German parliament to commemorate LGBT victims of Nazis

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The German parliament will for the first time next year commemorate victims of the Nazi regime, who were persecuted and killed for their sexual or gender identity, the Bundestag president said Friday.

Published: 23 July 2022 08:43 CEST

The Reichstag building housing the lower house of the German parliament is illuminated and an inscription reading “#WeRemember” is projected on its facade as part of a social media campaign to commemorate International Holocaust Memorial Day in Berlin, on January 24, 2022. Tobias SCHWARZ / AFP

On January 27, the international Holocaust Remembrance Day, German MPs will put those victims “at the centre of the commemoration ceremony”, Baerbel Bas told German daily Tagesspiegel.

Germany has officially marked Holocaust Remembrance Day every January 27 since 1996 with a solemn ceremony at the Bundestag featuring a speech by a survivor and commemorations across the country.

“Sadly there are no survivors left” for the LGBT victims’ memorial, Bas said, adding that parliamentary authorities were in close discussions with the Lesbian and Gay Federation in Germany (LSVD).

Campaigners have worked for years to establish an official parliamentary commemoration of Nazi victims who were persecuted for their sexual or gender identity.

A petition, signed by victims’ organisations, academics, and other civil society figures, was put forward in support of the idea in 2018.

While the former German President Roman Herzog named homosexuals among the victims of the Nazis at the first event in 1996, “these victims have yet to have their own memorial”, said Henny Engels, member of the LSVD board.

The group “welcomed” the Bundestag president’s decision to dedicate the day to victims, who were persecuted and killed for their sexual or gender identity.

“To draw the right lessons from all its different facets, history must be comprehensively kept alive,” Engels said.