Germany to offer $33 million in reparations to gays jailed in Nazi era 

Prisoners wearing the pink triangle at the concentration camp at Sachsenhausen, Germany, are marched outdoors by Nazi guards on December 19, 1938.

Prisoners wearing the pink triangle at the concentration camp at Sachsenhausen, Germany, are marched outdoors by Nazi guards on December 19, 1938. CORBIS

The German government recently revealed plans to offer financial compensation to thousands of Germans convicted of homosexuality during and following the Nazi-era, international news site Deutsche Welle (DW) reports.

More than $33 million will be set aside for gay and bisexual victims of anti-gay laws that led to incarceration in concentration camps during WWII and in jails for many years afterward.

Paragraph 175 specifically banned sex between men; few women are believed to have been arrested.  The criminalization of homosexuality was part of Germany’s criminal code from 1871 to 1994, but was stringently enforced during the Nazi-era.  More than 140,000 men were convicted, and 50,000 of those faced charges after the end of WWII, according to DW. Prisoners believed to be gay or bisexual were often labelled with an upside-down pink triangle.

Maas said he anticipates more than 5,000 individual men will have a personal claim.

The law ceased to be enforced in 1968, but was not removed from the books until 1994. And while the Nazi-era convictions of gay and bisexual men were finally removed in 2002, those convicted after the war are still awaiting a pardon.

Katja Keul, a spokesperson for Germany’s Green party called the delayed amends-making “a monstrous disgrace.”

 

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