Friday, December 19, 2008

Growing up Gay During - Nazi Persecution of Homosexuals 1933-1945

What would be the severity of the psychological effects caused to a boy who grew up to be gay living in Germany during the time of Hitler’s Nazi regime? We know the severe psychological harm and for many, the physical abuse caused to children who grow up to be gay under the influence of harsh antigay social and religious norms. This type of pervasive harm is portrayed in the characters of the movie “Brokeback Mountain,” Jack and Ennis, and including the accepted social approval to commit and remain silent about the severity of this kind of inhuman treatment taken against other human beings, just because they are homosexuals (Ralph Roughton, M.D., The Significance of Brokeback Mountain). 

Is it possible to even imagine to what degree of severity the traumatic psychological effects would be to a boy's early childhood psychological developmental years, who grew up to be gay during the time of the Nazi Persecution of Homosexuals 1933-1945? During the Nazi regime, homosexuals were continually being publicly defamed, falsely accused for the major social problems of that time. This was done purposely, to incite massive public hatred and hostility to be taken against homosexuals. The Nazis publicly charged homosexuals, as being a threat to the nation, blamed for the nation declining birth rate, and called them an infection that if not eradicated could become an epidemic especially to the youth (Nazi Persecution of Homosexuals 1933-1945). Homosexuals were used for medical experiments, brutally tortured, physically mutilated, and exterminated in Nazi Death camps. These atrocities have devastating psychological effects not only for the children who grew up to be gay, but for all of society.

The following is an excerpt from the website

The police work of tracking down suspected homosexuals depended largely on denunciations from ordinary citizens. Nazi propaganda that labeled homosexuals "antisocial parasites" and "enemies of the state" inflamed already existing prejudices. Citizens turned in men, often on the flimsiest evidence, for as many reasons as there were denunciations. Reflecting on the dramatic rise of legal proceedings against homosexuals since 1933, Josef Meisinger of the Reich Central Office for Combating Homosexuality and Abortion proudly remarked in April 1937: "We must naturally also take into account the greater public readiness to report [homosexuality] as a result of National Socialist education."

Acting on the basis of these informants, the Gestapo and Criminal Police arbitrarily seized and questioned suspects as well as possible corroborating witnesses. Those denounced were often forced to give up names of friends and acquaintances, thereby becoming informants themselves. Where criminal proceedings once required a proved act, now a suggestive accusation sufficed.

The Gestapo and Criminal Police worked in tandem, occasionally in massive sweeps but more often as follow–up to individual denunciations. Most victims were from the working class. Less able to afford private apartments or homes, they found partners in semi–public places that put them at greater risk of discovery, including by police entrapment. 

As reports of the massive arrests spread, mostly by word of mouth, a pervasive atmosphere of fear enveloped Germany's homosexuals. Just as the state desired, the physical repression of a minority of homosexual men served to limit activities of the vast majority.

For many [homosexuals], imprisonment meant hard labor, part of the Nazi "re–education" program. Conditions in German prisons, penitentiaries, and penal camps were notoriously wretched, ... faced both the brutality of the guards and the hatred of their fellow inmates.

The traumatizing effects of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in NYC on, September 11, 2001, were felt by the entire nation, in a matter of minutes. The eerie sense of silence that surrounded all the nations’ major airports had a traumatizing effect, as all air travel was suspended throughout the nation. The traumatizing effects to nation (that is the human beings not on sight of the terrorist attacks in NYC) were identified when the continuous visual rebroadcasting of airplane crashing into the twin towers were stopped. Particular concern, at the time, was mentioned about the vulnerability of the very young children being traumatizing. The actual terrorist attacks, on September 11, 2008, took place in a matter of minutes, but the emotional impact on human beings remained for months and is still remembered years later. 

The actual, “…the systematic, bureaucratic, state-sponsored persecution and murder of approximately six million Jews by the Nazi regime,” the Holocaust, lasted for 12 years of continuous terror, 1993 -1945. At the same time, the Nazi persecution of homosexuals took place. What would be the traumatic effects on the early childhood psychological developmental years of a male child who grew up to be gay during the 12 years of the terrorizing Nazi regime? How severe would the dissociation processes, as described by Harry Stack Sullivan, be for this child, as an adult, from his conscious thoughts about his homosexual feelings, which research indicates that would have been begun for him, as young as, 4 and 5 years of age? In addition, according to Selma Fraiberg, would this child, as an adult, be able to hear the cries of children, as young as 4 and 5 years age, who grow up to be gay? Or would this child, now as an adult, in a severe dissociative state of mind, unconsciously, perpetuate the terrifying horror of the insensitivity he had experienced, at 4 and 5 years of age growing to be gay?  If he found himself in a position of authority would he recreate the same social and political environment of violence and terror for homosexuals that he experienced, as a child growing up to be gay, during the Nazi Persecution of Homosexuals 1933-1945? 

It is out of protection for the well being of children that is the importance of being mindful of the cognitive abilities of the mind of a child, of Selma Fraiberg’s Ghost in the Nursery (1987) and Harry Stack Sullivan, M.D. Dissociative Processes, in his book Clinical Studies on Psychiatry (1956). Often some individuals can be so completely dissociated from their own homosexual orientation, their feelings and thoughts, as described above by Sullivan that in this state of dissociation, they are quite harmful to children who grow up to be gay. Because when these adults were children, no  one heard their cries as they grew up to be gay, therefore now, they will not hear the cries of children who grow up to be gay.  Keeping these precaution in mind, we are ready to resume the postings, explaining the research work of -- Homosexuality: Coming out of the confusion, --- by Sidney H. Phillips, M.D. --- Part 3 of 10.

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