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Israel honors gay Holocaust victims in first national memorial

Sunday, December 15, 2013

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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112 more reader comments:

  1. That’s great news!

    Posted on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 5:05pm
  2. we are all united both in experience n in not hating those who have hurt us so much although it is very tough not to hate them

    Posted on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 5:06pm
  3. Aww! :3

    Posted on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 5:08pm
  4. Wow, this is interesting. Let’s see if they’ll recognize the Romani people, too.

    Posted on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 5:08pm
  5. They have already recognized the Armenian people who suffered a genocide at the hands of the Turks c. 1918.

    Replied on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 6:45pm
  6. Not the same thing at all.

    Replied on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 6:45pm
  7. Jane,they will,just wait cause the secular Israelis are still fighting the fundamentalist nutjobs but they´ve had greater success on this than in any other country in that region.By the way,the Dom (gypsies of Gaza and the Middle East in general) are not even given any rights whatsover in most muslim countries,except as bythe mainstream identity of muslim citizes of course (in such countries most of them are muslims.)

    Replied on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 8:26pm
  8. http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/06/gaza-gypsies-dom-racism.html

    Replied on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 8:28pm
  9. I am happy for "my" peeps, LGBT. ...but they almost wiped out the Romani. They should get one.

    Replied on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 8:29pm
  10. Gypsy org in Yerushalaim (Jerusalem),with Christian,Jewish and Gypsy folks in their board : http://www.hadeel.org/index.php?main_page=manufacturers_about&manufacturers_about_id=44

    Replied on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 8:32pm
  11. Of course,the Dom cannot speak out much,except some rare testimonies,about the persecution they suffer in muslim areas,because of the threats those who have families there would suffer in consequence.

    Replied on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 8:34pm
  12. Persecution of the Romani continues in modern-day Europe.

    Replied on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 8:39pm
  13. Of course I´m not supporting Jewish fundamentalism (I fight all fundamentalisms,as they are often the source of great evil to humankind and civil liberties) but I would like to quote this Dom´s words in this article "Attitude of others: - Dom remain a people apart, shunned by Arabs who look down on them and ignored by Jews who seem blind to their existence. "The Jews treat us like Arabs and the Arabs treat us like gypsies, so we get bad treatment from both sides" Remember that the word for gypsy in Arabic is often used in a pejorative way. http://valery-novoselsky.org/israelroma.html

    Replied on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 8:41pm
  14. "The Jerusalem municipality in recent years has been committed to raising the Gypsy community from the educational, financial and social slum it was in. "We were in bad shape," mukhtar Abed Saleem said, "But we got a lot of help with actual budgets, reading and writing courses, and community centers." http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4445701,00.html

    Replied on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 8:43pm
  15. And ,what is much more significant : "The new reality, Buber-Ben David explained, created a paradox. "On the one hand there is an encouraging process of gaining education; women have realized that the way to break the cycle of poverty is to go out and learn. On the other hand, this creates a society in which more and more educated women from within the community are not interested in marrying inside the Gypsy community. "Either way, the Gypsy community in Israel is going through a very impressive change – from a poor, unemployed community to a hotbed of cultural, educational, musical and social doing. I doubt there is another Gypsy community in the world that went through such significant changes in such a short while." From the same link given above http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4445701,00.html

    Replied on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 8:44pm
  16. This is great for gays in Israel. So happy.

    Replied on Monday, December 16, 2013 at 2:27am
  17. Israel is not a nation. Its nice they are doing that, but how about they stop killing children, then we can think about praising them for other things.

    Posted on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 5:10pm
  18. Miss Sarah Israel is not a nation? And the killing of children? They are under attack daily by the Arabs !!!!!

    Replied on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 5:13pm
  19. Perhaps it's because of people like you children are killed? Israel WILL protect itself against attacks from all fronts and when the entire region hardly recognises your existence, death is inevitable - especially when you are forced to deal with Arab "parents" sending their children to blow themselves up in cafes and buses.

