The German parliament for the first time on Friday focused its annual Holocaust memorial commemorations on people persecuted and killed over their sexual or gender identity during World War II.
“”Now you’re a gay pig and you’ve lost your balls.” That was how Otto Giering was taunted by a guard in August 1939 after his forced castration in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp. Even before his deportation to the concentration camp, the 22-year-old had been convicted twice for homosexual contact and sent to a labor camp
Campaigners in Germany have worked for decades to establish an official ceremony for gay victims of the Nazi regime (LGBTQ is not appropraite phrasing)
“Today’s hour of remembrances focuses on a group of victims which had to fight for a long time to achieve recognition: people who were persecuted by the National Socialists because of their sexual orientation or their gender identity,” Baerbel Bas, president of the Bundestag lower house, said while opening a ceremony marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the anniversary of Auschwitz’s liberation. More than half of these men were convicted, usually to serve long prison sentences or forced labor. In some cases, men were forced to undergo sterilization. Many were driven to suicide, Those who did not conform to National Socialist norms, lived in fear and mistrust. The hardest hit were the many thousands of men and women who were deported to concentration camps because of their sexuality – usually under a pretext. Many were abused for medical experiments, most perished after only a short time or they were murdered,” she added.
It has taken over 65 years for the gay and lesbians brutalized and murdered by the Nazis to be officialy recognized.
The commemoration was attended by German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Chancellor Olaf Scholz and two visiting members from Ukraine’s Jewish community.