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I, Pierre Seel, Deported Homosexual: A Memoir of Nazi Terror

4.14  ·  Rating Details ·  164 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
As a young man in German-occupied France, Pierre Seel appeared on a list of accused homosexuals and was sent to an interment camp. He managed to survive the war, spending most of it as cannon fodder on the Russian front. Available for the first time in English, this account of Seel's experiences provides an invaluable contribution to the literature of the Holocaust.
Hardcover, 186 pages
Published December 1st 1995 by Basic Books (AZ) (first published August 1st 1995)
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Richard Derus
Apr 30, 2013 Richard Derus rated it really liked it
Rating: 4* of five

The Publisher Says: At the age of seventeen, in the arms of a thief, Pierre Seel felt his watch sliding off his wrist. So begins the astonishing chain of events that led to the Schirmeck-Vorbruch concentration camp, where Seel suffered unspeakable horrors for the sole "crime" of being a homosexual.The story of survival in the camps has been told many times, but Seel's is one of the only firsthand accounts of the Nazi roundup and deportation of homosexuals. For nearly forty year
Victoria Zagar
Feb 02, 2015 Victoria Zagar rated it it was amazing
How do you comment on something like this? I feel like I'm hardly qualified, yet I also feel the need to say something about this book, which has not only touched me deeply, but altered something in the way I look at the past. Not that I was ever under any illusion about the hideous cruelty of the Nazis, but to see their crimes laid out in this matter-of-fact, yet deeply personal account really hit home hard for me.

Seel doesn't clutter his account with unnecessary window-dressing, he simply reco
Sep 28, 2011 Ken rated it liked it
Who in the world is Pierre Seel, you ask ?

Pierre Seel (8/16/23 – 11/25/05) was a gay Holocaust survivor and the only French person to have testified openly about his experience of deportation by the Nazis during World War II due to his homosexuality.
First of all, this isn’t so much a gay story as it a human story. If you’re looking for a hopeful, enlightening story about gay pride and secret romantic interludes between the gay prisoners in the camps, you won’t get it.

This memoir is dark, broodin
Oct 06, 2014 Questingforaquest rated it it was amazing
Shelves: to-own
In my school system, we were made to read Holocaust literature every year, and so I got fairly well-versed in it. We were supposed to take away from these readings such messages as those of tolerance, how bigotry gets encoded into established law, why people are complicit in it, and the tagline "Never forget". I also took away from it "how the government gets you", whether or not you've done anything wrong--hence my friends thinking for the past few years that I have a weird obstinance when it c ...more
Apr 18, 2015 Grace rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
I feel odd giving something so harrowing a 5 star review, but this is essential reading.
What he suffered at the hands of the Nazis and then that he had to go back to a world that still didn't accept him and had to live behind a façade for his entire life. It is just so terribly sad and horrific. But a memoir I think everyone should read.
Oct 22, 2014 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gay, memoir, war
Having read Elie Wiesel's famous Night this morning, it was a shocking pairing to read Seel's memoir of his own experience in the Nazi concentration camps this afternoon. No, I won't compare and contrast them, that is pointless: each will forever stand on their own as a record of man's brutality. I'll add only a few pertinent comments. The plight of homosexuals was one of the last victims' stories to emerge from the Nazi reign of terror, decades after the events. With cruel irony, because suspec ...more
Antonio Rossano Mendes Pontes
An amazing still terribly painful story of a life completely wrecked by nazis and subsequently by the french society where he lived just for having being born homosexual. It is deeply revolting to read about how much Mr. Seel suffered, first as a prisioner deported to concentration camps, then, raped, bullied, bitten, whipped, starved; subsequently as a forced labourer; then, serving as a nazi soldier in the German II World War ditches front (and wearing the suastika). When he finally came back ...more
Dec 18, 2011 Alian345 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: holocaust-war
This book is one of the few on the fate of gay people before, during and after WW2 written by a survivor. It is utterly harrowing in parts. One of the most depressing features is the sense of desolation and depression felt by Pierre after the war. Unlike others affected by Nazi brutality there was no recompense either financial or legal or even emotional. I admire his eventual courage and thank God for the freedoms we have and have fought for today!

