the suffering and persecution of homosexuals during the tenure of the Third Reich. In reaction to gay holocaust theories employed by some gay advocates, Lively and Abrams advance a theory about why some homosexuals were persecuted while others were Nazi promoters. Lively and Abrams suggest that masculine oriented, “Butch” homosexuals were favored by the Nazis. These “Butch” gays hated and persecuted effeminate, “Fem” homosexuals when the Nazis came to power. Thus, by their theory, some gays were hurt but more often it was the gays who did the hurting. While there are real problems conceptually and historically with this simplistic notion, I will address those issues in a future post.

In order to discount the persecution of gays, a resource quoted favorably by Lively and Abrams is Hidden Holocaust? Edited by Gunter Grau with a contribution from Claudia Shoppmann. Grau’s book is a compendium of documents from the Nazi era, many from East German archives which had not been released prior to this book.

By my count, The Pink Swastika references Grau six times. To find segments which fit their “homofascism” theory, the authors had to ignore quite a few documents which, if considered, would balance the picture and offset their thesis. Here are some illustrations of their selective references.

On page 180, Lively and Abrams quote a review of the Hidden Holocaust? which seems to suggest that Grau discounts the suffering of male homosexuals.

The Harvard Gay and Lesbian Review (Summer 1995)contains an admirably candid review of the book Hidden Holocaust? by Gunter Grau (in which Schoppmann was a minor contributor):

Grau and Schoppman [sic] conclude that there was no “holocaust” of gays — hence the question mark in the book’s title. This assessment is based on the wide range of contemporary documents…Grau discounts the current wild estimates of the number of gays killed by the Nazis, suggesting a figure closer to 5,000…How, then are we to read the widely quoted incendiary statements by Nazis like SS leader Himmler, who consistently called for the ‘eradication’ of homosexuals?…Much of this rhetoric, Grau says, was propaganda meant for public consumption…Gays were never the subject of pogroms, and never faced the danger that the Jews did in Germany and occupied Europe.

Lively and Abrams then quote a paper by Judith Reisman which further questions the degree of persecution experienced by homosexuals and concludes with a sinister accusation.

Dr. Judith Reisman, in “The Pink Swastika and Holocaust Revisionist History,” wrote this comparison of the fate of the two groups [Jews and homosexuals] under the Nazis:

Were homosexuals treated like Jews, 2-3 million out of 2-3 million German homosexuals should have lost their businesses, their jobs, their property, their possessions and most would have lost their lives. Homosexuals would have been forced to wear pink triangles on their clothing in the streets, they would have had their passports stamped with an “H,” been barred from travel, work, shopping, public appearances with out their armbands, and we would have thousands of pictures of pink triangle graffiti saying “kill the faggots,” and the like. If German homosexuals were not Nazis, these 2-3 million men would have been homeless, walled in ghettos, worked as a mass labor pool, then gassed and their abuse recorded in graphic detail, as were the millions of Jews. And, if Germany’s several million “gays” were not Nazi victims, they were Nazi soldiers, collaborators or murderers (Reisman: Culture Wars , April 1996).

As we shall see, Grau points out that homosexuals did experience at least some of what Reisman says they avoided.

On page 179 of The Pink Swastika, Lively and Abrams also reference Grau’s identification of Massimo Consoli as the proponent of the theory that gays were victims of holocaust on the same order as the Jews.

(Consoli is, however, a leading proponent of the “Gay Holocaust” public relations ploy — Grau:5).

However, surrounding one of the pages (5) in Grau’s book cited by Lively and Abrams is Grau’s assessment of the treatment received by homosexuals by the Nazis. Grau writes

A major role was played by various eugenic concepts. Seeing male homosexuals as an immediate threat to the growth of the nation, National Socialist ideologues partly blamed them for the lower birth-rates and preached the need to make optimum use of the ‘generative power’ of the male population. In this way, they supplied ideological justification for all the intended, and eventually implemented, forms of persecution. The ‘eugenic aim’ of putting the ‘hereditary flow’ in order, by eliminating that which is ‘unhealthy’ and undesirable and blocking the reproduction of inferior blood, was the basic drift of measures that were designed and eventually put into operation against homosexuals as well as other groups…

The declared aim of the Nazi regime was to eradicate homosexuality. To this end, homosexuals were watched, arrested, registered, and — if this was unsuccessful — exterminated. In the twelve years of the National Socialist dictatorship, the arsenal of repressive measures devised in support of its population policy became ever more extensive. They included:

-the ordering and carrying out of police activities and of measures designed to instil terror;

-the sharpening of penal sanctions;

-the creation of special administrative bodies to carry out prosecutions;

-deportation and isolation in concentration camps;

-extension of the grounds for compulsory castration, and

-the organization of para-medical experiments, up to and including ‘reversal of hormonal polarity’. (p. 4).

Grau notes that the Nazi measures became more severe and repressive as their power increased.

