Rudolf Brazda, the last known gay Nazi
death camp survivor, died at 98 in France on Wednesday, the AFP
Brazda died at a hospital in
Bantzenheim, France in his sleep, Philippe Couillet, a friend and
associate of Brazda, told the European news service.
At the age of 29, Brazda was sent to
the Buchenwald concentration camp in August 1942. He remained in the
camp until 1945, when the camp was liberated by allied troops.
Being gay was a crime under Nazi
Germany's laws, and tens of thousands of people were convicted and
sent to concentration camps. Prisoners had to wear a
downward-pointing pink triangle on their jackets that identified them
as gay or lesbian.
The pink triangle – which was
originally intended as a badge of shame – has since been turned
upside down and reclaimed as a symbol of gay pride.
Brazda moved to Alsace after the war
and lived there the remainder of his life. His partner of over 30
years, Edi, died in 2003. (A video interview with English subtitles
is embedded in the right panel of this page.)
In April, the French government awarded
Brazda the Legion of Honor. He is expected to be buried next Monday
in Mulhouse, France.