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Israel honors gay Holocaust victims in first national memorial

Sunday, December 15, 2013
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TEL AVIV — A new monument to pay tribute to Jewish and non-Jewish victims of the Holocaust who were persecuted by the Nazis for their sexual orientation has been unveiled in Tel Aviv.

Workers install the memorial to gays persecuted by the Nazis.

Jewish Daily Forward
Workers install a memorial in Meir Park in Tel Aviv to honor gay victims of the Holocaust.

The memorial stands in front of the municipal community center established in Gan Meir (Meir Park) for the gay community in 2008, ahead of Tel Aviv’s centennial, reported the Jewish Daily Forward.

The memorial consists of three triangles: One is concrete, and on it appears a explanation of the persecution of homosexuals during the Holocaust; the second is an upside-down triangle painted pink (indicative of the symbol the Nazis forced homosexuals to wear); and the third triangle faces the other two and consists of three pink benches.

On each of them a sentence is written in Hebrew, English and German: “In memory of those persecuted by the Nazi regime for their sexual orientation and gender identity.”

Local attorney and LGBTQ rights activist Eran Lev was the driving force behind the creation of the city-funded memorial, and planned by landscape architect Prof. Yael Moriah, who in recent year has overseen the renovation of Gan Meir park.

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“It’s important to me that people understand that persecution of gay people was not the usual story of the Holocaust that we know from the final solution, and from the Wansee Conference,” said Lev. “This is a different story, more modest, but still an important one.”

“It’s important that people in Israel know that the Nazis persecuted others as well, not because they were Jews, but because they were gay,” he said.

Moshe Zimmermann, the memorial project’s historical adviser and a professor at Hebrew 
University, contributed the additional text which reads: “According to Nazi ideology, homosexuality was considered harmful to ‘public health.’ The Gestapo had a special unit to fight 
homosexuals and the ‘Center for the Fighting of Homosexuality and Abortions’ kept a secret file on about 100,000 homosexuals.”

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