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Monday, 12 September 2011

French national tribute to last 'pink triangle' survivor

Brazda receives Legion of Honour. Pic: Jean-Luc Romero.
By Paul Canning

The French State will support a civil memorial service for Rudolf Brazda, believed to be the last surviving person sent by the Nazis to the death camps for homosexuality, who died 3 August at 98 years of age.

The national tribute will be paid to Brazda 28 September in the church of Saint-Roch in Paris and has been organised by Les "Oublié(e)s" de la Mémoire:: Association Civile Homosexuelle du Devoir de Mémoire. In April he was awarded France's top honour Ordre national de la Légion d'honneur (National Order of the Legion of Honour).

The event takes place with the patronage of Marc Laffineur, State Secretary to the Minister of Defense and Veterans Affairs, and will be attended by other representatives of the French state, diplomats and representatives of LGBT organisations from throughout the world.

Brazda's life has been documented in the book 'Das Glück kam immer zu mir' ("Happiness always came to me," which is sort of his motto as he believes he survived through unbroken humor and optimism). Author Alexander Zinn. filmed his research and interviews, as well as Brazda's shattering return to the Buchenwald concentration camp, for a new documentary, which he hopes should come out this year.

It was only in 2008 that Brazda's story first came to light. After hearing of the unveiling of the Berlin monument to the 'pink triangles', he decided to tell his story. He previously received the gold medals of the cities of Toulouse and Nancy

In spite of his old age, and health permitting, Brazda was determined to continue speaking out about his past, in the hope that younger generations remain vigilant in the face of present day behaviour and thoughts similar to those which led to the persecutions endured by homosexuals during the Nazi era.

HT: Yagg

UpdateYagg reports that at the memorial ceremony, Marc Laffineur, State Secretary to the Minister of Defense and Veterans Affairs, was represented by its Deputy Director of Staff who read a message:
"[The event] stresses the need to always keep the memory of those infamous persecution for humanity. It also highlights the news of the fight against discrimination and exclusion. "
The actor Laurent Spielvogel read excerpts from the biography of Rudolf Brazda, on his imprisonment in Buchenwald, but also on his meeting with Edward after the war, who was to be his companion for over 50 years.

Yves Lescure, head of the Foundation for the Memory of the Deportation referred to the discrimination that persist today against homosexuals in many countries, but also the dangers posed to democracy stigmatisation of certain populations, citing nomadic people, in reference to the French government policy towards the Roma.
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