Prosecutions and other repressive measures began just a few weeks after the Nazi seizure of power. In the following years the pressure on those concerned became more intense and severe, and the various measures used against them escalated with the help of state violence and in the framework of a comprehensive system of manipulation. (Grau, 4-5)

Grau then describes three periods of Nazi oppression of gays beginning with the closing of homosexual meeting places and concluding with drastic measures such as internment in concentration camps, medical experiments, pressure to be castrated, and for some the death penalty. Although Grau does not believe gays were singled out in the same manner as were the Jews, he characterizes the Nazi response as

…a rather differentiated series of punishments and deterrents, whose purpose was to dissuade the ‘homosexual minority’ from their sexual practice: that is, either to integrate them as ‘proper’ (heterosexual) men into the ‘national community’, or to make them abstain from sex in general. The key concern was ‘re-education’. That was the spirit in which the criminal law was tightened up: re-education through deterrence. And anyone who could not be deterred was sent to a concentration camp: re-education through labour. Psychology was also brought into service: re-education through psychotherapy. And even ‘predisposed’ homosexuals, for whom the Nazis held out no hope of improvement, could still be exploited as manpower for the ‘national community’ – provided that they were first castrasted.

Lively and Abrams apparently like and cite the section in Grau which offers evidence against a ‘gay holocaust’ on par with the atrocities against the Jews. However, they fail to take into account the actual level of suffering, persecution and oppression experienced by homosexuals. Grau details these measures throughout this section of his book. I presume, if Lively and Abrams recognized the terror experienced by homosexuals during the Nazi regime, they would have to modify their view of a homosexual conspiracy that continues today.

Another dramatic example of selective citation comes from a document from the Buchenwald archives (titled “The situation of homosexuals in Buchenwald concentration camp – report from Spring 1945”) and included in Grau from pages 266-270. Here is what Lively and Abrams took from the document.

An unknown percentage of homosexual prisoners were arrested not for sex offenses at all, but for political reasons. A document from the Buchenwald archive states,

In the spring of 1942 a Berlin writer called Dahnke was sent to the camp as a homosexual. The main reason for his internment, however, was political statements which had brought him to the attention of the Gestapo. (Grau:267)

Lively and Abrams want the reader to believe that gays were not singled out due to their homosexuality but for other reasons — in this case for some political opposition. Indeed, this no doubt happened. In this case, it is possible that the man was homosexual and a political opponent. In any case, Lively and Abrams fail to tell the rest of the story about unfortunate Mr. Dahnke. The reason for his internment may relate to politics but his demise was due to perception of homosexuality. I pick up the story on page 267 exactly where Lively and Abrams end.

One morning, after he [Dahnke] had been working for several months in the quarry, he was taken by someone on fatigue duty to the sick bay and presented to the camp doctor as suffering from TB. As a matter of fact, he was having chest trouble. The camp doctor at first wanted to put him in the TB unit for treatment, but when D. [Dahnke], not knowing how things stood, mentioned that he was really there for political reasons, the doctor sat up and took notice, realized that he was dealing with a homosexual, and had him taken into the room reserved for the death list. Two days later he was given the lethal injection.

Lively and Abrams selectively include the part of the story which, out of context, support their point. However, the real story here is about a man who was killed because he was thought to be a homosexual. Including the entire paragraph provides the real message from the Buchenwald archives and directly contradicts the premise promoted in The Pink Swastika.

Death Camps?

Scott Lively said in a speech (at about 8:20) to the Temecula county GOP that gays were not sent to death camps, but rather work camps (cf. 2:02). For sure, gays were sent to work camps as noted by Grau. However, in this same Buchenwald document, the archives make clear that gays were sent to death camps as well. On page 266, the Buchenwald document discloses:

Until autumn 1938 homosexuals were divided among the political blocks, where they went relatively unnoticed. In October 1938, they were sent enmasse to the punishment battalion and had to work in the quarry, whereas previously all other units had been open to them. Apart from a few recorded cases, every member of the punishment battalion had the prospect of being transferred after a certain time to a normal block where living and working conditions were significantly better, but this possibility did not exist for homosexuals. Precisely during the hardest years they were the lowest caste in the camp. In proportion to their number they made up the highest percentage of transports to special extermination camps such as Mauthausen, Natzweiler, and Gross Rosen, because the camp always had the understandable tendency to ship off less important and valuable members, or those regarded as less valuable. In fact, the wider deployment of labour in the war industry brought some relief to this type of prisoner too — for the labour shortage made it necessary to draw skills from the ranks of such people, although in January, 1944 the homosexuals, with very few exceptions, were still going to the ‘Dora’ murder camp, where many of them met their death. (Grau, 266).

This is the opening paragraph in the same Buchenwald archive document which Lively and Abrams quote approvingly. This kind of selective citation compromises any accurate presentations of the historical record in The Pink Swastika. As we have demonstrated throughout this series, readers should carefully check all claims and alleged facts.

Prior posts in this series:

May 28 – Scott Lively wants off SPLC hate group list

May 31 – Eliminating homosexuality: Modern Uganda and Nazi Germany

June 3 – Before The Pink Swastika

June 4 – Kevin Abrams: The side of The Pink Swastika

June 8 – A historian’s analysis of The Pink Swastika, part 1

June 9 – A historian’s analysis of The Pink Swastika, part 2

June 11 – American Nazi movement and homosexuality: How pink is their swastika?

June 15 – Nazi movement rallies against gays in Springfield, MO

June 17 – Does homosexuality lead to fascism?

June 23 – The Pink Swastika and Friedrich Nietzsche

List of posts on Uganda and The Pink Swastika