Northern California Yom HaShoah Commemoration to Remember Gay Survivors of World War II

Un amour à taire

One of the rare films that depict homosexual deportation during World War II is 2005 Un amour à taire (A Love to Hide). The film is loosely based on the Pierre Seel story.

To remember the Holocaust and its lessons for society including the Nazi persecution of those understood to be gay or lesbian identified Jewish Community Federation & Foundation of the Greater East Bay's Riva Gambert ( has organized a free Yom HaShoah commemoration at Temple Isaiah (3800 Mt. Diablo Boulevard Lafayette, CA) on May 1.

Paragraph 175 includes the story of Pierre Seel

Paragraph 175 includes the story of Pierre Seel

Underwritten by the Tillie and Rene Molho Fund for Holocaust Remembrance this program will present the story of one French gay survivor, Pierre Seel z"l told via a performance by Nick Lane, Kevin Copps and directed by Andrew Nance. Pierre Seel who passed away at the age of 82 in 2005 was arrested for homosexuality at 17 by the Gestapo in 1941 after German forces overran France. It is our collective responsibility to retell these stories so they do not happen again.

The cover of Pierre Seel's 1994 published in French biography titled, Moi, Pierre Seel, déporté homosexuel. Written in collaboration with Jean Le Bitoux by Calmann-Lévy in Paris.

Moi, Pierre Seel, déporté homosexuel

A few books, plays and films over the years has presented the lives and experiences of homosexuals during the Holocaust. The most prominent came out of the genius of two San Francisco Bay Area based Gay identified Jewish leaders, Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman. Their 2000 documentary film Paragraph 175 titled after the sodomy provision of the German penal code that led to the arrest of 100,000 men between 1933 and 1945. Only 4,000 of those arrested because of this penal code survived the imprisonment and concentration camps and this film interviews 5 of the 10 known survivors in the year 2000 including Pierre Seel. Another film that is loosely based on Pierre Seel's story is 2005's Un amour à taire (A Love to Hide) which depicts homosexual deportation during World War II and of course, Bent, the 1979 play that presents a story during and after the Night of the Long Knives. Riva Gambert wants the community-at-large to attend this program to collectively look at our shared histories and our contemporary lives together. To read about the history of the Gay and Lesbian experience during World War II please take a look at a few of these selected links:

For more resources on how to honor LGBT and Jewish holidays please take a look at the Federations' LGBT Alliance pages. Posted by Lisa Finkelstein, Jewish Community Federation's LGBT Director.
Categories: Events, Holidays, LGBTQIA+


April 21, 2011


The Federation