Two excessively rare examples of the notorious ‘Pink Triangle’ which the Nazis forced gay men to wear during World War Two, go under the hammer later this month.
‘They are the ultimate symbols of Nazis homophobic paranoia, with men who had been denounced as homosexuals before WWII having to wear these degrading symbols on their outer clothing at all times,’ commented Richard Westwood-Brookes, Historical Documents Expert for auctioneers Mullock’s who will sell the triangles at their next sale at Ludlow, Shropshire on August 23rd.
‘When the holocaust began, homosexuals were treated with the same venom as the Jews – herded into the concentration camps where the Pink Triangle was attached to their concentration camp uniform.
‘While the total number of homosexuals treated in this way remains unknown, an educated estimate has been made of between 50,000 - 63,000 between 1933 and 1944. On liberation in 1945, the wearers of the Pink Triangles, unlike the Jews, were simply re-imprisoned by the newly created Federal Republic. Homosexuality was still a criminal offence in that country and had been since the introduction under Kaiser Wilhelm II of the notorious Paragraph 175 – which was not finally repealed until 1994.
‘The Pink Triangle today is regarded in the Gay community as the symbol of Gay Pride , second only to the Rainbow Flag. It also emerges in popular culture with the gay areas of Newcastle on Tyne and Edinburgh being known today as the ‘Pink Triangles’ on account of their shape. Ironically the symbol has also been used in an episode of The Simpsons during the depiction of a Gay Pride parade.
‘The Pink Triangle from the holocaust remains one of the rarest of all symbols of the Nazis’ evil oppression, and as such should be preserved for all time as a reminder of the depths to which man’s inhumanity can stoop.
‘We will be selling two versions, the first being a straightforward triangle of khaki fabric which has been died pink and probably dating from before the war and ordered to be attached to civilian clothing.
‘The second is in the form of an arm band and clearly was worn in the concentration camps because it bears the prisoner’s number.’
The triangles are estimated at between £500 and £600 each.
Further information from Richard Westwood-Brookes on 01568 770803.