During a speech at the U.S. Holocaust Museum in D.C., President Obama addressed the atrocities gay people, specifically gay men, faced during the genocide, which killed millions.
“We must tell our children about a crime unique in human history,” Obama said. “The one and only Holocaust — six million innocent people — men, women, children, babies — sent to their deaths just for being different, just for being Jewish. We tell them, our children, about the millions of Poles and Catholics and Roma and gay people and so many others who also must never be forgotten.”
“We must tell our children,” Obama said. “But more than that, we must teach them. Because remembrance without resolve is a hollow gesture. Awareness without action changes nothing. In this sense, ‘never again’ is a challenge to us all — to pause and to look within.”
The fact that President Obama chose to include gays in his Holocaust speech is important. While Hitler's "Final Solution" overwhelmingly effected Jews, gay men, denounced as "enemies of the state" and parasites, were also persecuted under the Nazi regime. According to the Holocaust Museum's website, more than 100,000 men were arrested under laws against homosexuality and 50,000 served prison terms, with speculation that hundreds were castrated under court. Gay bars and establishments were regularly closed by storm troopers. Thousands more were sent to concentration camps, where they died of starvation, exhaustion, beatings and murder.