Eighty years ago, Mauthausen was constructed. In this World War II concentration camp, homosexual men were imprisoned and forced to wear a Pink Triangle as a marker of their sexuality. Mauthausen concentration camp was liberated by American troops on May 5, 1945, but a sad fact remains to be true – only a few people know about the torture of homosexuals in these National Socialist camps, and even less know about the current homophobic fuelled hate crimes around the world.
Vangardist Magazine wants that to change. The magazine has collaborated with Serviceplan Group and Mauthausen Memorial to call for an alliance against contemporary violations of LGBTQI+ rights all around the world, to reclaim the Pink Triangle as a symbol opposing homophobia and raise funds for the work of Rainbow Railroad. It has also established a petition to implore António Guterres, UN Secretary-General to stand up to the United Nations for the abolishment of homophobic laws. The Petition appeals to UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, to add the rights of LGBTQI+ persons to Article 2 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Vangardist publisher and editor-in-chief, Julian Wiehl, commented, “We remember the homosexual victims of Mauthausen. As a sign of respect for their unnecessary death we call for a broad alliance against homophobia today. Because homophobia belongs to the past but not to our future.”
On April 7 2018, 80 people from 10 countries travelled to Mauthausen Concentration Camp Memorial, and donated their time to take part in the creation of an artwork for The Pink Triangle Issue, a special Vangardist Magazine collaboration with Mauthausen. At the front of the Triangle stood the director of Mauthausen Memorial with the Vangardist Magazine editor-in-chief, and a member of the LGBTQI+ community who escaped torture in Jamaica with the help of the Rainbow Railroad. As a symbol of solidarity all participants wore a pink triangle on their clothes.
It was captured in a series of poignant images by Berlin photographer, Olaf Blecker. Blecker’s photographs will form the visual aesthetic for The Pink Triangle Issue of Vangardist Magazine, which will be distributed at a press conference on May 16. Vienna photographer, David Meran, also supported the Issue with his behind-the-scenes photographs.
The campaign film was directed by Christoph Kuschnik with production company, PPM, in Vienna. Kuschnig is an award-winning director and Fulbright scholar, whose short films have been screened at festivals around the world.
Jason Romeyko, worldwide executive creative director, Serviceplan Group, noted, “I think it is important to use history to illustrate the dangerous effects the present can have on the future. The fact we have many positive gay, lesbian and trans role models in pop culture distracts the world’s attention from all the hate crimes against the LGBTQI+ community. You think everything has moved forward, when suddenly you realise attitudes are far from progressive.”
On May 16, the day before the International Day against Homophobia, a commemorative event will be hosted by Barbara Gluck, director of Mauthausen Memorial; Julian Wiehl, editor of Vangardist, and Bobby Hrehoruk of Rainbow Railroad, with a commemoration at the Mauthausen memorial plaque led by state secretary, Karoline Edstadler, and the unveiling of an exhibition documenting the history of the concentration camp, and a behind the scenes of the Pink Triangle Issue photo shoot.
Anyone can play a part. On Facebook Connect, participants in The Pink Triangle Issue can support the action and become part of the first global visual petition by having their photo included in the virtual Pink Triangle. They can also share and support the movement on their own Facebook page.
Between 1938 and 1945, around 190,000 people from over 40 nations were imprisoned in the Mauthausen and Gusen concentration camps or one of the subcamps. At least 90,000 people were killed. Today the Mauthausen Memorial is an international site of remembrance and a place of historical and political education. It is unusual for a concentration camp to participate in a project such as The Pink Triangle Issue, and testament to its awareness that the current issues of LGBTQI+ persecution in many countries around the world is something that needs to be addressed, since it is has disturbing echoes of the persecution of minority groups which happened during WW2.
Vangardist gained global recognition in 2015 with the HIV Heroes issue, printed with HIV positive blood. Vangardist and Jason Romeyko, Serviceplan’s worldwide executive creative director, collaborated on HIV Heroes after noticing there was a need to restart a conversation around HIV.
The aim of the campaign is to ignite conversations about LGBTQI+ persecution, imprisonment torture and even death in more than 70 countries around the world. Only four countries in the world are open for gay asylum.
Client: Vangardist Magazine Agency:
Serviceplan Group Production company: PPM
Creative agency: Serviceplan Group
Global Chief Creative Officer: Alexander Schill
Worldwide Executive Director: Jason Romeyko
Managing Partner: Christoph Everke
Managing Director: Alexander Nagel
Executive Creative Director: Michael Reill
Creative Director: Bernd Nagenrauft
Global Creative PR Officer: Lee Sharrock
Junior Art Directors: Rafael Angulo, Melissa Meyer & Neville Pinsker
Junior Copywriter: Nedim Akas
Account Team: Anne Jordan, Julia Meinetsberger, Catharina Ohle & Eliette-Nabila Korte
Account Manager: Marlene Ulmer
Publisher and Editor-in-Chief: Julian Wiehl
Creative Director: Julian Behrenbeck
Graphic Design: Julian Behrenbeck & Sascha Stavric
Head of Copywriting: Klemens Gindl
Copywriter: Fabian Wingert
Editorial Staff: Alexander Baumgartner, David Baczyk, Andreas Brunner, Klemens Gindl, Djamilia Grandits, Alexander Baur, Michael Haller, Jason Romeyko & Julian Wiehl
Photography: David Meran, Olaf Blecker & David Kahlert
Graphic Design: Julian Behrenbeck & Sascha Stavric
Director: Barbara Glück
Communication & Events: Johanna Hruby
Public Relations: Gregor Panis, BA
Pink Triangle Issue Film Production: PPM
Director: Christoph Kuschnig
Executive Producer: Sebastian Larrosa-Lombardi
Director of Photography: Anna Hawliczeck
First Assistant Director: Mark deKeller
Editor: Manuel Portschy
Testimonial: Sudeene Suckoo
Photography: Olaf Blecker
Photographer Assistant: Kwame Boama
Audio: Hastings Audio Network
Studio Manager: Nina Geiger
Audio Engineer: Rafael Bratfisch Santiago
With thanks to supporting organisations:
agpro – austrian gay professionals Australian Press Association
Available Lights Filmequipment Campaign against Homophobia Germany Enough Is Enough
Hastings Audio Network
HOSI – Homosexuelle Initiative
LSVD Lesbian & Gay Federation in Germany Mediaplus
Michael Stöger Filmgeräteverleih
Queer Base – Support for LGBTIQ Refugees Qwien Center f. gay/lesbian culture & history Rewe Group
SoHo socialdemocratic LGBTIQ-Organization Sparks