A new memorial has opened in Berlin dedicated to the thousands of gay victims of Adolf Hitler.
“This memorial is important from two points of view — to commemorate the victims, but also to make clear that even today, after we have achieved so much in terms of equal treatment, discrimination still exists daily,” Wowereit said as he inaugurated the memorial alongside Culture Minister Bernd Neumann.
Nazi Germany declared homosexuality a threat to the German race and convicted some 50,000 homosexuals as criminals. An estimated 10,000 to 15,000 gay men were deported to concentration camps, where few survived.
Unfortunately, their problems didn’t end with Hitler’s defeat in WW2:
Wowereit echoed his regret over the time it took to honor the Nazis’ gay victims.
“That is symptomatic of a postwar society which simply kept quiet about a group of victims, which … contributed to these victims being discriminated against twice,” he said.
Few gays convicted by the Nazis came forward after World War II because of the stigma attached to homosexuality. The law used against them remained on the books in West Germany until 1969, and Dworek said there were 50,000 convictions under the legislation after the war.
I have heard that the American military actually turned over those in the concentration camps who bore the pink triangle for reimprisonment after liberating the camps, but I don’t have documentation of that. I’d like to see it if anyone knows where it can be found.