The Pink Triangle and Political Consciousness: Gays, Lesbians, and the Memory of Nazi Persecution


Jensen, Erik N. 2002. “The Pink Triangle and Political Consciousness: Gays, Lesbians, and the Memory of Nazi Persecution.” Journal of the History of Sexuality 11 (1/2): 319–49.

Author: Erik N. Jensen


The article presents information on gay, lesbians and the memory of Nazi persecution. The gay and lesbians perceived oppression for a long historical pattern that extended from Nazi era to the presents. The article traces the evolution over the past thirty years of collective memories in both the American and German gay communities in order to show what these communities have remembered and why. The article shows how cleavages in the communities have fostered alternate memories and how the American and German memories reflect different national experiences. Furthermore., many gays and lesbians remain altogether unaware of the historical significance of the pink triangle. Nevertheless, a larger memory has emerged that, despite differences, does contain shared symbols, narratives, and referents and has significantly influenced the consciousness of the broader gay and lesbian community. After struggling through the lean years of the 1940s, most gay men and women sought sanctuary in the economic boom of the 1950s; along with other West Germans, they avoided reminders of a painful past during which some had sympathized with the regime, even as others had faced persecution. (EBSCO)

Keywords: LGBT, United States, armed forces

Topics: LGBTQ, Military Forces & Armed Groups Regions: Americas, North America, Europe, Central Europe Countries: Germany, United States of America

Year: 2002

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