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March 7th
2004

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Friedrich-Paul von Groszheim

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Groszheim
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Name Friedrich-Paul von Groszheim
Date of Birth April 27, 1906 Place of Birth Luebeck, Germany
Friedrich-Paul was born in the old trading city of Luebeck in northern Germany. He was 11 when his father was killed in World War I. After his mother died, he and his sister Ina were raised by two elderly aunts. After graduating from school, Friedrich-Paul trained to be a merchant.
1933 - 1939: In January 1937 the SS arrested 230 men in Luebeck under the Nazi-revised criminal code's paragraph 175, which outlawed homosexuality, and I was imprisoned for 10 months. The Nazis had been using paragraph 175 as grounds for making mass arrests of homosexuals. In 1938 I was re-arrested, humiliated, and tortured. The Nazis finally released me, but only on the condition that I agree to be castrated. I submitted to the operation.
1940 - 1944: Because of the nature of my operation, I was rejected as "physically unfit" when I came up for military service in 1940. In 1943 I was arrested again, this time for being a monarchist, a supporter of the former Kaiser Wilhelm II. The Nazis imprisoned me as a political prisoner in an annex of the Neuengamme concentration camp at Luebeck.
After the war, Friedrich-Paul settled in Hamburg. Von Groszheim was never acknowledged as a victim of the Nazi regime, and due to on-going persecution of homosexuals in Germany, it took nearly half a century before he broke his silence. Recently he explained why he began to speak out: "I'm living proof that Hitler didn't win. I'm aware of that every day. If I don't tell my story, who will know the truth?". He only told his story in 1992, on We Were Marked with a Big A, a film in German with English subtitles.
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