Holocaust memorial

What is the Holocaust?

The term Holocaust, in its broader meaning, refers to the systematic effort leaded by the Nazis regime during the Second World War to exterminate some groups of peoples considered as ‘racially inferior and undesirable’: between 1933 and 1945, Germany's National Socialist (Nazi) government under Adolph Hitler used its monopoly of authority to attempt to rid German territory of people who did not fit its vision of a "master Aryan race." Foremost among the so–called racial enemies, according to the Nazis' anti-Semitic ideology, were the Jews. Many other groups were targets of persecution and even murder under the Nazis’ ideology, including Germans with mental and physical disabilities, homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Roma ("Gypsies"), Poles, and Soviet prisoners of war. Millions perished in this state–sponsored tyranny.

LGB people’s Holocaust means the Nazi Persecution of Gay Men and Lesbians during the Second World War.

The Nazis persecuted homosexuals in the name of their so-called moral crusade to racially and culturally purify German society and propagate an "Aryan master race".

Basically they condemned homosexuals as "socially aberrant".

Particularly the Regime intended to punish German gay people, the Arians, because of their failure in contributing to the proper prosecution and prosperity of the Arian race and afterwards cure and rehabilitate them.

In 1934 Hitler ordered the registration of homosexuals; the Gestapo was charged with the responsibility of creating dossiers on homosexuals and other "asocial" in the Third Reich.

The following year, in 1935, the Reichstag amended Paragraph 175 of the Criminal Code criminalising homosexual acts, conducts or behaviours.

Paragraph 175: A male who commits a sex offence with another male or allows himself to be used by another male for a sex offence shall be punished with imprisonment. [1]

Despite of pressures kept by Nazi law professionals, criminologists and theorists to have women included in paragraph 175, lesbianism has never been officially criminalised. It was just considered a sort of epidemic that has to be kept silent and suppressed. Lesbian women under Hitler lived under constant fear of being denounced to the authorities; in many cases the only way to avoid persecution and repression was to conform themselves getting married.

It is known that many lesbians were however, arrested, imprisoned and sent to concentration camps.

The pink triangle

This persecution ranged from dissolution of homosexual organizations to internment of thousands of individuals in concentration camps. Gay men and lesbian women, wearing a pink triangle, were subject to harassment, arrest, incarceration, torture and even castration.

The importance of commemoration

The homosexual victims of National Socialism remained for a long time excluded from the public process of remembrance and compensation of past injustices.

A slow process of rethinking in the Remembrance process began in 1985 with the speech of the then Federal German President Richard von Weizsäcker during the 40th Anniversary of the liberation. In his speech he mentioned for the first time groups of victims who had been consciously ignored in honouring the victims.

A memorial site for the persecuted homosexual victims of National Socialism is to be set up in Berlin tank’s to the long term campaign of the Initiative "Remember the homosexual victims of National Socialism" and the Lesbian and Gay Federation in Germany (LSVD). The Federal Republic of Germany will in this way honour the persecuted and murdered homosexual victims, help to keep alive the remembrance of the injustices done, as well as set a signal against intolerance, enmity towards and the rejection of gays and lesbians. [2]

Throughout this section ILGA-Europe intend to inform about a mostly unknown side of Nazism History, to promote awareness about these events because we believe in the need to keep the memory alive.


US Holocust Memorial Museum







For bibliography in English on this subject:
HOSI Wien exhibit: www.ausdemleben.at


[2]www.gedenkort.de dedicated to commemorative work

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