GLAA praises Chief Ramsey for Holocaust programGay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington, D.C.
P. O. Box 75265
Washington, D.C. 20013
April 24, 2000
Chief Charles H. Ramsey
Chief, Metropolitan Police Department
300 Indiana Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20001
Dear Chief Ramsey:
I am writing to congratulate you once again on the outstanding speech you delivered at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum on April 12. My colleagues from the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance (GLAA) who also heard your presentation that night, Rick Rosendall and Barrett Brick, agreed it was one of the finest speeches we had ever heard from a public safety professional.
As we promised you at the reception following your presentation, we have added your speech to our GLAA web site. A number of people have told us how impressed they were by your remarks.
GLAA is proud of the crucial role we played nearly 20 years ago in ensuring that the Holocaust Museum would include the story of the thousands of gay men who were systematically persecuted as part of the Holocaust. It took several years of intense lobbying, requiring us to assemble and transmit a great deal of the historical research that had already been done about this topic. The force of the undeniable record led to Elie Wiesel’s 1983 recommendation to encompass the story of the gay Holocaust victims as an integral part of the museum’s exhibits.
Your speech mentioned several examples of how the Nazis used local police in Germany to carry out their campaigns of persecution and extermination. You might be interested in knowing, then, that the Nazi persecution of homosexuals depended in large part on the records local police had been compiling for many years on the identities of the gay men living or working within their jurisdictions. Police officials had been collecting this information through raids on gay bars and businesses, arrests by plainclothes policemen in parks and other public places, outright blackmail, and other underhanded devices none of which had prompted any protests from the so-called “respectable” voices of German society. The excuse for this pre-Nazi homophobic campaign was the anti-sodomy law that specifically targeted gay men for arrest on the slightest pretext. The Nazis merely extended and intensified this anti-gay campaign, with the enthusiastic support of the self-styled “moralists” of the day.
On this coming Friday, April 28, the Holocaust Museum will be hosting a symposium from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the persecution of gays during the Holocaust. A number of professional historians from around the world have been invited to speak at this conference. We urge you to send at least one official representative of the Metropolitan Police Department to attend what is sure to be a sobering and enlightening experience.
And of course let me repeat our invitation for you and your colleagues to attend GLAA’s 29th Anniversary Reception on Thursday evening, April 27, from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Doyle Washington Hotel on Dupont Circle. Tickets at $50 may be purchased at the door.
Again, congratulations on an outstanding speech. We look forward to working constructively with you for a long time to come.
cc: Commander Mark Beach, 3rd District
The Honorable Harold Brazil, Chairman, Committee on the Judiciary
Carlene Cheatam, Office of the Public Advocate