    Replied on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 5:25pm
  20. Israel is not a nation? They are not members of the UN? They don't have embassies in Washington and around the world? They don't have a capital city, a flag, a national anthem, an Olympic presence? My goodness - your hatred and intolerance runs deep!!!

    Replied on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 9:19pm
  21. Excellent! Thank you!!!

    Posted on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 5:10pm
  22. About time!

    Posted on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 5:10pm
  23. IT’S ABOUT TIME!!!
    It only took a HALF CENTURY… but then again they are doing it.
    just saying…

    Posted on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 5:12pm
  24. … Not even arguing with you about this. Go look at what they’re doing to Palestine.

    Posted on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 5:15pm
  25. Sarah, comment when you know what it feels like to be surrounded by enemies on all fronts. Enemies, should I add, who want nothing more than to wipe your people off the face of the earth. Perhaps then you'll be informed enough to form judgements.

    Replied on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 5:33pm
  26. Darren, do you mean like Israel is doing to the Palestinians? Surrounding them with a high wall cutting through their farmlands and annecting 10% of the westbank, numerous checkpoints, illegal settlements, the killing of children in the west bank going to school etc.

    Replied on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 6:08pm
  27. Oh, you are referring to the SECURITY barrier? The very wall/fence which was erected to curb terrorism and has been successful? Your speak as someone with no knowledge of the difficult and complex situation in Israel. Checkpoints? Absolutely! You try living next to those people and see how you feel about living with no checkpoints and security barrier. Of course, you really don't give a shit about the lives of Israelis, so the fact it has saved lives really doesn't matter to you, does it? I talk as someone in support of the TWO STATE SOLUTION, but what hope is there when the Palestinians don't want to live in peace with Israel? Look at the Israeli parliament and you will find parties talking of peace. In case you aren't aware, Israel's "partners for peace" gave Hamas a democratic mandate to rule on their behalf. The only reason there isn't a Hamas government in Ramallah is because of a fallout between Fatah and Hamas. When was a Palestinian child killed in the WB going to school?

    Replied on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 6:27pm
  28. That's not a "security barrier." What Israel is doing to Palestine is called APARTHEID.

    Replied on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 7:06pm
  29. You mean the one in Palestinian territory? That fence?!

    Replied on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 7:55pm
  30. As someone who has travelled to Middle Eastern countries several times, and also studied there I will tell you this: Palestinian Arabs enjoy more civil rights and a higher standard of living than many Arabs living in Arab countries! Look what has been happening in places like Egypt and Syria.

    Replied on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 9:26pm
  31. Israel has so much help from canada, great Britain, and the united states....the arab states are surrounded just as much....

    Replied on Monday, December 16, 2013 at 2:04am
  32. BRAVO Israel…Shalom

    Posted on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 5:15pm
  33. Also… They are arabs. Sigh.

    Posted on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 5:16pm
  34. <3

    Posted on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 5:20pm
  35. Also Sarah L Little go read the news and study some history before you comment

    Posted on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 5:25pm
  36. but let us not forget that at the same time that this very important gesture recognizes those that died and suffered wearing the inverted Pink Triangle, at the very same time, our Canadian Prime Minister is being honoured by the Israeli government by having a park named after him…a park on land confiscated from the Bedouin people..this is an injustice.

    Posted on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 5:25pm
  37. Hopefully same-sex marriage will come to Israel very soon. :)

    Posted on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 5:25pm
  38. Thanks friends from Israel

    Posted on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 5:30pm
  39. Israel has every right to defend herself. I wish people who are not well versed in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would keep their ignorant, Ill-informed opinions to themselves… So tired of the double-standard… It’s okay for Palestinians to shoot rockets into Israel and send their children over the border with bombs strapped to them and blow up Israeli buses and schools, but how dare Israel fight back? Give me a break! Ridiculous…

    Posted on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 5:30pm
  40. ......during world WW2 when the Jewish people were being sent to camps and hunted the british who began occupying what was palestine they and the other allies helped the jews escape to their newly gained land by the time world war two was over the worn out and forced out jews began pushing the people of palestine out of their own country doing the same thing that was done to them. don't get me wrong i understand the jews were traumatized and lost everything but they did the very same thing done to them....thats not right.

