Cartoonist compares gay rights advocates to Nazis, gets a powerful history lesson

Australian cartoonist Bill Leak was only recently lambasted for his “racist” illustration of a neglectful Aboriginal father, which appeared in The Australian newspaper. 

But his illustration this week wasn’t much better in the eyes of many on social media.

It depicts marriage equality advocates as Nazi soldiers. Not at all problematic. *sigh*

The commentary has been coming in thick and fast, but perhaps the most powerful point was made by a person whose opinion Bill Leak might actually value — a fellow cartoonist at a major newspaper.

The Canberra Times’ David Pope had no qualms about publicly schooling his contemporary with a lesson in World War 2 history.

He used Twitter to briefly but powerfully tell the story of a German artist called Richard Grune, a talented gay man trained in the Bauhaus School of Weimar just before Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party came to power. 

Grune was arrested for the crime of homos.e.xuality in 1934 and spent years in both Sachsenhausen and Flossenberg concentration camps. Alongside other LGBTQ people, Jewish people and other minorities, he lived through immeasurable horrors.

He escaped when American forces finally entered the country, and lived until 1983. His surviving lithographs bear witness to the atrocities of the era.

A sobering story. Here’s hoping Bill Leak and Australian marriage equality opponents alike see it  — and learn something.


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