Homosexuality in prisoner of war camps

He was born in the Alsace region of northern France near the German border and grew up in the city of Mulhouse, where his family ran a pastry shop. After German forces overran France in 1940, the collaborating Vichy government adopted German laws, including Paragraph 175, which prohibited sexual acts between men.

Heinrich Himmler, director of Nazi Germany's secret police and network of concentration camps, declared that homosexuals should be eradicated. Seel was 18, he was arrested by the Gestapo and tortured for 10 days.

“They marched us out of the camp,” he said, “I knew that the English soldier and I would be separated.” “We had remembered each other’s address because we knew that would happen.” The English soldier was put on transport back to England, while the Australian went to France with the Americans.

"We had cases of homosexuals really falling in love.

In his 1994 memoir, "I, Pierre Seel, Deported Homosexual," he described how he and other suspected homosexuals were beaten, had their fingernails pulled out and were raped with broken rulers. Seel was sent to Schirmeck-Vorbruck, the only German concentration camp on French soil, where he said he was "tortured, beaten, sodomized and raped." He was forced to build crematoriums and to stand as the camp staff tossed syringes at him as if he were a dartboard.

The worst experience, he wrote, came when German troops marched a prisoner into the center of the yard, stripped him naked and placed a bucket over the man's head. Seel recognized him as his 18-year-old friend and lover. Seel's book, German shepherd dogs were unleashed on his friend, tearing him apart and devouring him before hundreds of witnesses.

Before capture, the Melbourne man said he had numerous liaisons with other servicemen, including a night-time rendezvous with his co-driver during the bombing of Athens.

“We might as well be happy while we’ve the chance,” his fellow serviceman told him as they watched the bombs rain down.

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