    Replied on Monday, December 16, 2013 at 2:02am
  41. Pinkwashing.

    Posted on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 5:32pm
  42. OMG, are you actually serious? Israel is the only state in the world accused of not being sincere in its efforts to progress LGBT rights. One would think you people would be happy that a country actually exists in the Middle East that is both tolerant and accepting of its LGBT citizens. No, instead you accuse the world's only Jewish state, the one state in the world whose very existence is under threat on a daily basis, of trying to use gay rights as a PR tool. What a load of shit!

    Replied on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 5:40pm
  43. Darren, well stated!

    Replied on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 6:42pm
  44. it’s about damn time

    Posted on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 5:33pm
  45. This is disgusting. Why in the hell do gays deserve a special memorial simply because they chose to live that immoral lifestyle? It’s simple, they don’t. More special treatment demands.

    Posted on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 5:42pm
  46. How very tolerant of you! That's right - the victims of genocide don't deserve recognition. People like you make me sick, absolutely SICK.

    Replied on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 5:44pm
  47. Mmm... an anti-abortion gun fetishist bigot. You must be an absolute blast at parties.

    Replied on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 6:03pm
  48. Michelle: So if gays and lesbians are to blame for being executed in the holocaust by holding on to their sexual orientation, aren't you also implying that jews are to blame for being gassed to death because they continued to practice their faith, socialists for clinging on to their ideas of a better world, romani for continuing to practice their culture etc?

    Replied on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 6:15pm
  49. @Michele Hawker~ Well how about,when you die,we take your tome stone and place it on the ground,for all the Nazi trucks and hateful bigots to drive on ? Do Your History Missy ! Nazi Germans took jewish grave stone from the semitaries to build their roads from !! Did the Nazi's care? NO. Just like YOU DON'T Care ! Do you make me sick? No. You make me disapointed that you have NO feeling for your fellow man. Only for your foolish selfcentered religions that hate in the Name of {your } God ! And you USE God to justify your hatred !

    Replied on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 6:46pm
  50. Michele, you are entitled to your opinion ... but what are you doing in a LGBT Rights forum? Do you expect to find support here? Sounds to me that you're just trolling.

    Replied on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 6:57pm
  51. Loving it when everyone can come together!

    Posted on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 5:43pm
  52. Long live Israel!

    Posted on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 5:44pm
  53. I honor you, Israel.

    Posted on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 5:45pm
  54. If that life is so immoral Michele Hawker, why the hell are you on this page commenting? Nobody cares for your ignorant comments.

    Posted on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 5:47pm
  55. Beautiful–I rememebr how in Dachau it was the orthodox rabbis who kept the Men with the Pink triangles to be memorialized along with all the other Holocaust victims in the camp: the gay memorial had to be placed outside.

    Posted on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 5:49pm
  56. Oh Darren, you’re just an ignorant fool. If you knew how to read you would have seen that I was referring to gays getting special recognition/ treatment just because they choose to live that way. I never said the victims of genocide shouldn’t get recognized but for gays to get singled out isn’t right and it’s disgusting. They should get the exact same treatment as all the other victims. You are a disgusting fool to think otherwise. People like you make the world SICK!!

    Posted on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 5:58pm
  57. Actually, this memorial IS gays getting equal treatment. There are memorials across Israel dedicated to Jewish victims of the holocaust, so this is the state finally remembering those persecuted due to their sexual orientation. Michele, you're a fucking bigot and you're a disgrace to the world. I am so glad the world is moving away from your hateful ways. :)

    Replied on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 6:34pm
  58. People like you are sickening the world. It'll be better when you change your views or leave.

    Replied on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 6:36pm
  59. Funny cause what I remember of the Jewish people I met in LA they thought gays were an abomination, both rich Jews from Israel and born in the US.

