by Melanie Nathan, January 11, 2014.
A memorial honoring gays and lesbians persecuted by the Nazis during World War II has been unveiled in Tel Aviv.
The memorial depicts a pink triangle, the symbol gays were forced by the Nazis to wear in concentration camps.
The memorial’s dedication is in Hebrew, English and German:
“In memory of those persecuted by the Nazi regime for their sexual orientation and gender identity.”
“I think in Israel today it is very important to show that a human being is a human being is a human being,” Mayor Ron Huldai said at the dedication ceremony, where a rainbow flag waved alongside Israel’s blue-and-white flag. “It shows that we are not only caring for ourselves but for everybody who suffered. These are our values — to see everyone as a human being.”
AP points out that “The landmark joins similar memorials in Amsterdam, Berlin, San Francisco and Sydney dedicated to gay victims of the Holocaust. While Israel has scores of Holocaust monuments, the Tel Aviv memorial is the first that deals universally with Jewish and non-Jewish victims alike.”
From the Greenfield Reporter :
“The Nazis outlawed homosexuality and the Gestapo set up a special unit targeting homosexuality. In the Buchenwald concentration camp, the Nazis carried out experiments to try and “cure” homosexuality. Those sent to the camps were forced to wear pink triangles, compared to the yellow stars that Jews bore on their clothing. Gay Jews wore an emblem that combined the two colors.
Today, Israel is one of the world’s most progressive countries in terms of gay rights. Gays serve openly in Israel’s military and parliament. The Supreme Court grants a variety of family rights such as inheritance and survivors’ benefits. Gays, lesbians and a transsexual are among the country’s most popular musicians and actors.
Moshe Zimmermann, a professor from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the memorial project’s historical adviser, said the Tel Aviv monument marked a big step in Israel by ridding itself from what he called a monopoly of victimhood.
“We are finally shedding the load of being the lone and ultimate victim,” he said. “We can learn from this that by recognizing the victimhood of others, it does not diminish the uniqueness of your own victimhood.”