Mon, May 26, 2008 - Page 6 News List

Berlin monument to homosexuals killed by Nazis unveiled


A monument with footage of two men kissing will be unveiled tomorrow in Berlin in memory of the thousands of homosexuals persecuted, tortured and murdered by the Nazi regime between 1933 and 1945.

The memorial, near the Brandenburg Gate and a stone’s throw from the main Holocaust memorial, consists of an imposing, gray concrete slab around 4m high.

At eye-level inside the monument, designed by Norwegian-Danish duo Ingar Dragset and Michael Elmgreen at a cost of 450,000 euros (US$710,000), is a gap containing a television screen showing two men kissing.

On the facade is a text detailing the suffering of gays under Hitler, who outlawed homosexuality in 1936 and convicted around 50,000 people for “unnatural” behavior.

“A simple kiss could land you in trouble,” it says in the text.

It is estimated that between 5,000 and 15,000 gays were sent to concentration camps together with Jews, political opponents, gypsies, Jehovah’s witnesses and others considered undesirable.

Once there, few were killed right away. Most were forced to wear a pink triangle, putting them at the bottom of the camp hierarchy, and died of hunger, disease, abuse or exhaustion. Very few returned.

Gays were also subjected to experiments to try to “cure” them of their sexual orientation, such as hormonal injections, castration or crude brain operations.

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