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Tuesday, 31 May 2011

New memorial to gay holocaust victims in city that gave us the Nazis

Remnant of pink triangle on concentration camp uniform
Via: Süddeutsche Zeitung

By 2012, Munich should have a new memorial to homosexual victims of Nazism. It is a highly symbolic move as Munich was the site of the beginning of the Nazis terrible persecutions against homosexuals in 1934.

The memorial will form part of a new pedestrian development in the center of Munich and will be placed at the corner of Oberanger and Dultstrasse, outside what was the Scwharzfischer (The black fisherman), a famous gay bar in the 30s. On 20 October 1934, the Nazis conducted a major raid in the gay scene of Munich, including the Schwarzfischer. This was the beginning of Nazi persecution against homosexuals: it is estimated that more than fifty thousand people were eventually arrested and most were interned in concentration camps. Most of those who survived the war were kept in jails as homosexuality remained criminalised.

The project has broad political support: from both parties currently in power (red and green) and the opposition Christian Democrats. Richard Quaas, spokesman for the Christian Democrats said: "Until now, there was a consensus not to establish differentiation of victims on monuments or monuments. Other groups of victims of Nazism have no specific memorial in the public arena in Munich."

It is the brainchild of Thomas Niederbühl, a Councillor for the Rosa List Party, who is gay. He has been working on the idea since 2008. Niederbühl recalls how long was the struggle of gays and lesbians for recognition of the persecution they were subjected to under Nazism. The sinister paragraph 175 which criminalized homosexuality was in effect until 1969. In 1985, gays and lesbians had wanted to place a plaque in the camp at Dachau, but it was not until 10 years later, in 1995, that gays and lesbians have been recognized as a group of victims.
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