Box Turtle Bulletin

Box Turtle BulletinNews, analysis and fact-checking of anti-gay rhetoric
“Now you must raise your children up in a world where that union of man and box turtle is on the same legal footing as man and wife…”
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Posts for May, 2008

Memorial for Gays Persecuted By Nazis Opens

Jim Burroway

May 27th, 2008

Berlin’s memorial to gay victims of Nazi persecutionToday marks the opening of a new memorial in Berlin dedicated to the memory of gays who were persecuted by the Nazis. The memorial in Berlin’s Tiergarten parks sits just across from the Jewish Holocaust Memorial, and it echos the larger memorial’s field of concrete blocks of varying sizes. The gay memorial, designed by Danish and Norwegian artists Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset, consists of a single grey rectangular block with a small opening through which visitors will see a short film of two men kissing. “A simple kiss could land you in trouble,” says the text which accompanies the memorial.

Until recently, there was little public acknowledgement of Nazi atrocities towards homosexuals. It’s been estimated that about 54,000 were arrested by the Nazis, with 7,000 being killed in concentration camps. While the end of the war meant liberation for the much larger interned populations of Jews, Gypsies, Poles, Russians, and other undesirables, allied forces often returned gay men to post-war prisons to continue to serve out their terms. Homosexuality wasn’t formally decriminalized in Germany until 1994.