The Nazi campaign against homosexuality targeted the more than one million German men who, the state asserted, carried a "degeneracy" that threatened the "disciplined masculinity" of Germany.
Denounced as "antisocial parasites" and as "enemies of the state," more than 100,000 men were arrested under law against homosexuality.
Approximately 50,000 men served prison terms as convicted homosexuals, while an unknown number were institutionalized in mental hospitals.
Others were castrated under court order or coercion.
5,000 and 15,000 homosexual men were imprisoned in concentration camps, where many died from starvation, disease, exhaustion, beatings, and murder.
Among its first steps to create the "New Order," the regime shut down homosexual gathering places, organizations, and publications in a broad attack on "public indecency." The Nazi assault on homosexuality had begun.
During the 30 months from early 1937 to mid–1939, German police arrested almost 78,000 men under Paragraph 175, one–third of whom were convicted and sentenced to prison.
Nazi leaders such as Himmler also viewed homosexuals as a separate people and ensured that Nazi doctors experimented on them in an effort to locate the hereditary weakness many party members believed caused homosexuality.
Some leaders clearly wanted gay people exterminated, while others wanted enforcement of laws banning sex between gay men or lesbians.
Anyone who promoted controversial sexual ideas was thought of as a deviant by German society and especially by the Nazis.
1. During the Nazi era, some 100,000 men were arrested on violations of Paragraph 175.
2. Of these, nearly 78,000 were arrested during the three years between Heinrich Himmler's appointment as chief of German police in 1936 and the outbreak of World War II in 1939.
3. The police work of tracking down suspected homosexuals depended largely on denunciations from ordinary citizens.
4. Most victims were from the working class. Less able to afford private apartments or homes, they found partners in semi–public places that put them at greater risk of discovery, including by police entrapment.
5. Prison sentences, the most common punishment in the Nazi persecution of homosexual. Imprisonment meant hard labor, part of the Nazi "re–education" pro gram