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White badge with an inverted red triangle and number 1896 worn by a gay concentration camp inmate

Object | Accession Number: 2012.482.1

White patch with an inverted red triangle and black inked prisoner number 1896 worn by Josef Kohout while incarcerated from May 1940-April 1945 in Flossenbürg concentration camp for violating statute 175, which punished indecent acts between men. After being liberated during a death march, Josef replaced his filthy, tattered uniform with civilian clothing. Before destroying the uniform, he removed this badge to keep as a memento of his ordeal. Josef was from Vienna, Austria. After it was annexed by Germany in March 1938, German laws were aggressively enforced. The Nazi regime viewed homosexuality as a threat to the racial health of the Reich and its population policies for increasing the birth rate of pure Germans. The suggestion of homosexuality was sufficient for arrest. A Christmas card sent by Josef to another man was intercepted and Josef, 24, was arrested, charged under Statute 175, and sentenced to prison for seven months. In November 1939, the Gestapo placed him in protective custody and deported Josef to Sachsenhausen concentration camp. In May 1940, Josef was sent to Flossenbürg. He was registered as a Sch-175, Schutzhafling [Protective custody] prisoner, violator of paragraph 175. Most prisoners were slave laborers in an SS stone quarry or airplane factory. In 1942, Josef became a capo in the airplane factory, the only gay capo in the camp. On April 20, 1945, Josef was sent on a death march. He was liberated on April 25 by American troops, 19th Infantry. Josef returned to Vienna after the war ended in May. In 1972, Josef's personal story, as told to a friend, was the first published account by a gay survivor of the concentration camps, Männer mit dem rosa Winkel [Men with the Pink Triangle], created using the pseudonym Heinz Heger.

use:  approximately 1940 May-approximately 1945 April
use: Flossenbürg (Concentration camp); Flossenbürg (Germany)
Identifying Artifacts
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Wilhelm A. Kroepfl
Record last modified: 2021-06-11 07:46:08
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