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After he died in 1994, his companion donated fragments of his diary, a number of letters, and a cloth strip with the red triangle and his prisoner number to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
While the narrative Phillips was constructing got longer and more nuanced, increasingly he faced a challenge.
Grune survived and was liberated at the end of the war.
The exhibition has traveled virtually unchanged since it was first shown in the fall of 2002.
Research into Gestapo records reveals that Gestapo officers were merely “desk jockeys,” Phillips says. The photo is particularly powerful, since the two men, the real couple, are seen in sharp focus while the “wife” of one of them, standing behind him, is a blurred figure.
As the head of the SS, Henrich Himmler, according to Phillips, was the real bad guy.
He pursued the enforcement of the criminal law codes.
Phillips, a historian with a Ph D in Russian and early modernist history, who had taught Russian history at various colleges, asked himself, “Where do I begin? So, like many a trained historian and talented fiction writer, he devised the idea of developing a narrative and is a first-person account of his arrest and imprisonment for being a “degenerate.” A Viennese university student, in 1939 Heger was arrested and transported to Sachsenhausen, a concentration camp north of Berlin.By the early 1930s, however, it was estimated that there were 350,000 homosexual men and women residing among the four million inhabitants of Berlin, a number that alarmed Hitler. “One did not know who one’s friends were.” Included in the exhibit is a file photo from 1938 of an alleged gay bar.In early May of 1933, the Nazis attacked Magnus Hirshfeld’s Institut fur Sexualwissenschaft (Institute for Sexual Research) in Berlin, burning many of its books and archives. “Clearly,” Phillips says, “some surveillance was going on.” Another photo reproduction illuminates the fact that gays often got involved in protective marriages to avoid persecution.He was ultimately reunited with his family after the Americans liberated the camp in 1945.The book documents not only the suffering he experienced at the camp but the poor treatment that he received after liberation from the West German government.