Pondering the garish new Holocaust museum that opened in Israel and our own unique take on the events of 1933-45, Jewdar has decided that we’re tired of watching everyone else getting rich off of Shoah business. Well, no more. We’re going to cash in on a million dollar idea that Jon, a Friend of Jewdar, came up with—a beyond-fabulous, Vegas-style museum extravaganza dedicated to the Gay Holocaust. Now, some observant readers may note that there was not a Gay Holocaust, to which we’d reply that:
- As with Hollywood, the Holocaust is big enough for us to share it with the gays
- As with most Holocaust museums, it’s ultimately about the living, not the dead.
If the Holocaust museum and memorial mania were really about the dead, we wouldn’t need so many of them. But we don’t build them for them, but for us—to make us feel less guilty, to make our neighbors feel more guilty to show we care about Jewishness in a manner that doesn’t require us to think about Jewishness, and, of course, to show the first rate Jewish communities in which we live.
Holocaust museums are to Jewish communities what sports franchises are to cities—a sign that you’ve really made it to the big leagues. And the best thing about it is that not only did it not happen in the US, but that the US played some role in stopping it. Large American corporations might not want to donate money to a museum examining the history of slavery in America, but the Holocaust? That’s the racist atrocity we can all oppose.
All of these apply to some degree to gays as well. A Gay Holocaust museum would be the perfect thing for a gay community to get behind (Now stop that, we’re serious!). Sure, the occasional Mathew Shepard gives you something to work with, but let’s face it, the Holocaust remains the Gold Standard of suffering. And the current trend in Holocaust museums makes this a perfect gay marriage (which the museum, of course, would point out was illegal in Nazi Germany), not just between gays and advocacy museums, but between Jewdar and rich gays’ money.
Since there are so many Holocaust museums already, to justify building a new one, you need to demonstrate why yours will be different. Since, of course, there really is very little difference in substance (how many different ways are there to express the notion of “six million?”), it all comes down to style. And who’s better at style than gays? And with so many successful gays eager to demonstrate that they are just like everybody else, what better way than to demonstrate that you can participate in a great civic religion like Holocaust Commemoration? And who better to design these spectacles—at reasonable rates, we might add—than Jewdar?
And “spectacle” is the right word. We envision a glitzy, Vegas-style Gay Holocaust museum. You begin with a cabaret floor show, commemorating the thriving gay night life of Weimar Germany. That segues into the “rough trade” room, featuring a bunch of butch models in SA uniforms highlighting the rise of the Brownshirts, led by the uber-butch Ernst Roehm and his coterie of friends of Dorothy. That leads us to the “Night of the Long Knives,” when Roehm and others were killed and an anti-gay backlash began, which we sell as the beginning of the Holocaust (“They came for the gays…”), complete with images of a crackdown on gay life, combined with images of Nazi homoeroticism.
Ultimately, we get into the Holocaust itself, where, in addition to exhibits on imprisonment of gays as gays, by finding evidence of gay Jews in Auschwitz, we manage to put gays in the death camps, with all that suggests. But the crowning glory of the museum will be the “Room of Absence,” where we imagine a world without gays—bad hair cuts, mismatched furniture, and the piece de resistance—a full scale Hollywood Squares board with an empty center square.
The museum ends on a high note, however, for in the next room is a giant animatronic Paul Lynde serving as MC over a dance club/souvenir store with t-shirts, bumper stickers, g-strings and so forth emblazoned with pink triangles containing empowering messages like “I Defeat Hitler By Kissing My Boyfriend,” or images contrasting black and white images of Nuremberg rallies with full color gay pride parades and captions like “Surviving Fabulously is the Best Revenge.” And of course, playing in the background is “I Will Survive.”
Is this grotesque, devoid of any educational value, and solely aimed at making money from rich private and corporate donors and gay tourism? Absolutely. If the new Holocaust museum is any indication of current trends, expect to see one of these opening in a gay neighborhood near you within five years.