To the editor,
A letter to the editor Nov. 16, indicated that the number of deaths of gay men referred to by me in a column was not correct.
The fact is that many authors, witnesses and historians have been involved with making an attempt to verify these horrific deaths, including Jews, Poles, gay men and many others. I have read many books and articles in relation to this subject and the result is that figures are not accurate and can never be substantiated. One such study indicated that gay men were the largest identifiable group, (wearing pink triangles), to be executed. Others dispute that.
The United States holocaust Museum has information, as have so many other sources. Actually none are correct and that is due to various reasons, such as documentation lost during bombing raids and other means. How it appears accurate is not knowledge but an estimation that one may think reasonable to assume. The author of the letter, estimates 5,000 to 15,000 gay men were imprisoned. Actually, some numbers are much higher and are quoted to be anywhere from 10,000 to over 100,000 executions of gay men. To accurately quote numbers cannot be accomplished as they simply do not exist.
Recently declassified British and Russian documents have indicated different numbers again, but insist the numbers are highly reliable. Numbers are rounded off sometimes and vary greatly. If between five and six million Jews perished in concentration camps, then what happened to the other one million? That is a great number of people that cannot be accounted for during the Second World War.
I must emphasize that I pay tribute to all who suffered and perished during the Holocaust, regardless of numbers. By saluting gay men I do not do so at the expense of others. I will also mention the fact that gay men continue to endure terrible discrimination by various means, as was recently the case in New Glasgow, a hate crime against gay men. This has continued over the ages and even as we experience great strides, we cannot assume that all is well.
Let us just remember and not pay too much attention to numbers because that does not alter the severity of the horrific torture and executions in concentration camps. We are all the same and we all deserve the same peace, dignity and respect.