Remembering Fritz Bauer

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Fritz Bauer | AP | 16132gh

Fritz Bauer became Germany’s youngest judge in 1930 at the age of 27. He was sent to a concentration camp when the Nazis came to power in 1933 and released nine months later after being coerced into signing a statement pledging obedience to Nazi rule. He fled to Denmark and Sweden where he lived out the rest of the war.

When Bauer returned to Germany in 1949, he found that many Third Reich values were still admired. Former Nazis held key positions in government. The closest aide and national security adviser to the then Chancellor, Konrad Adenauer, was Hans Globke, a former Nazi government member who helped draw up Nazi race laws.

Anti-Semitism was so prevalent that he hid the fact that he was Jewish to avoid being labelled a traitor who was “bent on revenge”. West Germany still enforced Nazi-era laws outlawing homosexuality. He lived in fear of being publicly denounced and ousted from his job because he was gay. His attempts to bring Nazi war criminals to justice earned him the reputation as a judge who “fouled his own nest.” He once told a colleague: “As soon as I leave the confines of my office, I am on enemy territory.” Death threats were common.

He made history when in 1957 he was tipped off by a colleague in Argentina that Adolf Eichmann had escaped to Buenos Aires and was living there under an assumed name. Bauer was then chief state prosecutor in Frankfurt. His mistrust of post-war West Germany was so great that he kept Eichmann’s whereabouts secret from the German judiciary. Instead he told the Israeli secret service Mossad. Under West German law his actions were a treasonable offence.

Mossad agents kidnapped Eichmann in a spectacular operation in 1960. He was tried and hanged in Israel 1962.

Bauer was found drowned his bathtub at his Frankfurt home in 1968. A post-mortem examination showed that he had taken sleeping pills. There is speculation that he may have committed suicide because of the strain he was under.

Fritz Bauer, judge and prosecuter, born 16 July 1903, died 1 July 1968.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/germany-finally-pays-tribute-to-the-first-nazi-hunter-fritz-bauer-auschwitz-nazism-adolf-eichmann-a6901756.html

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Remembering Everett George Klippert

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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced in February 2016 that he “intends to recommend that a pardon under the authority of the Royal Prerogative of Mercy be granted posthumously” to Everett George Klippert, the only Canadian to be declared a dangerous sexual offender simply because he was gay.

“Everett Klippert’s case was instrumental in the government’s decision to decriminalize homosexual acts between consenting adults,” said Cameron Ahmad, press secretary to the Prime Minister.

Everett George Klippert was born in 1926, and was convicted of 18 counts of gross indecency by a Calgary court in 1960, and spent four years in prison after pleading guilty to having consensual sex short of intercourse with other men. (Intercourse, or “buggery,” was a separate offence.) After a second conviction in 1965 on four additional counts of gross indecency, and a sentence of a further three years, the Crown attorney in Yellowknife applied to have him designated a dangerous sexual offender.

Two psychiatrists examined Mr. Klippert and concluded that he was not a pedophile or in any way inclined to violence but he was likely to once again seek out sex with men upon his release. Justice John Sissons then designated Mr. Klippert a dangerous sexual offender, and sentenced him to life imprisonment – in effect, for being gay.

In 1967 he Supreme Court of Canada upheld the designation in a 3-to-2 ruling, causing a furor in Parliament and the press. Then-justice minister Pierre Trudeau introduced legislation that, among other provisions, decriminalized consensual homosexual acts between two adult men. “There’s no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation,” he told reporters.

A similar bill became law in 1969, when Mr. Trudeau was prime minister. But for reasons that remain unclear, Mr. Klippert was not released on parole until 1971, having spent a total of 10 years in prison. Mr. Klippert moved to Edmonton, where he found work as a truck driver, and died in 1996, at the age of 69.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/ottawa-to-consider-pardon-for-gay-men-convicted-under-pre-1969laws/article28927302/

http://www.cbc.ca/archives/entry/the-rocky-road-to-gay-rights

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Australia: Sydney apologises to the 78ers

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Fairfax/Getty | 16121gh

On a Saturday evening, June 24, 1978, supporters of gay rights took to the streets of Sydney, inspired by international Gay Solidarity Celebrations, which spread globally following the Stonewall Riots of 1969. A celebration at Taylor Square on Oxford Street turned into a violent police crackdown.

During the parade, demonstrators followed a single truck down the street. When the truck reached Hyde Park, where speeches were to take place, police pounced and shut down its music system and arrested the driver.

Supporters continued their march along William Street and into Darlinghurst Road and walked into a police trap, where paddy wagons and officers waited for them . There was a bloody and violent clash between police and the gay rights activists. 53 people were arrested. Many of them were subjected to ill treatment in custody.

Homosexuality was a crime in New South Wales until 1984.

For the first time, the government of the state of New South Wales has apologised to gay rights activists who were involved in the violent 1978 parade. Many of the original group of 500 LGBT supporters, known as the “78ers,” were present in NSW Parliament on 24 February 2016 as MPs apologised on behalf of the government.

Liberal MP Bruce Notley-Smith presented the apology motion for “the harm and distress the events of 1978” had on the group and their families.

“We recognise that you were ill-treated, you were mistreated, you were embarrassed and shamed, and it was wrong. I hope it’s not too late that you can accept an apology but also we want to recognise that for all of that pain that you went through, you brought about fundamental change in this society and fundamental change for the many gay and lesbian people like myself, who can be open and relaxed about ourselves. You were the game changers.”

http://mashable.com/2016/02/24/apology-1978-mardi-gras/#iAg1MXrIbGqU

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David St. Vincent

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David St. Vincent | Press Association | 16107ga

Gay Activist is sad to record the passing of British travel writer and gay activist David St. Vincent, age 47.

Police are now regarding his death as suspicious, almost a month after his decomposing body was found in his Bucharest apartment. Police spokeswoman Bogdan Ghebaur said on Friday the case of 47-year old David St. Vincent has been handed to the Bucharest prosecutors’ office. His body was discovered on Jan. 12 and police initially suspected he had died of natural causes.

He was a founder of Accept, a group that was instrumental in the 2001 decriminalization of homosexuality in Romania.

Gay Activist sends condolences to family, friends and colleagues.

http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/world/article/Romania-British-travel-writer-s-death-treated-as-6809000.php

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/david-st-vincent-death-of-british-travel-writer-and-gay-activist-in-romania-treated-as-suspicious-a6856811.html

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Joe Orton work to be broadcast

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Joe Orton | Getty | 16102gh

A previously unpublished story by Joe Orton will be turned into a radio play by crime writer Jake Arnott. The story is about his struggle to secure a US visa to see one of his plays open on Broadway.

The Visa Affair will be broadcast on BBC Radio 3. Leonie Orton-Barnett, the playwright’s younger sister who oversees his literary estate, suggested Mr Arnott adapt Mr Orton’s work for radio.

The 20-page story follows Orton’s Kafkaesque visit to the American Embassy in Grosvenor Square in 1965 for a visa so that he could attend the Broadway opening of his hit play “Entertaining Mr Sloane”, which became a film.

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/tv/news/the-visa-affair-joe-ortons-play-on-his-kafkaesque-struggle-to-secure-a-us-visa-to-debut-on-bbc-radio-a6847266.html

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