    Posted on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 6:01pm
  60. That's unusual. Jews in the US are far more supportive of gay marriage than any other group. Whilst israel has a growing religious population, Israel's record on LGBT rights stands out in the region and, to an extent, the world. Hopefully, we will see same-sex marriage in Israel soon! :)

    Replied on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 6:30pm
  61. I remember when I was living in Miami way back in 1977 when Anita Bryant launched her anti-gay crusade, the ONLY community which overwhelmingly supported gay rights was the Jewish Community. Rabbi Joseph Narot of Temple Israel of Greater Miami (the region's largest synagogue) spoke out forcefully in favor of gay rights ... this was in 1977!!!

    Replied on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 7:02pm
  62. It’s about time !!!

    Posted on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 6:03pm
  63. Better late than never.

    Posted on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 6:03pm
  64. How about Israel started by recognizing LGBTQ people of palestinian origin living within its borders? How about ending the occupation of Palestine so that the LGBTQ movement in the West bank could start to fight for their rights without the burden of occupation?

    Posted on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 6:18pm
  65. LOL First of all, have you ever been to Tel Aviv? I doubt you have Many Palestinians LGBT individuals live there, free to be who they are in one of the most gay-friendly cities in the world. Listen, even if Israel did end the "occupation" (one cannot be an occupier in one's home), there would be no such thing as Palestinian LGBT rights. CLEARLY, you aren't aware how BAD that region actually is in terms of LGBT rights. Even "liberal" Lebanon arrests homosexuals.

    Replied on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 6:39pm
  66. The Israeli LGBT community has done many things to support LGBT Palestinians. I know, I was there. There are a network of safe-houses that Palestinians can take refuge in within Israel.

    Replied on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 6:55pm
  67. Darren: Palestinians living in conservative areas in the west bank and gaza are generally deorted back if the seek refuge in the state of Israel. And in terms of occupation, The state of Israel exists on the land after the palestinian holocaust (al-Nakba) where zionists sought to ethnically cleanse the land of christians, muslims and others to make way to and ethnically clean Jewist state. The west bank and gaza is considered occupied territories even under UN resolutions.

    Replied on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 7:00pm
  68. @Mark: There are many LGBTQ people in israel that do good things for palestinian LGBTQ people, but there are also less tolerance for LGBTQ palestinians in Israel then of jewish LGBTQ people, and structural discrimination where palestinian LGBTQ people are forbidden to even talk about how it is to be both LGBTQ and palestinian living within the Israeli border. (There is a difference between zionists and the zionist state of Israel as compared to jews living in Israel in general)

    Replied on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 7:05pm
  69. Wonderful!! This is very important, in light of what’s going on in Russia today…

    Posted on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 6:19pm
  70. In Amsterdam we have the homo-Nazi memorial monument since 1987. About 20 years after the first homo-protests about lack of acknowledgement.

    Posted on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 6:28pm
  71. What a beautiful tribute!

    Posted on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 6:38pm
  72. Palestinian rights before

    Posted on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 6:39pm
  73. Wow!

    Posted on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 6:40pm
  74. Took a hot minute.

    Posted on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 6:44pm
  75. Except, Darren, Israel does occupy Palestinian Territories. Or maybe Apartheid is the more apropos paradigm…

    Posted on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 6:47pm
  76. This place is like an oasis in the vast desert of homophobic and sexist Middle East.

    Posted on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 6:48pm
  77. Indeed it is. :)

    Replied on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 6:58pm
  78. Sadly I fear another one will be needed for the victims of Russia’s anti-gay genocide that is coming. Obviously those who remember the past have chosen to forget it. :(

    Posted on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 7:02pm
  79. amen

    Posted on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 7:21pm
  80. The catholic church hates this.

