Uncovering a Life Deemed ‘Unworthy of Life’

Why the Story of Hans Heinrich Festersen—Gay, Disabled, and Murdered by the Nazis—Matters

On September 8, 1943, Hans Heinrich Festersen was hanged at Berlin’s Plötzensee prison. Festersen, 35, had been arrested almost a year earlier, on October 12, 1942, for violating Paragraph 175, the German law prohibiting sex between men. He received his death sentence on July 13, 1943.

Though the Nazis had broadened the law and increased its severity, gay men were not usually killed for violating Paragraph 175. So, why was Hans Festersen killed, and how did his letters from prison to his sister Ruth Marie end up in a museum exhibit …

How World War II Turned Soldiers Into Bookworms

American GIs Devoured Paperbacks on the Front Lines, Spawning a New Generation of Readers

In January 1942, thousands of New Yorkers gathered on the steps of the legendary New York Public Library, at 5th Avenue and 42nd Street, wearing their Sunday best and warmest …

That Matisse in the Pantry? The Nazis Stole It.

Seventy Years after World War II, Europe is Grappling with History, Restitution and Thousands of Pieces of Nazi-Looted Art

In the past few weeks, a Gustav Klimt portrait hanging in a show at London’s National Gallery was denounced as Nazi loot. A museum director in Vienna resigned in protest …