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memorial for the homosexuals persecuted under the Nazi regime in Berlin
memorial for the homosexuals persecuted under the Nazi regime © Stiftung Denkmal, Foto: Marko Priske

Memorial for persecuted homosexuals

Remembrance of the homosexual people persecuted under National Socialism

A memorial in Tiergarten is a reminder of the suffering inflicted on homosexuals by the Nazi regime. The concrete cube is not a traditional memorial, but a video playing inside gives a creative insight into the topic.

From the discussion to the memorial

The opening of the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe (Holocaust Memorial) led to increased discussions about national memorials to all the other victims of the Nazis. In 2003, the German parliament decided to build a monument for the persecuted homosexuals. The initiators of the project chose a design by the Scandinavian artists Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset. Their work picks up on the slabs of the Holocaust Memorial and uses the medium of film to create a link to the present and visualise the subject in a special way. The memorial was ceremonially opened on 27 May 2008.

Visual emphasis

What makes the 3.60 metre high and 1.90 metre wide concrete cube is a small, square window set in the exterior, though which visitors can watch a homosexual love scene on a video loop. The memorial is conceived so that the film is changed at regular intervals. A memorial plaque has information in German and in English.

A reminder of dark times

Many minorities were persecuted under the Nazis. Their daily lives were made difficult, they were oppressed, persecuted and murdered in concentration camps. Homosexual men had to be very careful. In 1935, the criminal code was changed, with section 175 penalising kissing in public with a stay in prison or a house of correction. Their tormentors also imposed castration. In total, 50,000 sentences were passed. Lesbians were pursued by the Nazis as antisocial elements. In concentration camps, homosexual men were made to wear a pink triangle and lesbians a black triangle.

The monument to the homosexuals persecuted by the Nazi regime is a symbol against intolerance, discrimination and persecution of homosexuals all over the world.

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