Following the Red Army’s liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi concentration and death camp, which occurred on January 27 1945, the world began observing a memorial day. According to historians, 11 million Jews as well as other ethnic Poles, Soviet citizens, prisoners of war, Roma, deformed people, and political and religious dissidents perished during the Holocaust.
Today, historians believe (the numbers are still subject to debate) that up to 15,000 gay men were taken to Nazi extermination camps, where up to 10,000 of them perished. Lesbians also faced discrimination and violence, though it was less common and less organized than it was for homosexual men.
The public tagging with symbols was a component of this methodical persecution. Jews were required to wear a yellow Star of David, while homosexual men began to be associated with a pink triangle. The concentration camp inmates were required to wear the hand-sized fabric patches on the left breast of their garments allowing identification from both soldiers and the general public.