In 1941, a 17-year-old Pierre Seel was arrested and imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp for being gay.
Seel, who grew up in Mulhouse, France near the German border, recounted his experience in an autobiography called, "I, Pierre Seel, Deported Homosexual: A Memoir of Nazi Terror." In the book, which was published in 1995, Seel writes about prisoners being beaten, getting their fingernails torn out and raped with broken rulers. One of his friends was escorted to a center yard where he was stripped naked. The Nazi soldiers placed a bucket over his head and unleashed German shepherd dogs on him.
After spending six months at Schirmeck-Vorbruck concentration camp, Seel was released and forced to join the German army against his will. He'd end up marrying a woman and having two sons and a daughter. But in 1982, when the bishop of Strasbourg, France said homosexuality was not a sickness, Seel spoke up. He wrote in his book, "After decades of silence I have made up my mind to speak, to accuse, to bear witness."
Before passing away at 82 in 2005, Seel was able to share his story in the 2000 documentary, "Paragraph 175," ( video below) which was named after the German penal code section that warranted Nazis to arrest those they thought were gay.
Each day in October, which is LGBT History Month, we'll be featuring a different LGBT icon. Check back tomorrow for a look at another incredible individual who changed history and visit our LGBT History Month Big News Page for more stories.
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