Reviews for Branded by the Pink Triangle

Booklist Reviews 2013 July #1
Though homosexuality had been illegal in Germany since 1871, Berlin was widely regarded as the gay capital of Europe in the early twentieth century, when attitudes toward homosexuals were generally relaxed. All that changed with the rise of Nazism in the 1930s. Persecution of gays became the order of the day, and, with the creation of concentration camps, many were remanded to this living death, forced to wear pink triangles on their clothing to identify them as being homosexual. No one knows how many gays died in the camps, but the mortality rate is estimated to have been as high as 60 percent. Setterington, a librarian, has written an informative, well-researched, and well-documented history of the brutal treatment of homosexuals at the hands of the Nazis, humanizing his account with stories of survivors who have written about their experiences. He also includes an overview of the distressing condition of being gay in postwar Germany and, finally, brings the story up to date with a hopeful chapter titled, "It Gets Better." Setterington's is a significant contribution to LGBT history and one that deserves a wide readership. Copyright 2013 Booklist Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2013 July #1
An impassioned and cogent history of the persecution of gay men during the Holocaust. Setterington opens with the riveting anecdote of a Jewish survivor of Auschwitz who was rescued and nurtured by a man with a pink triangle on his uniform. From this beginning, he moves back in time to introduce readers to early-20th-century Berlin, a bastion of gay tolerance despite the anti-homosexual law known as Paragraph 175. He goes on to chronicle the Nazis' crackdown on gay men, their deportation to concentration camps, the experiences of both Jewish and Gentile gay men, and the aftermath of the war. Most cruelly, gay survivors were treated as criminals rather than victims, since their liberators viewed homosexuality as a crime. Illuminating the historical overview are stories of specific young (mostly teenage) gay men, taken mostly from memoirs. They are related with immediacy, personalizing the potentially mind-numbing catalog of horrors that make up any Holocaust account. Details, too, take readers into the heart of the insanity: Paragraph 175 was enforced in Western European "Aryan" territories such as the Netherlands but not in Poland and Eastern Europe, where they were seen as part of the strategy to undermine the already-"degraded" Slavic peoples. Never downplaying the appalling cataclysm that was the murder of 6 million Jews, Setterington nevertheless effectively makes the case for history's need to remember Hitler's other victims as well. Despite its brevity, a remarkably informative and necessary work. (notes, bibliography) (Nonfiction. 12 & up) Copyright Kirkus 2013 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

School Library Journal Reviews 2013 July

Gr 9 Up--Stories from the Holocaust are universally heartbreaking and horrifying, and this one is no different. The pink triangle was used by the Nazis to identify homosexual prisoners in the concentration camps, and here Setterington shows how it has been adopted by the gay movement as a symbol of strength and pride. He describes how German society's relatively tolerant attitudes of the 1920s grew less so as Hitler and the Nazis came into power and began a quest to purify the "Aryan race." By weaving the individual experiences into a broader account of the treatment and persecution of homosexuals by the Nazi regime, the author provides a compelling and evocative narrative. Culling first-person accounts from concentration camp survivors, he is able to paint a picture of the fear and harassment (and for some, ultimately death) that these individuals and their families endured. The writing is succinct but detailed enough to satisfy researchers. Period photographs, a lengthy time line, and an extensive bibliography round out the strengths of this thoughtful, informative work.--Jody Kopple, Shady Hill School, Cambridge, MA

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VOYA Reviews 2013 August
In the 1920s and early 1930s, Berlin, Germany was an "exceptional city" for homosexuals, with "people from around the world travel[ing] to Berlin to enjoy the freedom of this exciting atmosphere." Paragraph 175, the law against homosexuality, was so rarely enforced "activists were working to abolish Paragraph 175 altogether." With the rise of the Nazi party, however, freedom turned to fear, and despite the fact that Ernest Rohm, Hitler's most influential deputy and trusted friend, was widely known to be a homosexual, homosexual rights organizations were banned once Hitler was appointed Chancellor. The first concentration camp at Dachau was established shortly after that. Rohm's execution during the Night of the Long Knives, July 1, 1934, heralded Hitler's public position that the homosexual threat to development of the Aryan race would not be tolerated. The subsequent sharp increase in the number of homosexual convictions under Paragraph 175 resulted in thousands of homosexuals, primarily men, sent to concentration camps, where they were identified by the pink triangle on their prison uniforms. With thousands of homosexual prisoners executed each year during the peak years of persecution, the pink triangle came to symbolize the persecution of homosexuals for years to come Librarian Setterington employs a deft storyteller's touch, weaving riveting narratives with in-depth historical research to make this under-reported historical chapter come alive. An important book for young readers, LGBT educators, community members, and allies, Branded by the Pink Triangle conveys inhumanity and horror, balanced by bravery, compassion, and perseverance.--Kim CarterThis book provides a complete description of the situation of homosexuals in Europe, before , during, and after the Holocaust. It tells the stories of specific young men persecuted by the Nazis, showing the horrors they endured. The combination of the tales of different young men, facts, political background, and some statistics is highly effective. By reading this book, readers will greatly expand their knowledge of the people who suffered during the Nazi rule. 4Q, 2P.--Lorne Carter, Teen Reviewer Index. Illus. Photos. Maps. Biblio. Chronology. 4Q 3P M J Copyright 2011 Voya Reviews.