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FLASHBACK: The First Memorial To The LGBT Victims Of The Nazis Is Unveiled (May 12, 1985)

FLASHBACK: The First Memorial To The LGBT Victims Of The Nazis Is Unveiled (May 12, 1985)

Today in 2SLGBTQI+ history…

On May 12, 1985, a pink granite monument was unveiled at the site of the former Neuengamme concentration camp in northern Germany. The stone monument bears the inscription “Dedicated to the Homosexual Victims of National Socialism. 1985,” and was erected by a group called the Independent Alternative Homosexuals.

According to the group, the memorial stone was the first monument at a former concentration camp to recognize the “forgotten” group of homosexual victims killed in Nazi concentration camps – at least 250,000 people – whose suffering was not publicly discussed until more recently. Homosexuals, who were rounded up by the Nazis, were forced to wear triangular pink badges and were put to death in the same death camps where six million Jews were killed.

As part of the Nazis’ attempt to propagate an “Aryan master race,” they condemned homosexuals as “socially aberrant.” Soon after taking office on January 30, 1933, Adolf Hitler banned all gay and lesbian organizations, and brown-shirted storm troopers raided the institutions and gathering places of homosexuals.

Morris Kight, a Los Angeles researcher on Nazi persecution of homosexuals, said it is difficult to calculate precise estimates of how many people were labelled “mentally defective” – often used as a euphemism for homosexual – and sent to death camps. He said at least a quarter of a million homosexuals died at Bergen-Belsen, Dachau, Tilsen, Buchenwald and other Nazi concentration camps. About 10 per cent of those killed were lesbians.

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