    Posted on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 7:26pm
  81. Pinkwashing at its best

    Posted on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 7:31pm
  82. honour the living palestinians while you are at it

    Posted on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 7:32pm
  83. Palestinian “holocaust”? That’s a new one… We have a security barrier just like Israel’s barrier at the US-Mexican border… Go visit Israel & then come back & tell us about “apartheid”. People throw that word around like its nothing, maybe you should look up the definition of apartheid. Israel is FAR from what South Africa used to be, there is NO comparison. There are Arabs in every facet of Israeli society, they have the SAME rights as jewish citizens, including Israeli citizenship, access to education, jobs & healthcare, just like everyone else.

    Posted on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 7:54pm
  84. Amazing remember all those victims Holocaust

    Posted on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 8:03pm
  85. BUENO

    Posted on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 8:20pm
  86. I love you secular Israel,love you so,so much,ani ochev atah,m´od,m´od ! This makes me sou proud of the Israelite lineages I have among my many ancestries !

    Posted on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 8:24pm
  87. This post is not about the damn Palestinians nor is it about Palestine! Let’s just be happy for the gays :D

    -LONG LIVE ISRAEL

    Posted on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 8:42pm
  88. What took them so long .

    Posted on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 8:58pm
  89. :)

    Posted on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 8:59pm
  90. It is so frustrating that the gay victims of the Holocaust are almost always left out and ignored. It is about time that their place in history is remembered.

    Posted on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 10:00pm
  91. Liat

    Posted on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 10:00pm
  92. one step at a time…

    Posted on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 10:41pm
  93. About time! And what about the GERMAN PEOPLE in those Concentration Camps and in them ditches too. Shot by their fellow German’s or by Russians, that today stupidly say they want to see gay people burned alive?!!

    Posted on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 11:50pm
  94. about time…

    Posted on Monday, December 16, 2013 at 12:27am
  95. Mazel tov!! It’s about time!

    Posted on Monday, December 16, 2013 at 12:43am
  96. Any mention of transgender holocaust victims?

    Posted on Monday, December 16, 2013 at 1:17am
  97. About time.

    Posted on Monday, December 16, 2013 at 1:20am
  98. This is simply amazing!

    Posted on Monday, December 16, 2013 at 1:35am
  99. Better late than never. Thank you Israel on behalf of my gay brothers and sisters who suffered so much during the holocaust. We will never forget them!

    Posted on Monday, December 16, 2013 at 1:35am
  100. It took them long enough.

    Posted on Monday, December 16, 2013 at 1:48am
  101. lest we forget

    Posted on Monday, December 16, 2013 at 1:58am
  102. It’s about time.

    Posted on Monday, December 16, 2013 at 2:15am
  103. You’d not believe the number of times I’ve been called a liar WRT gays being persecuted by Nazis and put in prison camps.

    Posted on Monday, December 16, 2013 at 3:36am
  104. That is so heartwarming.

    Posted on Monday, December 16, 2013 at 3:41am
  105. Here come the anti-gay and anti-Israel conspiracy theories

    Posted on Monday, December 16, 2013 at 5:34am
  106. Next they honor Palestinian victims of the Israeli ultimate solution.

    Posted on Monday, December 16, 2013 at 5:35am
  107. It took them 68 years to honour gay Holocaust victims?Well better late than never….

    Posted on Monday, December 16, 2013 at 6:33am
  108. Xoxo Big Gay Love

    Posted on Monday, December 16, 2013 at 9:08am
  109. I’m glad they made this since it isn’t talked about as much if they have a disabled monument too for those who were killed in the Holocaust that would be great too. Disabled people were among the first to be killed by the Nazis.

    Posted on Monday, December 16, 2013 at 9:39am
  110. Excellent!

    Posted on Monday, December 16, 2013 at 11:33am
  111. Holy Crap, we are actually gonna recognize the 10 ,million killed? Usually it is only the six million who get recognized.

    Posted on Monday, December 16, 2013 at 11:39am
  112. Wow! Finally all is getting the recognition…so many suffered….breaks my heart. I shall pray for them tonight. May they all rest in peace now.

    Posted on Monday, December 16, 2013 at 1:13pm