Rudolf Brazda, believed to be the last surviving person who was sent to a Nazi concentration camp because of his homosexuality, has died, a German gay rights group said Thursday. He was 98.
The Berlin branch of the Lesbian and Gay Association, or LSVD, said that Brazda died on Wednesday. It didn't give details of the location or cause of death.
Brazda was sent to the Nazis' Buchenwald concentration camp in August 1942 and held there until its liberation by U.S. forces in 1945.
Nazi Germany declared homosexuality an aberration that threatened the German race, and convicted some 50,000 homosexuals as criminals. An estimated 10,000 to 15,000 gay men were deported to concentration camps, where few survived.
When a memorial to the Nazis' gay victims was unveiled in Berlin in 2008, the LSVD said the last ex-prisoner that it knew of had died three years earlier. But the group said it was then contacted by Brazda, who visited the memorial at its invitation and became an honorary member.
Brazda was born in 1913. He grew up in the eastern German town of Meuselwitz and repeatedly ran into trouble with Nazi authorities over his homosexuality before being sent to Buchenwald.
Brazda lived in the Alsace region of eastern France after World War II. Earlier this year, he was named a knight in the country's Legion of Honor.
Berlin's openly gay mayor, Klaus Wowereit, who met Brazda in 2008, said he learned with regret of his death.
"He is an example of how important the work of remembrance is for our future," Wowereit said. "Fewer and fewer people can give information about repression under the Nazi dictatorship authentically and from their own experience."