Egale Canada Human Rights Trust and the Rainbow Resource Centre are hosting the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum‘s traveling exhibit Nazi Persecution of Homosexuals: 1933-1945 in Winnipeg from August 28th to September 11th 2013.
This is the first stop on the exhibit’s Canadian tour, which also includes exhibitions in Toronto and Vancouver.
Germany under the Nazi regime sought domination over Europe and the total annihilation of Europe’s Jewish population, in what is now called the Holocaust. As part of their efforts to create a ‘master Aryan race’ the Nazi government persecuted many other non-conforming groups in society, including homosexuals.
Through reproductions of some 250 historic photographs and documents, Nazi Persecution of Homosexuals: 1933-1945 examines the rationale, means, and impact of the Nazi regime’s attempt to eradicate homosexuality that left thousands dead and shattered the lives of many more.
More than many other groups, LGBT histories are often lost to the passage of time. As a result of the continued fear of persecution and the scourge of HIV/AIDS, by the year 2000, fewer than ten homosexual survivors of the Holocaust were known to be living. The last known gay survivor of the holocaust, Rudolf Brazda, passed away in 2011 at the age of 97. This exhibit tells the stories of some of these 100,000 individuals who are no longer alive to share the personal trials they faced.
Fear and hatred of members of the LGBT community still exists across the globe. A prime example is Russia’s new anti-gay laws and the striking resemblance the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics bears to the 1936 Berlin Olympics (in which Hitler attempted to prevent Jews and Blacks from participating).
In addition, 76 other countries criminalize homosexuality, including five that prescribe the death penalty. Canada is a unique bastion of hope for many LGBT refugees, and yet, hatred still persists here.
According to the most recent Statistics Canada data, sexual orientation-motivated hate crimes were up 10% in 2011–65% of these offenses were violent in nature. What’s most shocking is that these crimes are a youth phenomenon: 60% of accused and 50% of victims are under 25-years-old.
Organizers and supporters of this traveling exhibit believe that by remembering past atrocities and by teaching young people the dangers of ignorance and hate, there is hope that a world free of discrimination, violence and oppression will result.
The Rainbow Resource Centre is a non-profit community organization that provides support and resources to gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning people and their families. It’s located at 170 Scott Street in Winnipeg. The exhibit is open 1:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Monday through Thursday and 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. on Friday through Sunday.