I, Pierre Seel, Deported Homosexual: A Memoir of Nazi Terror
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For nearly forty years, Seel kept this secret in order to hide his homosexuality. Eventually he decided to speak out, bearing witness to an aspect of the Holocaust rarely seen. This edition, with a new foreword from gay-literature historian Gregory Woods, is an extraordinary firsthand account of the Nazi roundup and the deportation of homosexuals.
darts at a fair. During one injection session, my unfortunate neighbor blacked out and collapsed: the needle had struck his heart. We never saw him again. One of the worst things that haunted each day was hunger. It was carefully maintained by our jailers and was the source of countless fights. Starvation roamed the camp, turning us into animals, forcing us to run considerable risks. Sometimes, when I was assigned to clean the rabbit hutches, I surreptitiously wolfed down a few carrots. Once,
work, perhaps even by their closest friends, and they were often in a depressed state as a consequence of this seclusion. They were indiscriminately regarded as being immoral, criminal, and ill—even by many anti-fascist leftists. Unlike the situation of Jews or gypsies, they had not been brought up by those of their stigmatized own kind—they had not been brought up as gay in gay families, and indeed, if exposed as gay, they often received the most horrified responses from those who were closest
beloved French capital, the more strictly we were checked. New arrests of collaborators were made right in front of us. And more people died along the way. At last, we reached Paris. I cannot describe my emotions when I set foot on Parisian soil. That seventh of August 1945 we were directed to the Lycée Michelet to show our papers and set up medical files. I was handed a repatriation card. I could telephone my dear Parisian godmother, who thought I had drowned in the Dardanelles. The authorities
more about pain, torture and humiliation.” This seems an eminently worthwhile trade-off. So extreme are the events they relate, that memoirs of the Nazi-run deportations and concentration camps often contain moments of breathtaking absurdity, when the language with which we are so familiar in the everyday usage of our own fortunately peaceful lives seems incapable of accommodating the enormity of even simple truths. We seem to have entered a grotesque phantasmagoria coauthored by Lewis Carroll
“Out of the Closet: A Painful Testimony.” The original French chapter title consists of only the second of these two phrases. 3 Martin Sherman, Bent (London: Amber Lane Press, 1979), p.67. Because the play had an especially controversial reception when it eventually played in Israel, it has continued to have great resonance for Israeli gays. In Eytan Fox’s film The Bubble (Ha-Buah, 2006), the star-crossed lovers Noam, an Israeli, and Ashraf, a Palestinian, attend a staging of the play; in