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LGBT People Of History Part Thirty Two Otto Peltzer

Updated on April 3, 2012
Otto Peltzer
Otto Peltzer | Source
Otto Peltzer
Otto Peltzer | Source
The Entrance Gates At Mauthausen Concentration Camp In Austria
The Entrance Gates At Mauthausen Concentration Camp In Austria | Source
Exterior View Of Mauthausen Concentration Camp
Exterior View Of Mauthausen Concentration Camp | Source
The Stairs Of Death At Mauthausen
The Stairs Of Death At Mauthausen | Source
Liberation Of Mauthausen
Liberation Of Mauthausen | Source
Liberation Of The Women's Camp At Mauthausen
Liberation Of The Women's Camp At Mauthausen | Source
The Kurfuerstendamm at Night, West Berlin, West Germany, 1950s
The Kurfuerstendamm at Night, West Berlin, West Germany, 1950s | Source

Otto Peltzer

Born March 8th 1900 Otto Paul Eberhard Peltzer in Ellenbrook-Draag in the province of Schleswig Hosltein in Germany.

Otto became a middle distance runner for Germany setting many world records during the 1920s. He attended the University of Munich in the 1920s and was nicknamed “Otto Der Seltsame”. Translated in to English it means “Otto the Strange.”

Gaining his doctorate in 1925 from the university, Otto later was invited to take part in the AAA Championships in London, where he won the 800m in 1926 and beat the reigning champion Douglas Lowe of Britain who had two years previously won the same event at the Olympics.

Otto was homosexual and was persecuted for this; in 1933 Adolf Hitler came to power and became Chancellor of Germany. Otto joined the SS but unfortunately in 1935 he was arrested under the amended version of paragraph 175, a much stronger law outlining harsh penalties for homosexuality between men. Paragraph 175 had been on the statute book since the nineteenth century but was not strictly enforced especially in the 1920s. Otto served eighteen months in prison and was released under the condition that he would have no further involvement in sport.

He then left Germany and lived rough in Denmark, Finland and Sweden. He was promised by Germany that all charges would be dropped if he returned, but sadly in 1941 when he did return the Nazis did not keep their word and Otto was imprisoned in the notorious Mauthausen Concentration Camp in Austria.

Most concentration camps at that time housed inmates of all categories. However Mauthausen mostly housed the Intelligentsia who had been sentenced to extermination through labour. The conditions in Mauthausen were atrocious and very hard to bear, as inmates suffered from malnutrition, overcrowded huts and constant abuse and beatings by the guards and Kapos, as well as exceptionally hard labour.

Mauthausen had a quarry where many inmates were forced to work to death. Those who did not work in the quarry and in the other areas such as the workshops or other manual labour feared the quarry as it was also used as a punishment. This was due to people being selected to work there for so called ‘crimes’ they may or may not have committed in the camp such as not saluting a German passing by. In this quarry were the ‘stairs of death’ where prisoners were forced to carry slabs of granite up 186 steps whilst enduring the abuse of the SS. This inevitably resulted in severe injury or death.

Mauthausen was a concentration camp for men. In 1944 a female camp was built and the first female inmates arrived from Auschwitz in September. Eventually more women and children arrived from many concentration camps such as Belsen and Ravensbruck.

Mauthausen was eventually liberated by the by the soldiers of the 41st Recon Squad of the US 11th Armoured Division, 3rd US Army on May 5, 1945.

Fortunately Otto survived his imprisonment at Mauthausen camp and after the liberation returned to Germany. He struggled to find work as homosexuality was still illegal as Paragraph 175 remained in place until 1969. Otto did however manage to find a position reporting at the Melbourne Olympics, but afterwards he returned to the struggle of finding work.

He eventually left Germany and went to live in India where he became a coach and founded the “Olympic Youth Delhi Club” which was later renamed the “Otto Peltzer Memorial Athletic Club” in his honour.

Otto suffered a heart attack in the late sixties and unfortunately on the 11th August 1970 he died.

Callum and Ian.

With thanks to Wikipedia.

Paragraph 175 The Amended Version Of 1935
Paragraph 175 The Amended Version Of 1935 | Source
LGBT People Of History Archive
LGBT People Of History Archive | Source
Laurence Michael Dillon
Laurence Michael Dillon | Source
Gad Beck
Gad Beck | Source

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    • Michele Travis profile image

      Michele Travis 

      6 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio

      Hmm maybe not wonderful. How about putting a copyright on your posts?

    • Michele Travis profile image

      Michele Travis 

      6 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio

      Wow, that is wonderful!

    • homesteadbound profile image

      Cindy Murdoch 

      6 years ago from Texas

    • calpol25 profile imageAUTHOR

      Callum 

      6 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland, UK (At Home With My Wonderful Partner)

      Hi Michele we are actually putting these in book format as we speak there will be a few volumes these make the first :)

    • alian346 profile image

      alian346 

      6 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland

      We are!!

      Ian.

    • Michele Travis profile image

      Michele Travis 

      6 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio

      Still bookmarking!!!!! You can write a book you know :) :) :)

    • calpol25 profile imageAUTHOR

      Callum 

      6 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland, UK (At Home With My Wonderful Partner)

      Thanks Ian, you were right to push me to give insight about conditions in Mauthausen :) x

    • alian346 profile image

      alian346 

      6 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland

      What an appalling waste of talent! You have illustrated this well, Callum.

      Ian.

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