Wednesday, September 28, 2011

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

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

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, brooding and a bit dry for my taste. I have to be honest and say that I found myself struggling to finish it. The first half of the book is quite interesting but the telling of his later years is yawn-inducing. In the fifties (and still very much in the closet), Pierre marries a lady and begins a family. Three children later, twenty jobs later, bouts with alcoholism and addictions to nerve pills, they divorce and go their separate ways. Pierre quickly spirals into deep depression and stumbles through life until the early eighties when he meets the proper people and begins telling his story.

This book is a must for students of gay history. It was interesting to read about the stealth that had to be employed to facilitate gay relationships during that time. Some may find that this book isn’t “gay” enough. Pierre was very closeted and for the most part, glosses over the finer details of his intimate life or thoughts. 

Perhaps the book would be more interesting if read in the language (French) it was written in.


Rating: 5.0

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