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Heinz F.

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Heinz F.
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Name Heinz F. (last name withheld by request)
Date of Birth 1905 Place of Birth near Hannover, Germany
Born in a small town, Heinz F. completed high school and studied law. He spent time in Berlin during the 20s and 30s, where he frequented such gay clubs as The Owl, The Olivia, and the Eldorado. He met Magnus Hirschfeld in Berlin. Eventually he lived as an artist in Munich. There he met a subordinate of Ernst Röhm who tried to lure him into the SA by promising him a good career. Heinz declined.
1933 - 1945: In 1935, one of his friends was arrested and, under pressure from the Gestapo, revealed the names of other homosexuals. Heinz was working in his family's store when he was called in by the local police. He was arrested and sent, without a trial, to a concentration camp at Dachau. This began a series of arrests and confinements in prisons and concentration camps for nearly nine years.
After the war, The war ended when Heinz was 40 and he went home. Returning home to help his brother run the family store without ever speaking of his ordeal during the years of his captivity. Until, aged 93, Heinz tells his story for the first time in "Paragraph 175", the documentary by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, 2000.


An interview to Heinz F.

In a recent interview with historian Klaus Müller of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, a survivor who protects his privacy by using the pseudonym "Heinz F." makes clear the intense personal pain that invisibility and social stigma imposed on homosexual men who managed to survive deportation to the Nazi concentration camps:

Klaus: How long were you in concentration camps?

Heinz: All together? I added it up once. I think eight-and-a-quarter years.

Klaus: What did you do when you got back?

Heinz: When I came home? I worked in the family store that my brother was running. My father had already died.

Klaus: Did you tell your brother or mother what happened in the camps?

Heinz: I never spoke with my mother about it. I could have talked to my father, but....

Klaus: Why not?

Heinz: Shame. My mother never said anything. It's all about patiently carrying one's burden.

Klaus: Shame about what?

Heinz: You mean my mother? Maybe it was from compassion, so she wouldn't offend me, or make it even harder on me. Not even one word from her.

Klaus: Today, it is hard to imagine that you survived these horrible years and came back and....

Heinz: Couldn't talk to anybody about it? Yes, I never spoke to anyone about it.

Klaus: Would you have liked to talk to someone?

Heinz: Maybe. Maybe with my father.

Klaus: And later, could you speak with others?

(There are tears shed for the dozen friends he witnessed being summarily shot to death, but at the end of his account, he says with a smile)
Heinz: Never. Nobody wanted to hear about it. If you would just mention one of those words... "Leave me alone with this stuff. It's over now and done with." Now for me, too... it's all over. In September, I'll be 93. I got a thick skin, no?
Notes Photo: Heinz F. from Paragraph 175 Official website of the documentary.

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