The last known remaining gay survivor of the holocaust is to receive France’s top honour, the National Order of the Legion of Honour (Les OubliÃ©(e)s de la MÃ©moire).
Rudolf Brazda, 97, spent nearly three years – from 1942 to 1945 – at the Buchenwald concentration camp; his prisoner uniform branded with the distinctive pink triangle indicating his homosexuality.
Brazda was born on June 26, 1913, in Germany to Czechoslovakian parents. He lived openly as a gay man before the rise of the Nazis in 1934.
In 1937 he was jailed for six months. He was again convicted of homosexuality in 1941 and was then deported to Buchenwald.
The news of the award was announced exactly 66 years after he left the concentration camp.
Brazda only came forward in 2008 with his story after he heard about the unveiling of a Berlin monument to gay and lesbian holocaust victims.
In spite of his age, Brazda continues to speak out about his experience. He is the subject of both a book and a documentary about his life.
Brazda will receive the award on Thursday 28 April at College Puteaux.
The exact number of people who were tortured and killed during the holocaust because of their sexual orientation is unknown, but some estimates suggest that about 54,000 homosexuals were arrested by Nazis with 7,000 to 10,000 killed in concentration camps.
The pink triangle symbol, now used by the gay rights movement, is based on the pink triangle used to mark homosexuals in the Nazi concentration camps.
Watch a short documentary about Rudolf Brazda here.