Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name

English (Literature)

Department or School/College

Department of English

Committee Chair

Casey Charles

Commitee Members

Bryan Cochran, Katie Kane


Consciousness, Gay, History, Holocaust, Homosexual, Literature, Memory, Nazi, Persecution, Queer, Testimony, Third Reich


University of Montana


The persecution of homosexuals by the Nazis under National Socialism during the Second World War has historically been ignored and almost completely erased. However, within the past two and a half decades a significant number of historical, academic, sociological, and literary inquiries and works have uncovered this once forgotten past. Because of these investigations, the anti-homosexual actions inflicted upon gay men by the Third Reich have the ability to impact the continual creation of a queer collective memory and consciousness. Unfortunately, many queers do not know the historic connotations and denotation of the pink triangle—a symbol worn by homosexual males within the concentration camps—now so readily used by the queer community today as a representation of “pride.” By analyzing the history, testimonies, fictional account of gay persecution, and attempts of reestablishment in the usage of the pink triangle, this thesis seeks to establish the history of persecution of gay men as a solidifying piece of the queer collective consciousness. Such a collective consciousness will not only remember and commemorate those gay lives lost during the Holocaust, but it will also allow the queer community to have a viable political and social past and future that will allow such atrocities to occur “never again.”



© Copyright 2008 Paul D. Vestal