Symbolic Pink Triangle in Meier Park Planned
Israel’s first monument to homosexuals persecuted by the Nazis will be erected later this year near the headquarters of the Gay Center in Tel Aviv. There is a concrete triangle containing a pink triangle, the symbol used by the Nazis to mark homosexuals. A plaque beside the monument and a bench will give information about the persecution of homosexuals during the Holocaust. The memorial will be inscribed as such: “To the memory of those persecuted by the Nazi regime for their sexual preference and gender identity.”
The monument, erected in central Tel Aviv’s Meir Park, said attorney Eran Lev, the ‘brains’ behind the project,” is highly significant. One of the first restrictions the Nazis imposed on the Jews was against going to public parks. We’re bringing that memory back into the public space. It’s very moving, We felt it was important to present it as part of the park.” It will be guarded all the time.
Professor Yael Moriah, a landscape architect, is responsible for the park’s renovation over the past years, is in charge of the planning. Lev, a member of the municipal council from the Meretz party, received support from Mayor Ron Huldai.
References Hirschfeld and Beck
The only homosexuals who will not be mentioned on the new memorial are those who are members of the Nazi party. Although the monument is universal, and does not distinguish between Jewish and non-Jewish victims of the Nazi regime, it will also contain a reference to Jewish gays, including Magnus Hirschfeld, a prominent doctor and advocate for sexual minorities as well as Gerhard Beck, the last gay Holocaust survivor who died in 2012.
Even After Camps, Returned to Prison
Similar monuments to the gay victims of the Nazis have been built in Sydney, San Francisco, Cologne, Montevideo, Barcelona, Amsterdam and Berlin. Most of them contain the triangle. It is unknown how many closeted gay men were sent to concentrated camps under other pretexts. Following the WWII, many men who had been imprisoned for their sexuality by the Nazis were returned into the German prison system under the Allied government and they were denied the compensation pay outs given to other groups of victims.
In fact, Paragraph 175 of the Nazi penal code, which made gay sex a crime, remained on the books until after WWII. The law was finally repealed in 1969 (the pink triangle was not displayed at Dachau until forty years after the camp was liberated!).
Approximately 50,000 gay men were convicted under Paragraph 175. Between 7,000 and 10,000 were murdered in the camps. Historian Moshe Zimmermann, pointed out that “the persecution of lesbians was often concealed using other pretexts. They were considered “asocials,’ a group that included unemployed people and alcoholics.”
Lowest Regard by All
“The numbers aren’t official,” states Zimmermann, “as for the Jews and Gypsies, but the deportation of 15,000 people to the concentration camps for homosexuality was a deliberate act of persecution.”
The “homosexuals” were regarded as the lowest of the low, even by the other inmates, prisoners, and guards. They were often subjected to the most grueling labor.