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DelawareGuy
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I just rented this from NetFlix. Has anyone else seen it? At the time of the filming, there were only ten known survivors of Nazi concentration camps who were sent there for being gay. Two declined to be interviewed. I think it movingly depicted a not well-documented facet of the horrors that the Nazi regime inflicted on humanity. The credits indicated that the documentary is now part of the archives of the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC.

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the holocaust museum in washington has a traveling exhibit going around the country on gays and their treatment under the nazis. it has historical background, the nazis years and what followed. if it comes to your area, it is worth going. the museum in washington has a section on gays as well.

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I was kind of disappointed. I saw it on Logo. Unfortunately, there were only a few survivors willing to talk and who were able to make much sense after all those years. I was hoping to hear more about what exactly the concentration camp experience was for gay men, and specifically how it differed from the Jews' experience. They spent a lot of time on general information, and on the Jewish victims' experience, which has been well-documented elsewhere. It's too bad that no one tried to do this earlier, when there would have been more victims with fresher memories.

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Other Source Material

 

For anyone interested in the topic, two excellent books: The Pink Triangle and The Men With The Pink Triangles offer more background and history to compliment the documentary, with much more eye-witness commentary as well.

 

IMHO, given the time frame and age of the witnesses, I think it just stands to reason they might be more willing to talk to a writer. Not everyone has a Jerry Springer/Oprah like fixation with being on television or otherwised preserved on film for posterity.

 

Amazon also makes some other suggestions here: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0805006001/002-6197620-4861657?v=glance

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I agree. I saw the movie and although was touched by a lot of it, I was overall a little disappointed. I expected more about their experiences as a gay person in the concentration camps, etc. The only one I recall that really mentioned mistreatment was the Frenchman from Alsace who had a 12 inch piece of wood shoved up his ass -- he seemed to imply he was not gay. Nevertheless, it's an important film, and Rupert Everett did a good job narrating.

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I am not sure if this is the same touring exhibit on gays in the Holocaust that played the Houston Holocaust Museum last year. But then, how many of them can there be? I was a bit disappointed with the exhibit as it was all printed signboards with no objects of any kind. One might as well have been at home reading a book on the subject. Of course, they may have added to it by now. One of our local theaters did a production of "Bent" to go along with it. Which I think I have noticed happening in other cities, too.

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I haven't seen the exhibit, but I imagine there wouldn't be much more than storyboards and photos. But I think the point is to keep the story going; it isn't that long ago that an exhibit about their plight would not have attracted much interest. It's unfortunate there isn't much to show, but it's important not to forget.

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I haven't seen the traveling exhibit, but I did go to the original exhibit at the Holocaust museum, which had lots of publicity, in December 2002. What a big disappointment, as it was just as you describe, a bunch of storyboards and nothing else. Perhaps if it didn't get such a big write-up in the W. Post, I would feel differently.

 

As far as paragraph 175, I saw that last year on one of the cable channels, and like others, was not the least bit impressed. I thought the whole production really had nothing to say, and I was irritated, to say the least, with the French man who kept feigning that he was not really gay.

 

BTW: If you want to go to the Holocaust museum, please take some happy pills first, as it is the darkest, most depressing museum experience that I have ever encountered. Totally overwhelming to the point of disorientation. If you are claustrophobic, then run, do not walk, run as fast as you can in the opposite direction! It takes 4 hours to go thru the entire exhibit, and it is ass cheek to ass cheek crowded, dark and airless to the point of suffocation, and most depressing of all the elevators are constructed to resemble the railroad cattle cars that took people to the extermination camps. But maybe that is the whole point, to give it a "real" feeling of what it was like? Believe me, after 2 hours I just wanted to escape and spent 1/2 hour trying to find an exit, as it was so damn dark you couldn't find the stairway out of there.

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Guest ReturnOfS

I saw the movie as part of a school group and was really touched by it.

 

I also visited the Holocaust museum recently and learned a lot. It was an intense emotional visit. I need to pay it another visit. It wasn't crowded and it wasn't the negative experience that Vahawk describes.

 

>I just rented this from NetFlix. Has anyone else seen it?

>At the time of the filming, there were only ten known

>survivors of Nazi concentration camps who were sent there for

>being gay. Two declined to be interviewed. I think it

>movingly depicted a not well-documented facet of the horrors

>that the Nazi regime inflicted on humanity. The credits

>indicated that the documentary is now part of the archives of

>the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC.

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I never said it was a negative experience. I just gave my personal experience and thoughts about my visit I'm glad your experience was different, as with the passing of the years, I'm sure the crowds aren't as dense, and I'll also revisit based on your input. :o

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RE: Holocaust Museum

 

Here's John Aravosis'(of http://www.americablog.org) take on the Holocaust Museum.

 

Open thread - My Holocaust Museum let down...

by John in DC - 10/09/2005 06:54:00 PM

 

Went to the Holocaust Museum today, and honestly, I was less impressed than I had expected from all the hype.

 

It was okay, but... The hoopla about being given a card with the name of a person who you follow through the exhibit and then at the end you find out if they lived or died - well, that's just silly - they hand you a small 4 page leaflet and you reach each page every few minutes or something. They even forgot to hand us, or anybody else we saw, the booklets.

 

Second, half the exhibit is illegible to anyone with eyes over the age of 25. The big descriptions of major events are in big font and readable, but the text accompanying all the small photos, artifacts, etc. is way too small for an adult eye to read, and the lighting on those objects is terrible. We finally gave up reading all the explanations because we were squinting against the glass like old people - I still have a headache. I suspect this museum cost a bit of change, and it's about a rather important topic - I can't believe they've had that horrible illegible text there all these years.

