When the last known gay Jewish Holocaust survivor, Gad Beck, died in 2012, it was a poignant reminder that both Jews and LGBTQ people simply cannot depend on survivors to tell the stories of the Shoah. The responsibility for remembering Holocaust-related history falls upon all of us. Within the Jewish community, it has been standard to commemorate the Holocaust for decades; within the LGBTQ world, rituals are still emerging.
Holocaust Remembrance Day, known in Hebrew as Yom HaShoah, falls this year on April 8th. For those of you interested in adding some LGBTQ content to your observance of Holocaust Remembrance Day, we bring you the following resources.
- Watch “Paragraph 175,” a documentary film with unforgettable interviews with gay survivors and the punishments they suffered even after the war ended. The title refers to the law that made homosexuality illegal in Nazi Germany. (You can catch the trailer here.)
- Read The Pink Triangle: The Nazi War Against Homosexuals, for a comprehensive history of how the LGBT community was targeted by the Nazi regime.
- GLAAD, Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, has resources on their website for observing a moment of silence for gays and lesbians during Yom HaShoah.
- On the blog QJew, Lisa Finkelstein has collected a set of resources for understanding the history of LGBT people in the Second World War.
- Consider incorporating rituals from the Day of Silence and Transgender Day of Remembrance into your, or your synagogue or community’s, rituals for Yom HaShoah. These two holidays commemorate loss and persecution within the LGBTQ community, and can offer a variety of ways to commemorate LGBTQ individuals as part of larger Holocaust Remembrance activities.
- In this essay, Nicholas Artrip suggests that the siren sounded in Israel to commemorate Yom HaShoah might also stir us to think of how LGBT people were treated in the Holocaust, and how we might use our voices today to speak out for them.
- Check out an earlier post on our blog from Keshet staffer Dan Schulman about his trip to Germany, where he visited as part of The Germany Close Up Fellowship: An Open Program for LGBT Professionals.