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Berlin Opens Memorial to Nazis' Gay Victims

Berlin Opens Memorial to Nazis' Gay Victims

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?

A visitors peeks into the window.

Visitors line up to peek into the window.

Berlin's openly gay mayor Klaus Wowereit (R) and former Bundestag president Wolfgang Thierse stand in front of the just-inaugura

A visitors peeks into the window.

Two men from a gay counseling organization hold a wreath.


Join The Conversation
star520 star520 9 years
This is a long time coming.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 9 years
Gov. of NJ didn't step down because he was gay yesteryear he stepped down because he had an affair while married. The gay part was just the cherry of curiosity on top.
Jillness Jillness 9 years
Wow, stephley, way to tie it together. That really puts things into perspective. :(
stephley stephley 9 years
Later that same day, a post about a sex tape being released in order to counter-act rumors that a possible vice-presidential contender is gay - one step forward two back.
KrisSugar KrisSugar 9 years
I think it's fitting that they have separate memorials. Peronsally, I wouldn't want anyone to forget even the smallest detail of the atrocities committed by the Nazi's. We can't let this history be forgotten. honestly, today is the first time I have even known about Nazi's persecuting homosexuals. It makes sense that they would, but I never even thought of it until today's article. so, it's been a history lesson for me.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 9 years
Hate is a force where there are no winners. The first thing I thought of when I read the headline was one of my favorite movies V for Vendetta. If anyone is in the Southern Calif. area I would highly recommend visiting the holocaust museum.
Mädchen Mädchen 9 years
If I remember correctly, the original plan was to have one big memorial to all victims of the Nazis. The different groups couldn't decide on the design and the wording of the dedication though, so after a LONG time of debating, plans were changed and now each group will get its own memorial. Still, the artists of this memorial chose this design, because it's reminiscent of the Holocaust Memorial, which is just across the street. That way, there's still a connection.
Jillness Jillness 9 years
I think this is a very touching memorial, and I am glad they made it. :halo: :roygbv:
tiff58 tiff58 9 years
The memorial is a great step towards remembering EVERYONE who was harmed/killed by the Nazis.
jennifer76 jennifer76 9 years
yesteryear - I'm not saying anything other than I don't think it's accurate to say that it's completely outside of the realm of possibility in the US. I think that's a pretty pessimistic view. I just helped vote in the first openly gay mayor in Portland, OR. I'm sure that doesn't count as a big city in a lot of people's minds, but it's near to my heart. :)
KrisSugar KrisSugar 9 years
Anyway, I think it's a lovely and fitting memorial to yet another group of people who were murdered because of Nazi hate and intolerance.
KrisSugar KrisSugar 9 years
true yy, but the gov of NJ stepped down because of a scandal involving an employee whom he was having some kind of relationship with. it was in appropriate behavior for someone, gay or straight. anyway, i see your point about it not going over so well here. I would imagine there a lot of gays in leadership who just aren't extremely open about it, if they're open at all.
syako syako 9 years
nj gov resigned because of his adulterous affair AND a sexual harassment lawsuit by an aide... not just because he was gay.
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
It's good to remember all the victims of the holocaust. :evil:
kia kia 9 years
I think memorials and museums to remind of us important past events are great learning tools to assess our current behavior. The Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles is a great tool in this endeavor. I hope these memorials in Germany are serving a similar purpose.
yesteryear yesteryear 9 years
if i remember correctly the governor of NJ stepped down once it was discovered he was gay. i know there are openly gay city council members and mayors in small cities... but berlin is a world-renowned city. it's like the mayor of LA or NY or Chicago being gay. it's huge.
jennifer76 jennifer76 9 years
There have been a lot of openly gay mayors in the US. Mostly in smaller towns thus far. But, it has "gone over" in the US and will likely continue to "go over" in the US. I do think that monuments to the past can be effective in teaching many things to the present generation. This sounds like a moving memorial and it brings attention to one of the larger groups of victims of the Holocaust who haven't received a lot of the recognition and attention.
yesteryear yesteryear 9 years
i had no idea the mayor/governor of berlin was openly gay. i can't even begin to imagine that going over in the US.
Mädchen Mädchen 9 years
I'm glad they put up the memorial, I'm not sure whether it will help to "improve the lives of Germany's modern homosexual population" though. We've come a long way since 1969... When Klaus Wowereit came out, it actually helped his popularity. Btw, as Berlin is actually a federal state as well as a city, he's not just the mayor of Berlin, but basically the governor as well. The same is true for Ole von Beust, the (more or less) openly gay mayor of Hamburg. Btw, they plan on changing the video every two or so years. The current one was directed by Thomas Vinterberg (Festen).
ALSW ALSW 9 years
I'm not sure that it's my place to say whether or not it's appropriate, but I am glad that they decided to do something to memorialize what gays went through under the Nazi regime. I read a book called The Pink Triangle about this a few years ago and it really struck me how little this is talked about.
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