Carl Værnet | Scanpix | 15097
Peter Tatchell has been examining Danish government archive records into the life of Dr Carl Værnet, a Danish Doctor who went on to work for the Nazis – attempting to cure gay men of their sexuality and turn them heterosexual.
Værnet operated on gay prisoners in Buchenwald concentration camp, inserting artificial hormone glands into their groins. Two of these men died from infections caused by the insanitary conditions. The Nazis were well known for their hatred of gay people and for their aim to “eliminate the perverted world of the homosexual”.
When the war was over, Værnet managed to escape to Argentina where he is understood to have continued his work on the same theme, until he died in 1965. He was never brought to justice, and his victims in Europe were denied justice. It is not currently known if there are also victims of his mad medicine in Argentina.
There is an assumption today that “liberation” of the concentration camps resulted in the release of all of the Nazi regime’s prisoners. Not so, in the case of the gay inmates. As most of them had been imprisoned for homosexual sex offences by the Courts, if they had not served the full term of the sentence of the Court, they were returned to a conventional prison until their sentences had been completed.
Caridad | 14026
Gay people in Havana suffered violent attacks and police repression for many years, writes Regina Cano in The Havana Times.
In the Cuban capital, there have always existed “public” homosexual meeting places, generally for men (we haven’t heard of any such spot where women meet, and it is said the spots for men are rather dangerous for women).
These spots were often the sites of collapsed or burnt-down buildings, abandoned, dimly-lit and dirty spaces, distant from the prying eyes of the unsuspecting at night. Though private, these places where also dangerous, to say nothing of the risk of sexually transmitted diseases people exposed themselves to. They included the ruins of the Moscu restaurant, the Chivo beach, the public bathroom at Quixote park, the Jose Miguel Gomez mausoleum, Fraternidad park in Old Havana, the Fuente Luminosa, the areas surrounding the Capitolio building and the malecón ocean drive.
People would switch meeting spots because of police repression. At the time, there were no places where members of the community could meet in person safely. The number of such spots increased notoriously, especially after the onslaught of the “Special Period crisis” in the 1990s. So-called “10-peso parties” (illegal parties with a 10-peso admission) became common.
Popular parties were thrown by Piriquiton, in Cerro, Lila’s parties, parties in Cojimar and others that continued to be held into the 2000s.