2014 marks the 80th anniversary of the creation of a list, ordered by Hitler, of homosexuals, who would later find themselves persecuted. LGBT activist Ben Cohen claims that 80 years later- persecution of gays still exists in the world
If I had been alive 75 years ago and living in Berlin, not London, my outlook would not have been good and not just because I’m Jewish. Like some of those who found themselves persecuted, I also have a disability, and perhaps more pertinently, I am gay.
This year, 2014, marks the 80th anniversary of the creation of a list, ordered by Hitler, of homosexuals, who would later find themselves persecuted. During their time in power, the Nazis arrested 100,000 people for homosexuality, imprisoning half of them including up to 15,000 in concentration camps. Many of those imprisoned died, some after sickening experiments by scientists trying to find the “cure” for homosexuality.
Unfortunately, when the Allies liberated the concentration camps, many of the gay people who were imprisoned were not set free. Instead they were transferred to prisons, then under the control of the Allied forces. Their crime, homosexuality, something outlawed before the Nazis took power, remained on the statute book until 1968 in East Germany and 1969 in West Germany. Unlike other victims of Nazi persecution, they were not offered reparations and it took until 2002 for the German government to apologise officially for the Nazis’ crimes against gay people.
Today, memorials to the Nazi persecution of the gay community are found in Berlin, Amsterdam, San Francisco, Sydney, and since last week, in Tel Aviv.