Rudolf Brazda

Rudolf Brazda, the last-known remaining gay survivor of the holocaust, has died quietly in his sleep at the age of 98.

According to the Associated Press, Brazda passed away in a hospital for the elderly in the French town of Bantry on Wednesday.

He will be cremated and his ashes will be placed next to those of his life partner of more than 50 years, Edward Mayer, who died in 2003.

Brazda’s death comes just four months after receiving France’s top honour, the National Order of the Legion of Honour (Les Oublié(e)s de la Mémoire).

He 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.

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 continued to speak out about his experience and was the subject of both a book and a documentary about his life.

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.

Watch a short documentary about Rudolf Brazda below.

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