I, Pierre Seel, Deported Homosexual: A Memoir of Nazi Terror

Overview

On a fateful day in May 1941, in Nazi-occupied Strasbourg, Alsace, seventeen-year-old Pierre Seel was summoned by the Gestapo. He had made the mistake of reporting a theft that had occurred in a gay area of town. The police added his name to a list of suspected homosexuals that was soon turned over to the occupying Germans. To attempt escape would have meant the arrest and deportation of his family, so young Seel chose instead to report to Gestapo headquarters, starting out on a journey that would take him from ...
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Overview

On a fateful day in May 1941, in Nazi-occupied Strasbourg, Alsace, seventeen-year-old Pierre Seel was summoned by the Gestapo. He had made the mistake of reporting a theft that had occurred in a gay area of town. The police added his name to a list of suspected homosexuals that was soon turned over to the occupying Germans. To attempt escape would have meant the arrest and deportation of his family, so young Seel chose instead to report to Gestapo headquarters, starting out on a journey that would take him from the safety and innocence of his teenage existence to the horrors of the Schirmeeck-Vorbruch concentration camp.

As a young man in German-occupied France, Pierre Seel appeared on a list of accused homosexuals and was sent to an interment camp. He managed to survive the war, spending most of it as cannon fodder on the Russian front. Available for the first time in English, this account of Seel's experiences provides an invaluable contribution to the literature of the Holocaust.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
After years of anguished silence, French-born Seel came out of the closet in 1981 at the age of 58 to bear witness to the Nazi deportation of homosexuals during WWII. In this brief, powerful memoir, he recalls the details of his arrest and torture by the Gestapo and his horrific experiences at a concentration camp in Alsace, where homosexuals were the most despised of prisoners. Inexplicably released in 1941, he was drafted into the German army, saw action on various fronts and managed to survive the war. Convinced by a priest that he was in a state of mortal sin, Seel set out to eradicate his homosexuality, keeping silent for years about his ``pink triangle'' past. But in 1981, outraged by a prominent bishop's characterization of homosexuals as ``sick,'' he became inspired with a sense of obligation to obtain recognition for what had happened to some 350,000 homosexuals during the war, and his public statements became a cause clbre in France. Seel remains active at 72 in his personal crusade, publicly airing the long-overlooked tragedy of the homosexual holocaust. His account of his suffering and his plea for justice are heartrending in their dignified restraint. Illustrations. (Aug.)
Library Journal
Seel was abducted by the Germans from his home in Alsace, France, because his name appeared on a police list of suspected homosexuals. He was then subjected to ghastly torture, later conscripted into the German army, and eventually taken prisoner by the Russians. His testimony and plight do not end there. After years of a difficult marriage and attempts to overcome his shame, he now seeks the same recognition other victims of the Nazis receive from the French government. This harrowing tale may be overwhelming for some, but it gives new depth to human witness of the most horrific act of the century. Though there is an enormous Holocaust literature, relatively little deals with the Nazi internment of gays. A notable exception is Heinz Heger's The Men with the Pink Triangle (Alyson Books, 1994. 2d ed.). For public libraries.-David Azzolina, Univ. of Pennsylvania Libs., Philadelphia
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780765474315
  • Publication date: 7/28/1995
  • Pages: 186

Meet the Author


Pierre Seel (1923-2005) wrote Moi, Pierre Seel, déporté homosexuel in 1994. In 2008, the municipality of Toulouse, France, renamed a street in honor of Pierre Seel.
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Table of Contents

Foreword Gregory Woods xi

Acknowledgments xxxiii

1 An Average Middle-Class Family 1

2 Schirmeck-Vorbrüch 15

3 Destination Smolensk 45

4 Years of Shame 89

5 Out of the Closet: A Painful Testimony 123

Appendix 141

Notes Jean Le Bitoux 145

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