Although an exact number will never be known, between 1933 and 1945, under the notorious Paragraph 175 of the Nazi penal code, which banned homosexual relations between men, somewhere between 7,000 and 10,000 gay men were murdered in Nazi concentration camps and over 100,000 were either arrested jailed, beaten and tortured.
World War II experts believe that the death rate of homosexuals in concentration camps may have been as high as 60%.- 80%.
History has proven that in the concentration camps gay and lesbian prisoners were treated to unusual and heinous punishments and and cruelties, even worse than the Nazi captors were known for. Not only did the Nazis abuse the gay prisoners, but so did other prisoner as well. They were considered to be the lowest of low. They were beaten, tortured, experimented on and some were used for target practice by SS soldiers, who aimed at the pink triangles that the gay men were forced to wear to designate that they were homosexual on their chest. And of course some met their ends in the same way as the six million Jews, Poles, and Gypsies from that horrible time.
Persecution of gays and lesbians by the Nazis remained little known for decades, and what was known was spoken in whispers. It wasn’t until 2002 that the German government apologized to the gay community and until 2005, the European Parliament approved a resolution on the Holocaust that finally acknowledged the persecution of gays.
Now Israel’s plans to build it’s first monument to homosexuals persecuted by the Nazis will be erected in central Tel Aviv’s Meir Park (Gan Meir) later this year, near the headquarters of the Gay Center.
At the center of the monument will be a concrete triangle containing a pink triangle, the symbol used by the Nazis used to mark homosexuals. A bench and plaque beside the monument will give information about the persecution of homosexuals during the Holocaust which will be inscribed wiht the following statement: “To the memory of those persecuted by the Nazi regime for their sexual preference and gender identity.”
The monument, was the idea of attorney Eran Lev, a member of the municipal council from the Meretz party.
This will be the first and only memorial site in Israel to mention the victims of the Nazis who were persecuted for anything other than being Jewish,” Lev has stated. “As a cosmopolitan city and an international gay center, Tel Aviv will offer a memorial site that is universal in its essence.”
Memorials to the LGBT victims of Nazi persecution exist in Berlin, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Sydney and San Francisco. Most of them contain the pink triangle.