 

Third, it was just way too long and, honestly, kind of boring after a while. You have to read way through room after room after room after room of every single detail of every single year from 1933 to 1945. You don't even get to the Holocaust itself until you're halfway through the museum and totally exhausted. The second half of the museum is better - there's more "stuff" and less reading, but still. We finally just breezed through the last several rooms because we'd had it - it was just too much. Someone could have done a much better job of making this more of a museum and less of a reading assignment.

 

And finally, they have this ridiculous - RIDICULOUS - ban against taking photos. It's not clear why, since most of the stuff they have in the museum isn't even real. It's almost 100% copies (which is another very annoying aspect to the museum - it's not really a museum if everything inside is fake, in my view). You certainly don't have to worry about a flash damaging a new poster of a photo. I was at a temporary exhibit they had a few years back about gays and the Holocaust and they banned the use of photography. Everything was copied - there wasn't, I seem to recall, a single "original" thing in the exhibit - which not only made me wonder why you couldn't snap photos, but it also made me wonder why I didn't just look at the exhibit online. After all, do you really need to go to a building to look at copies of photos and copies of documents?

 

Interestingly, they told me that previous time that you couldn't take photos because of "copyright" issues, or some such bull. Putting aside the absurdity of that comment - I've never been to a museum and been told not to take photos because of copyright reasons - but even if that were the case, tell me you can't ask the donor for permission to let people take photos so they can spread the word about the Holocaust around the world? I just found the restriction stupid, annoying, and in the context of everything else, one more reason to not really enjoy the visit.

 

Oh one more thing. Drop the word "homosexual," please. In the one very small wall that talks about gays being killed during the holocaust (there's also a tv screen above with pictures of gays who were arrested, along with pics of gypsies and I believe some others minorities), they use the word homosexual and homosexuals over and over again. It creeped me out. Most of the time they could have easily said "gays and lesbians," gay men, etc. In the context of an exhibit about mass extermination including gays, reading the word "homosexual" over and over again struck me as a little out of date and more than a little clinical, and thus creepy. The word, today, is really only used by those who don't know any better, or by the religious right in order to demonize us. "Homosexual" is akin to "colored" or "oriental." It may have been fine once upon a time, it's not now. Also, perhaps I missed it, but we deserve more than a paragraph on a wall. Why not one small little display case with a bit of the gay history too - they had more than a case devoted to gypsies (the "roma"), and I'm sure they deserved their mini-exhibit. I'm not competing, I'm just saying, it was a bit sparse on the gay side of things as compared to the other non-Jewish minorities.

 

I hate to pan the place, because it exists for an important reason. But man, I won't bug any future visitors to DC to go to that place. It needs some work. Which is too bad.

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RE: Holocaust Museum

 

"It was okay, but... The hoopla about being given a card with the name of a person who you follow through the exhibit and then at the end you find out if they lived or died - well, that's just silly - they hand you a small 4 page leaflet and you reach each page every few minutes or something. They even forgot to hand us, or anybody else we saw, the booklets."

 

They give those to you as you ride the "cattle car" elevator to the first floor of the exhibit. Thanks for mentioning that, as I just 2 weeks ago threw out my "little souvenir", but I was glad to see at the end of page 4, that my "guy" survived!

 

I have real reservations about going to that museum again, despite ROS's post. It was a horrible experience for me, and I was climbing the proverbial walls, as after 2 hours, I just wanted OUT!, and I couldn't find a way out! Everywhere I turned, led me to more dark, and I mean "flick the bic lighter to see your hand dark" display rooms or total dead ends. No light, no windows, no air! and bodies pressed together so close you could barely move! HORRIBLE!

 

I would not recommend this place to any first time visitor to DC, not when you could walk 7 blocks east on the same street, Independence Avenue, and see the roomy, airy, fabulous Air & Space museum with the IMAX theatre, and the Hirschorn statues and if winter time, go skating on the outside ice rink! :7

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RE: Holocaust Museum

 

vahawk: i think your emotional reaction was the reaction that one is supposed to feel because of the design. while i felt the same emotions, i felt that i learned alot. rather than pure facts, the museum connected with me on an emotional level; for example, that three story high shaft with the photographs of the jewish people from that one small town that showed their before the war life with pictures of children, weddings, picnics and everyday events left me sad how all those lives were just cut off; seeing those everyday photos removed me from talking about numbers to actual people (i think that is the power of "the diary of ann frank" where the holocoust is reduced to the experience of one person).

 

i left the museum thankful to be born in this time and place. as gay men, our fates would have been sealed in nazi germany. i am glad that the museum did not confine itself to the jewish experience but showed the roma, political inmates, gays, etc. i left the museum with the feeling that it is important to fight injustice and hate. i left the museum feeling educated about the horrors that man can do to another and sadden that things still go on today and mostly the world just watches like darfur in the sudan where hundreds of thousands died while the UN mostly just talks.

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RE: Holocaust Museum

 

>i left the museum thankful to be born in this time and place.

>as gay men, our fates would have been sealed in nazi germany.

 

From my understanding, 1/3 of the gay men who were sent to concentration camps survived. There were no true extermination camps such as Auschwitz, where 99% of those sent there were murdered. As I mentioned in an earlier posting, I didn't get a good sense of what it was like for the gay men who were sent to Dachau, etc. But I have a feeling that, as bad as Dachau and other such camps were, they didn't quite reach the level of Auschwitz. I hope that there's better documentation somewhere of what it was truly like at Dachau (etc.), because if there isn't, it's probably too late.

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Given the horrific climate and experiences these men endured and survived, it didn't surprise me that most were reluctant to relive the experiences with the interviewer. Their pain and suffering, however limited on the screen, was palpable.

 

I saw "Downfall" recently. A must-see film for any history enthusiast. Watching the story of Hitler's last days in his bunker, written, produced, and performed by Germans, was hypnotic.

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