rudolf brazda dies, last known survivor of gay persecution in holocaust

RIP Rudolf Brazda.

Rudolf Brazda

BERLIN — Rudolf Brazda, believed to be the last surviving person who was sent to a Nazi concentration camp because of his homosexuality, has died, a German gay rights group said Thursday. He was 98.
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‘I Had Always Been Blessed with Good Fortune’
An inspiring profile on Brazda, about whom a book was published this year.
see: spiegel online

Rudolf Brazda


Rudolf Brazda


Never forget

Pink triangle, gay holocaust, nazi persecution


At age 96, Rudolf Brazda speaks out to tell his story.

in his bright blue eyes, his happy spirit sits and smiles

two soldiers on love, vintage gay, older + younger

i love this boy, not for his beauty only,

but just because my life that was so lonely

knows in his presence some strange healing power,

an unfamiliar peace — as if each hour

should pause a little in its swift-winged flight

and breathe a benediction. in his bright

blue eyes his happy spirit sits and smiles,

and never evil dreams, or wanton wiles,

or lusts o’ercloud their sweet serenity:

i dare not hope — but, when he looks at me,

something half-shy, half-trusting, leaps therein

and shadows of dead passion and old sin

all dreadful haunting memories, take flight —

you think i’m happy? well — perhaps you’re right!


image: photographer, subjects unknown
text: excerpt, ‘the beautiful,’ by f.s. woodley, (1888-1957)

romeo and romeo

Two men lying on a boat, vintage gay


By whose direction found’st thou out this place?


By love, who first did prompt me to inquire;
He lent me counsel and I lent him eyes.
I am no pilot; yet, wert thou as far
As that vast shore wash’d with the farthest sea,
I would adventure for such merchandise.


…I wish but for the thing I have:
My bounty is as boundless as the sea,
My love as deep; the more I give to thee,
The more I have, for both are infinite.


Image: Photographer, subjects, unknown
Text: William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet,
Act II, Scene ii
,  c. 1591-1595


i do, i do

In celebration of the historic vote on 24 June, 2011 in which
New York lawmakers legalized same-sex marriage.

i do

One man seated on the lap of another; vintage gay photo, gay marriage


what greater thing is there for two human souls

than to feel that they are joined together

to strengthen each other in all labour,

to minister to each other in all sorrow,

to share with each other in all gladness,

to be one with each other in the

silent unspoken memories.

i do

One woman seated on the lap of another; vintage lesbian photo, gay marriage


Text: excerpt from ‘Adam Bede’ by George Eliot, c. 1859
Image of men: photographer, sitters, unknown c. 1900
Image of women: Glass plate negative, sitters unknown,
photographer possibly Arthur Phillips, Australia, c. 1910
Powerhouse Museum collection

always be with me and always look this glad to see me

men kissing, vintage photo, gay, soldiers, military

Never thought this was possible, this tug-tug-tugging of the heart. A face I didn’t want to take my eyes from. That face can never, will never leave me. A face to light up my own. My piece of treasure. A nail to pierce the hands and feet. Always be with me, I thought to myself. Always be with me and always look this glad to see me.


Text: excerpt, London Triptych, Jonathan Kemp
Image: Photographer, subjects, unknown, c. 1940s

what you did was you saved my life, i won’t forget it

vintage photo of affectionate women, lesbian

Click to hear song:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

I got to sing, I got to dance, I got to be a part of a great romance
Still forbidden, still outrageous, only a few around us knew
but no one said a word it was contagious
We looked out the window as we watched the cars fly by
I look at you and I start to cry — what you did was you saved my life —
I won’t forget it

You said even if I left my girlfriend, packed up my stuff, loaded up my car,
Drove down to your house with good intentions and came through your door —
For what’s it worth

I got to love, I rode the rails, you came with me because you cared
I was broke and I was scared, you held my hand and took away my fear
We knew it couldn’t last and that was hard

We looked out the window as we watched the cars fly by
I look at you and I start to cry — what you did was you saved my life —
I won’t forget it

Image: Photographer, subjects, unknown, via Rebecca Wilde/Flickr
Text/Song: For What It’s Worth
Lyrics: Mike Campbell; Performed by: Stevie Nicks


Editor’s note: When I heard For What It’s Worth from the inimitable Stevie Nicks’ new album In Your Dreams, an image of two women who shared longing, love and heartbreak came to my mind. Indeed, I think a new lesbian anthem may be born. I include here only an excerpt of the audio. I highly encourage you to buy the album to hear the whole song, all of the songs, of a brilliant new work. — KH

if you’re going to open your eyes, nows the time, wrestler

two men wrestling; vintage; gay

You are a murderer
No you are not, but really a wrestler
Either way it’s just the same
For from the ring of your entangled body
Clean as leather, lustful as a lily
Will nail me down
On your stout neck like a column, like a pillar of tendons
The thoughtful forehead
(In fact, it’s thinking nothing)
When the forehead slowly moves and closes the heavy eyelids
Inside, a dark forest awakens
A forest of red parrots
Seven almonds and grape leaves
At the end of the forest a vine
Covers the house where two boys
Lie in each others arms: I’m one of them, you the other
In the house, melancholy and terrible anxiety
Outside the keyhole, a sunset
Dyed with the blood of the beautiful bullfighter Escamillo
Scorched by the sunset, headlong, headfirst
Falling, falling, a gymnast
If you’re going to open your eyes, nows the time, wrestler


Image: unknown
Text: Sleeping Wrestler by Mutsuo Takahashi
from Poems of a Penisist, 1975, translated by Hiroaki Sato


the passionate shepherd to his love

Two gay men hug in the woods

Come live with me, and be my love,
And we will all the pleasures prove
That valleys, groves, hills and fields,
Woods, or steepy mountains yields.

And we will sit upon the rocks,
Seeing the shepherds feed their flocks
By shallow rivers, to whose falls
Melodious birds sing madrigals.

And I will make thee beds of roses,
And a thousand fragrant posies,
A cap of flowers, and a kirtle
Embroidered all with leaves of myrtle.

A gown made of the finest wool
Which from our pretty lambs we pull,
Fair lined slippers for the cold
With buckles of the purest gold.

A belt of straw and ivy-buds,
With coral clasps and amber studs,
And if these pleasures may thee move,
Come live with me, and be my love.

They shepherd swains shall dance and sing
For thy delight each May morning.
If these delights thy mind may move,
Then live with me, and be my love.


Text: The Passionate Shepherd to His Love,
Christopher Marlowe, published 1599

Image: Photographer, subjects unknown


let us carve a tiny star on each other’s chest

vintage gay couple, valentine heart

on this day
when there’s no holiness
in all this madness of tests
where the heart is
with the sharpest brass knife
let us carve a tiny star
on each other’s chest
watch them light up
bright red
we will bless them with our lips
drink life
neither a seven-year itch
nor death
can split

text: assotto saint, offertory on a seventh anniversary
image: photographer, sitters, unkown, via scumbeast/ipernity

i’ll stay with you if time holds a miracle

two men in bathing costumes embracing and holding hands

If time holds a miracle
we’ll dance together
as two old men:
sunstroke scalps
dropped buttocks, watery thighs.
But our hands
how our bony, veiny, trembling hands
will find their partners
palm to palm, fingers rung round each other
and hold on tight
Dance me
dance me across the floor
I’ll stay with you
if time holds a miracle.

Text: Miracle, Bil Wright, 1991
Image: photographer, subjects, unknown; 1930s,
via ipernity/scumbeast

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