Elisa and Marcela on their wedding day | José Sellier | 18306
A new film is being made about Elisa Sánchez Loriga and Marcela Gracia Ibeas who married in 1901 – the only known same-sex marriage in the history of the Spanish Catholic Church.
The historian Narciso de Gabriel, who wrote a book about the couple, says the pair were posted to village schools just a few miles apart in rural Galicia, close enough for Elisa to walk to Marcela’s house every evening after classes.
Posing in short hair and a morning suit as “Mario”, Elisa was duly baptised and married to Marcela.
Mr De Gabriel told the Spanish newspaper El Mundo in 2011 that the “wedding still stands as legal” in A Coruña’s civil register.
They didn’t get away with it. They spent the rest of their lives on the run from persecution across two continents.
Their story is to be made into a film by Isabel Coixet.
Pierre Bergé | Agence France Press | 17156gh
The French fashion tycoon Pierre Bergé – the business brains behind the Yves Saint Laurent empire – has died aged 86.
The longtime partner of the late designer Yves Saint Laurent died in his sleep early Friday at his country home at Saint-Remy-de-Provence in southern France.
The passionate bibliophile and art collector was a tireless campaigner for gay rights and donated a large part of his fortune to AIDS research.
Gay Activist sends condolences to family, friends and colleagues.
‘Damenkneipe’ (Ladies’ Saloon) painted by Rudolf Schlichter, 1923 | Copyright control | 17133
Germany’s Bundestag has just voted to allow gay marriage. At a time when gay rights have made significant advances in Europe, “The Conversation” looked back to the period from 1920 to 1945.
Before the rise of the Nazis and Fascism, gay people were on the brink of legal reform and securing their rights, but overnight, everything changed.
The total number of Europeans arrested for being LGBTQ under fascism is impossible to know because of the lack of reliable records. But a conservative estimate is that there were many tens of thousands to one hundred thousand arrests during the war period alone.
Far more LGBTQ people in Europe painstakingly hid their genuine sexuality to avoid suspicion, marrying members of the opposite sex, for example. But if they had been prominent members of the gay and trans community before the fascists came to power, it was too late to hide.
In concentration camps, gay men were identified by a pink triangle. Men with pink triangles were singled out for particular abuse; mechanically raped, castrated, favored for medical experiments and murdered for guards’ sadistic pleasure even when they were not sentenced for “liquidation.”
In 1929, Germany came close to erasing its anti-gay law, only to see it strengthened soon thereafter. Only now, after a gap of 88 years, are convictions under that law being annulled.
… With new forms of authoritarianism entrenched and seeking to expand in Europe and beyond, it’s worth thinking about the fate of Europe’s LGBTQ community in the 1930s and ‘40s.
Gay prisoners in the concentration camp at Sachsenhausen with pink triangles. Germany, December 1938 | Unknown photographer | Socialist Worker | 16448gh
Germany is set to compensate up to 50,000 men convicted under a historic law which was still in effect until the late 1960s. “Paragraph 175” was part of Germany’s criminal code from 1871 to 1994, and made homosexual acts between men a criminal offence.
Thousands of gay and bisexual men were arrested and incarcerated in NZI concentration camps. Those who managed to escape the camps were often arrested again under Paragraph 175. The persecution continued well after the end of World War II. Gay men were often socially ostracised as well as losing their homes and jobs.
Since the end of World War II, a total of over 140,000 men were convicted, and 50,000 were prosecuted under Paragraph 175.
€30m will be made available in compensation to survivors, depending on individual cases, and taking the length of sentence into consideration.
Heiko Maas | Heiko Maas | 16449gh
Germany’s Justice Minister Heiko Maas said the draft law, which will be formally announced later in October, will offer “relatively uncomplicated” individual claims, as well as allowing for collective claims.
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.
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.
Klaus Mann | Public domain | 15438
Klaus Heinrich Thomas Mann was born on 18 November 1906 and died on 21 May 1949 in Cannes of an overdose of sleeping tablets. Born in Munich, Klaus Mann was the son of German writer Thomas Mann. He began writing short stories in 1924 and the following year became drama critic for a Berlin newspaper. His first book appeared in 1925.
In 1932 Klaus wrote the first part of his autobiography, which got him in trouble with the Nazis. Apolitical cabaret, the Pepper-Mill, in 1933, also came to the attention of the Nazi regime. To escape prosecution he fled to Paris, then Amsterdam and Switzerland, where his family had a house. In November 1934 he was stripped of German citizenship and became a Czechoslovak citizen.
Mann’s most famous novel, Mephisto, was written in 1936 and first published in Amsterdam. His novel Der Vulkan is one of the 20th century’s most famous novels about German exiles during World War II.
Thomas Quinn Curtiss | Public domain | 15439
Not long after he moved to the US where in 1937, he met his partner Thomas Quinn Curtiss, who was later a film and theater reviewer for Variety and the International Herald Tribune. Mann became a US citizen in 1943.
During World War II, he served as a Staff Sergeant of the 5th US Army in Italy (picture) and in summer 1945 he was sent by the Stars and Stripes to report from postwar Germany.