Exhibit to Open at Holocaust Museum Houston Examining the Nazi Persecution of Homosexuals
HOUSTON, TX – “Nazi Persecution of Homosexuals 1933-1945” will be on exhibit at Holocaust Museum Houston from June 11 through September 19, 2004. On the evening of June 9 at 6:00p.m., Houston Mayor Bill White will be in attendance for a private pre-opening event at the museum sponsored by the Greater Houston Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender Chamber of Commerce.

Between the years of 1933 and 1945, Nazi leaders waged a ruthless campaign against people deemed enemies of the state. Hitler’s regime, driven by a racist ideology, carried out the mass destruction of millions of innocent people during the Holocaust including lesser known victims, homosexuals. This exhibition examines the campaign that left thousands dead and shattered the lives of many more.

“Homosexuals have long been targets of systematic hatred and discrimination. These images and the stories they tell document a horrible time in the history of mankind and remind us that prejudice still exists in both subtle and overt ways even today,” reflects Coy Tow, executive director of the Greater Houston Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Transgender Chamber of Commerce.

The Nazi regime sought to eradicate homosexuality. They accused Germany’s homosexual community of carrying a “contagious degeneracy” that threatened the nation. The regime attempted to terrorize homosexuals into social conformity by arresting, convicting and incarcerating tens of thousands of men in prisons and concentration camps. In some of these camps, homosexuals were subject to medical experimentation to rid them of their “degenerate” sex drive.

Even post war, continued legal and social prohibitions against homosexuality in Germany hindered official recognition that homosexuals were victims of Nazi persecution. Not until 1995, some 40 years after the end of World War II in Europe, did homosexuals murdered by the Nazis receive the first public commemoration. Finally, in May of 2002, the German parliament passed legislation pardoning all homosexuals convicted during the Nazi era.

“Nazi Persecution of Homosexuals 1933-1945” is generously underwritten by Houston Endowment Inc., Dr. Michael and Linda Eisemann, and Nina and Michael Zilkha with special thanks to Gulf Coast Archives and Museum of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender History, Inc. and Continental Airlines. The exhibit is organized and circulated by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Holocaust Museum Houston promotes awareness and educates the public of the dangers of prejudice, hatred and violence against the backdrop of the Holocaust by fostering remembrance, understanding and education. The museum is free and open to the public and is located in Houston’s Museum District at 5401 Caroline Street, Houston, TX 77004. Its Internet address is http://www.hmh.org.
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