>> From Auschwitz to gay pride parade : American travel agency for gay Jews offers journey to concentration camp in Poland concluding with Prague pride parade. Trip’s organizer, who comes from an ultra-Orthodox family of Holocaust survivors, says he doesn’t see combination as inappropriate.
Une agence de voyage américaine organise un séjour destiné aux homosexuels, depuis les camps d’extermination d’Auschwitz en Pologne, pour finir sur la Gay Pride de Prague, qui aura lieu d’ailleurs en août prochain. Combinaison douteuse ?
Selon Jayson Littman, le président de l’agence de voyage Hebro, “Les homosexuels de confession juive ont deux composantes uniques dans leur identité, ce qui crée un double intérêt. Nous allons visiter Auschwitz, mais le voyage organisé sur neuf jours est historique et culturel. Il comprend également des visites de la Pologne et de Prague”, déclare au site israélien Ynet.
“Je veux que cela soit clair, il ne s’agit pas d’un voyage ‘gay’ à Auschwitz ou à Theresienstadt. Nous allons nous pencher sur le destin des homosexuels dans les camps de concentration et d’extermination, mais également nous intéresser à l’histoire juive d’avant la Shoah et d’aujourd’hui”.
L’agence Hebro organise un autre voyage pour la communauté homosexuelle en Israël. Le groupe visitera le pays pendant une semaine, du 5 au 14 juin, le voyage se terminant par la Gay Pride à Tel Aviv.
Littman, qui a grandi dans une famille ultra-orthodoxe de New York, appartient à la troisième génération après la Shoah. Il a suivi l’enseignement d’une école talmudique à Jérusalem. Il s’est éloigné de la religion lorsqu’il a révélé son homosexualité, sans pour autant “trahir” son passé.
>> This has led Jayson Littman, the Jewish American president of the Hebro company, which produces trips and cultural events for the gay community, to initiate a pride trip for Jewish (and non-Jewish) homosexuals, aimed at exploring the community’s history during the Nazi occupation of Europe.
“Gay Jews have two unique components in their identity, which create a double interest in the issue,” Littman says in an exclusive Ynet interview. “We will visit Auschwitz, but the nine-day journey is historical and cultural and includes tours of Poland and of Prague.
“The visits to the Auschwitz and Theresienstadt concentration camps are two parts of the trip, but we will also travel and learn about Jewish life before the Holocaust and today.
“I want to make it clear,” he adds,” that this is not a ‘gays’ trip to Auschwitz.’ We will focus on the gays’ fate in the concentration and extermination camps, but we will also include a lot of Jewish history, and this is definitely a unique tour.”
But that’s not all. Littman is organizing another trip for gays to the Holy Land. His group will tour the country for a week, from June 5 to 14, and finish up with the Pride Parade.
The tour to the concentration camps will be held from August 8 to 16, and will include four days in Poland (including Warsaw and Krakow) and a visit to Prague, which will also end with the local pride events.
Don’t you think that the combination of a visit to the extermination camps and the pride celebrations is in poor taste?
“I don’t see this combination as inappropriate. Celebrating pride is a celebration of our identity, of who we are fully, which something which we were not 75 years ago in this place. The possibility of celebrating as a proud Jew in Europe should be seen as an achievement – the extent of our society’s acceptance of these two identities.”
Celebrating both identities
Hebro, which began operating as travel agency about a month ago, was launched in 2008 as a company producing club parties for gay Jews in New York. In addition to parties, it also produces museum visits and other cultural events.
The main target audience is gay Jews looking for an additional communal connection. Twenty-seven people, mainly from the United States and Canada, participated in last year’s Pride Parade through the company.
“You can’t say that we’re a Jewish organization,” says Littman. “We focus on the proud Jewish traveler’s areas of interest.”
Littman was born to an ultra-Orthodox family from New York, a third generation since the Holocaust. He was educated in a Jerusalem yeshiva. He left religion when he came out of the closet, but he never betrayed his past.
But you still went back to dealing with Jews.
“I didn’t want to be part of the Jewish community which is still trying to understand how to deal with gay Jews. I joined the Jewish synagogue in New York, where I discovered different forms of expression for Judaism, and some which for the first time accepted my identity as a homosexual.
“When I started the company, I wanted to create a place in which gay Jews would be able to celebrate their two identities. There are many organizations for gay Jews which attempt to ‘settle the differences’ between these two identities. I just want to celebrate them both, as someone who is very confident of them.”
Avec : i24news.tv