Germany's memorial to the homosexual victims of the Nazi era opened yesterday in Berlin. The simple yet powerful memorial is made up of a large stone with a small window. Inside, a video image of two men kissing plays.
The fate of Germany's homosexuals under the Nazis, who considered them a threat to German society, has long been ignored. The new display is meant to address the past and the present. Berlin's openly gay mayor, Klaus Wowereit, spoke at the ceremony.
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.
Gay citizens living in Germany still faced hard times after the Nazis. According to the AP, the antihomosexual law used by the Nazis remained on the books in West Germany until 1969 and resulted in 50,000 postwar convictions.
The new memorial is located near the expansive memorial for the Nazis' Jewish victims. A third one is on its way, as the 220,000 to 500,000 Roma and Sinti (Gypsy) victims will be honored next. Check out the pictures of the inauguration ceremony. Will this memorial appropriately honor past victims and improve the lives of Germany's modern homosexual population? Are monuments to the past effective in reminding the present generation, as well as those that will come next, of the importance of tolerance and human rights?