RIP, Pierre..........................
Dec 10, 2012 Richard rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, gay
Pierre Seel's memoirs of being detained in a Nazi concentration camp because he was homosexual is a powerful and well documented treatise on what happened to gays during the Nazi regime. I'd give it five stars except that the last half of the book focuses on the trouble he faced as a gay man in post-war France in trying to gain compensation from the government for his experience, something other camp survivors received. Maybe that's the editor in me. That information is important to the book, bu ...more
Martijn Hartman-maatman
Now I am sure this book is important and all, but it is just way to short for this subject. It describes a periode of at least 50 years in a flash, mixed in with some facts and that's it.

For someone who wants this part of history to be remembered, he sure makes a short story.
Angela Ralph
Feb 04, 2015 Angela Ralph rated it it was amazing
I admire his bravery in telling the story. The grueling horror that he experienced is an important read in the history of man's acceptance of man.
Alex Bare
Jan 11, 2016 Alex Bare rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I was inspired to read about Seel's story after I entered in an essay contest sponsored by my local Jewish Federation. To my surprise, my essay was selected by community leaders and rabbis to be read at the 2014 Yom HaShoah Holocaust remembrance ceremony in Rock Island, Illinois. Some in the audience were left in tears at the conclusion of my speech and faith leaders—both Jewish and Christian—welcomed the story as an essential piece of the Holocaust. I strongly encourage everyone to read this st ...more
May 20, 2013 Jonathan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pierre Seel tells a gripping story about how a simple accident led to his imprisonment in a Nazi concentration camp during WWII and, eventually, to his role as an advocate for recognizing the historic role of homosexuals as forgotten holocaust victims. Through brutally honest descriptions and vivid memories, Seel brings to life an aspect of history that is most frequently overlooked. This book will no doubt foster a desire to look into the topic even more.
Jan 13, 2014 Ilya rated it really liked it
An easy but uncomfortable read. Conversational and very moving. Shows that the prison of the mind is a unique kind of awful. A really valuable document.
Ryan Mishap
Oct 05, 2008 Ryan Mishap rated it really liked it
From Alsace, Seel was deported to a Nazi camp, sent home, then drafted into the German army and sent to fight on the Russian front, among other experiences he recounts here. After thirty years of silence, he decided to speak out about his own experience in the cause of having homosexuals recognized as victims of the holocaust. Spare, matter-of-fact account is important.
May 31, 2010 Jaden rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in memoirs, Holocaust, homosexuality, Nazi party
This is the story of Pierre Seel, who was deported as a young teenager to Nazi concentration camps for homosexuality. He remained suicidal most of his adult life, until he came out as a gay man in his older age and wrote this book. He is of the only gay Alsacians who spoke out on this issue. Terribly sad book.
Bryan Schwartz
Oct 07, 2012 Bryan Schwartz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Incredible, disturbing, and thoughtful. A necessary book for anyone looking at the experience of the Pink Triangles in the Holocaust and better translated than Heger's "The Men With The Pink Triangle". I'll be adding it to my growing dissertation bibliography.
Jayne Furlong
Sep 04, 2013 Jayne Furlong rated it it was amazing
Shelves: queer
Wow. This is an intense memoir. More real and heartfelt than most I have read, you can tell this man wanted to get it all out on paper. Its incredible!
Jan 03, 2014 Carmen rated it really liked it
Astonish account of a by who got caught in the holocaust turmoil and played part of both as survivor and part of the German nazy party.
Leslie Nicoll
Jun 29, 2011 Leslie Nicoll rated it really liked it
Not the easiest thing to read, but important. Recommended.
Ebony *LilKoalaBooks*
Sep 17, 2016 Ebony *LilKoalaBooks* rated it really liked it
3.5 stars. Review to come.
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Pierre Seel was deported from France for homosexuality during World War II. In the 1980s, he began speaking out about his experiences.
More about Pierre Seel...

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“I had to bear witness in order to protect the future, bear witness in order to overcome the amnesia of my contemporaries.” 0 likes
“He had been one of the officials who kept the illegal list of homosexuals in that region with the same good conscience as when he ticketed store owners for neglecting dog turds on their sidewalks.” 0 likes
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