Ed Team

Quote of the day

Filed By Ed Team | March 26, 2007 6:14 AM | comments

Filed in: Quote of the Day
Tags: Europe, gay history, homophobic behavior, LGBT history, Netherlands, persecution

"The major anti-gay purge of the eighteenth century occurred in the Netherlands. In April 1730 some men were arrested in Utrecht; they incriminated others, and on 21 July the States of Holland issued a Placat, posted in every town, that set off wide-scale persecution. The document began with the customary warnings about the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah, then lamented that no laws had heretofore been provided to punish "this execrable crime of sodomy", and concluded with its measures for obliterating this evil: that sodomy be punished by death, that those who offer their homes for its commission also die, that their corpses be burned to ashes and thrown into the sea "or exposed as unworthy of burial", that the names of the convicted -- including the fugitives -- be publicly posted, and that the magistrates be specially authorised to investigate thoroughly any suspicions, particularly against those who mysteriously flee the province.

"Some 250 men were summoned before the authorities; 91 faced decrees of exile for not appearing. At least 60 men were sentenced to death. For example: In Amsterdam, Pieter Marteyn Janes Sohn and Johannes Keep, decorator, were strangled and burnt, 24 June 1730; Maurits van Eeden, house servant, and Cornelis Boes, age 18, Keep's servant, were each immersed alive in a barrel of water and drowned, 24 June; Laurens Hospuijn, Chief of Detectives in the Navy, was strangled and thrown into the water with a 100-pound weight... And at Zuidhorn, at least twenty-two men were executed on 24 September 1731, including Gerrit Loer, age 48, farmer; Hendrik Berents, age 32; Jan Berents, age 19 -- all scorched while alive and then strangled and burnt to ashes; twelve others aged 20-45 were strangled and burnt; and eight youths aged 16-19 were strangled and burnt, including Jan Ides, age 18, who said upon hearing his sentence: "I forgive you for the sin which you have committed against me."

"It seems as though most of the men were literally "guilty" of being homosexual, that is, this is properly described as a pogrom or a reign of terror, rather than a hysterical witch-hunt which rounded up "innocent" people falsely accused of being witches. The astonishing purges of 1730 were widely reported in the English newspapers (mainly in June and July), and probably sent men running for cover even in England. The English news reports also state that many Dutch sodomites fled to England -- where they unfortunately were not accorded the same reception as refugees from religious persecution. -- Rictor Norton, "Newspaper Reports, The Dutch Purge of Homosexuals, 1730," Homosexuality in Eighteenth-Century England: A Sourcebook.

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