Seel, Pierre

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Name
Seel, Pierre Gender: M
Pierre Georges Seel
born on 16 August 1923 at 15:00 (= 3:00 PM )
Place Haguenau, France, 48n49, 7e47
Timezone GDT h1e (is daylight saving time)
Data source
BC/BR in hand
Rodden Rating AA
Collector: Geslain
Astrology data s_su.18.gif s_leocol.18.gif 22°40' s_mo.18.gif s_libcol.18.gif 17°04 Asc.s_sagcol.18.gif 06°51'



Pierre Seel (Memorial plate on a façade of the Mulhouse City Theatre)
photo: Ji-Elle, license cc-by-sa-3.0

Biography

French gay Holocaust survivor and the only French person to have testified openly about his experience of deportation during World War II due to his homosexuality.

On 3 May 1941, Seel was arrested in Mulhouse after police added his name to a list of known (or presumed) homosexuals. He was tortured and forcibly sodomized with a piece of wood. He was then sent to the city jail before being transferred on 13 May 1941 to the Schirmeck-Vorbrück camp, about 30 km west of Strasbourg. During his stay in the camp he also witnessed the execution of his eighteen-year-old lover, Jo, by means of assault from a pack of dogs.

On 6 November 1941, after months of starvation, ill treatment and forced labour, Seel was set free with no explanation and made a German citizen. He was sworn to secrecy about his experience by Karl Buck, the commander of the camp. He was made to report daily to the Gestapo offices.

During the rest of the war he was incorporated into the Wehrmacht and become one of the "malgré-nous" (despite ourselves), young men born in Alsace or Lorraine enrolled against their will into the German army who had to fight with their enemies against the people they supported.

After the end of the war, the Charles de Gaulle government cleaned up the French Penal Code, principally getting rid of the anti-Semitic laws. The article against homosexual relations between adults and minors, however, remained in force until 1982. The homophobic atmosphere of the 1940s-1960s meant that for the returning victims, the possibility of telling their story was thwarted by the fear of further stigmatisation.

In April 1982, in response to anti-gay declarations and actions by Léon Elchinger, the Bishop of Strasbourg, Seel spoke publicly and wrote an open letter to the Bishop on 18 November. The letter was published in Gai Pied Hebdo No 47 on 11 December. At the same time, he started the official process of getting compensation from the state.

From the time he came forward publicly until the end of his life, Seel was active as an advocate for the recognition of homosexual victims of the Nazis. Seel came to be known as the most outspoken activist among the men who had survived internment as homosexuals during the Third Reich.

In 1994, Seel published the book "Moi, Pierre Seel, déporté homosexuel" ("I, Pierre Seel, Deported Homosexual"), written with the assistance of journalist and activist Jean Le Bitoux, founder of the long-running French gay periodical Gai Pied; the book subsequently appeared in translation in English, German and Spanish. Seel appeared on national television and in the national press in France.

Seel subsequently found himself under attack in the 1980s and 1990s, even receiving death threats. After he appeared on French television, he was attacked and beaten by young men shouting homophobic epithets. Catherine Trautmann, then the Mayor of Strasbourg and later a Socialist Party culture minister, once refused to shake his hand during a commemorative ceremony.

In 2003, Seel received official recognition as a victim of the Holocaust by the International Organization for Migration's program for aiding Nazi victims.

He died on 25 November 2005, aged 82, in Toulouse, France.


Link to Wikipedia biography

Relationships

  • opponent/rival/enemy relationship with Trautmann, Catherine (born 15 January 1951). Notes: Refused to shake his hand

Events

  • Work : Published/ Exhibited/ Released 1994 (Autobiography)

Source Notes

Didier Geslain archive, 's' pdf file, p. 82.

Categories

  • Passions : Sexuality : Homosexual male (Gay)
  • Passions : Criminal Victim : Assault/ Battery victim (Attacked and beaten by homophobic young men)
  • Passions : Criminal Victim : Concentration camp (Schirmeck-Vorbrück)
  • Passions : Criminal Victim : Torture victim
  • Vocation : Military : Military service (Malgré-nous)
  • Vocation : Politics : Activist/ political (Advocate for the recognition of homosexual victims of the Nazis)
  • Vocation : Writers : Autobiographer