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Reflections on the book Hidden Hitler by Lothar Machtan

This book on Hitler really intrigued me. Its contention that Adolph was gay reminded me of whispers Iíd heard over the years. After World War II Germans did not shrink for accepting responsibility for the holocaust but felt too shamed to go mucking about in an examination of the dirty past. That veil of shame is beginning to lift and some folks are willing, even eager, to explore aspects of the Hitler years with some real intellectual curiosity.

The book has convinced me. Adolph was a poor boy in desperate circumstances who had a penchant for being a big mouth know-it-all. Before the "Great War" he circulated in all male circles with many fellows who took an aggressive pro homoerotic stance about the world. Its most interesting suggestion is that gay prostitution helped Hitler get by. Although a shallow and mediocre thinker he was cunning and used his circles of gay buddies to make a name for himself in politics in the desperate post war years.

Its been common knowledge for years that the Nazi storm troopers headed by Ernst Rohm were a hotbed of homosexuals. That was one of the reasons Hitler gave for crushing them in 1934 when Rohm began challenging him for influence. At the time Hitlerís control of Germany was precarious and he was growing in international stature. Although pleased to let his henchmen promote homoeroticism in the Twenties he thought better of it when potential blackmailers threatened to blacken his name internationally in the Thirties. Killing off gay acquaintances was an effective way to shut up other loose lips.

Before getting too far into the book I checked out the web to see what comments the book had elicited. The book has not met with universal praise. Much of the author's evidence is second hand and circumstantial. Still, I was amazed at the number of people whose veiled and not so veiled comments about Hitlerís sexuality existed in both pre and post war years. I find credible the author's contention that disgraced Germans of the 1950ís had little reason to admit having fallen under the sway not only of a murderous loser but a perverted one at that.

This is still a sticky subject today. Although homosexuality is beginning to lose its stigma as a perversion in much of the western world the holocaust is just as perverted as ever. Gayís who have labored for centuries under a cloud canít welcome the notion that the worldís most notorious mass murderer was gay and the terrible suggestion that somehow homosexuality lay behind the crimes of  the holocaust.

Iíve seen the pink triangles at the Holocaust Museum which homosexuals were forced to wear at the concentration camps. How ironic that Hitler would have so persecuted his own in order to throw people off the scent of his own sexuality.

If there is an indictment to be made it should be directed at the unforgiving and inquisitorial treatment of homosexuals by "Christians." Forced so far into the closet gays have repeatedly had to create subterranean means to stay in touch. In Germany, after World War I, this led to fascist gay fraternities. By trading on grievances that all Germans could agree on these homoerotic idealists created a political party which eclipsed their gay movement and then turned on it. Hitler in his forties was seduced by the charms of absolute power over those of sexual liberation.

Some of the best sources on the sexual milieu that Hitler reveled in before he became der Fuhrer were the very people who longed for gay respectability. They watched in horror as Hitler, a sort of gay messiah, turned on his own annihilating his old friends. Such hypocrisy was abhorrent to the fearful survivors who had to take care lest the Gestapo hunted them down and shut them up too. After the war some left hints about their old associate Adolph.

The most famous homosexual of his era, Oscar Wilde, referred to his orientation as ďthe love which dares not speak its name." He must have resented the opprobrium attached to his being gay and took delight in exposing the hypocrisy of others wherever he found it. Eventually he did speak it and was thrown in jail for his candor.