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New Holocaust Memorial must pay tribute to gay victims

2015-01-28
The Prime Minister's Holocaust Commission has recommended that a new memorial be built to remember all victims of the Nazis - including the homosexuals who were brutally persecuted during the Holocaust. In their findings, released on the 70th anniversary of the liberation of prisoners from the Auschwitz death camp, the Commission were damning in their description of London's current Holocaust Memorial in Hyde Park, calling it "wholly inadequate". Holocaust_Mem_Hyde_Park   Pictured: Hyde Park's current Holocaust Memorial has been deemed "wholly inadequate." "It is not widely known about; felt to be hidden out of sight; provides no context or information; and stands on its own offering no opportunity to learn more. The strength of feeling on this was very clear, particularly from many of our Holocaust survivors," they wrote. The Commission recommended that "there should be a striking new memorial to serve as the focal point of national commemoration of the Holocaust. It should be prominently located in Central London to make a bold statement about the importance Britain places on preserving the memory of the Holocaust." The commission also stated that while the proposed new memorial should "reflect the centrality of the murder of European Jews to Nazi objectives," it must also "appropriately represent the fate of other victims of Nazi persecution" - homosexuals included. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum estimates that "between 5,000 and 15,000 gay men were detained in concentration camps under the Nazi regime, persecuted under Paragraph 175 of the German Criminal Code, which proscribed sexual acts between men. (In total, between 1933 and 1945, around 100,000 men were arrested under Paragraph 175, half of whom were sentenced.) While the Gestapo directive expanding incarceration beyond regular prisons was issued on April 4, 1938, gay men were among the first victims of the Holocaust to be rounded up and interned in concentration camps starting in 1933." Denkmal_fuer_verfolgte_Homosexuelle_Berlin Pictured: Berlin's Memorial to Homosexuals Persecuted Under Nazism. Citing the 14-year wait to deliver the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC after the establishment of the US commission in the late 70s, the Commission's report finished by imploring that "nearly four decades later and with more and more survivors passing away, Britain simply cannot afford this kind of delay in delivery." "The Commission would like to see survivor testimony recording completed this year; the creation of the Memorial in 2016/17 and the Learning Centre within the next Parliament."