Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Gay Holocaust exhibit opens in Belgrade

By Paul Canning

An exhibition documenting the Nazi treatment of gay people has opened in Belgrade.

According to ARTEQ, an association that helped organise the show in the Belgrade City Museum, the exhibition will seek to confront stereotypes and tackle prejudices around sexual minorities in Serbia.

Serbia has some of the lowest numbers for tolerance of gay people in the Balkans, according to surveys. In September, authorities banned the Belgrade gay pride parade, citing violent threats from right-wing and Orthodox activists.

After coming to power in Germany in 1933, the Nazis victimized tens of thousands of people because of their sexual orientation.

Homosexuals were sent to concentration camps, where they suffered a similar fate to millions of Jews and hundreds of thousands of Romany who were marked for death. While the Jews were forced to wear a yellow badge in the shape of the star of David, homosexuals were required to wear a pink triangle.

Homosexuals in Germany continued to suffer persecution after the end of World War II, as Nazi-era laws against them were kept in place for years.

The extent of Nazi crimes against homosexuals was only revealed in the late 1970s.

The exhibition, “Nazi terror over homosexuals 1933 – 1945”, runs at the Belgrade City Museum from December 2nd to 23rd.

The show has been jointly organised by ARTEQ with Queer Zagreb from Croatia. It is part-funded by the City of Belgrade and the Serbian Ministry of culture and information.

ARTEQ say:

“The objectives of this significant cultural and socially responsible project are to disclose the historical facts by using authentic documents from Nazi Germany era to raise awareness about suffering of the homosexuals under Nazi regime, to provide framework for combating stereotypes about LGBT persons in Serbian society, to promote tolerance towards minorities and to stimulate different social factors to take part in the process of fostering anti-fascist activism and building a non-discriminatory society.”

As well as the exhibits, visitors will have the chance to watch documentaries, a movie about the gay British computer scientist Alan Turing, and a TV show on Belgrade pride by Serbian broadcaster B92.
In March, Macedonia opened the first Holocaust museum in the region.
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