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Gays call for Berlin monument

May 3, 2001
Web posted at: 6:48 PM EDT (22:48 GMT)
cnn.com

BERLIN, Germany -- Homosexual activists are urging Germany's government to recognise thousands of gay victims of the Nazi regime with a monument in Berlin.

The Lesbian and Gay Federation in Germany want the memorial sited near the Reichstag parliament building, close to a planned Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe.

"Such a monument would be a lasting symbol against intolerance, hostility and exclusion aimed at gays and lesbians," the federation said in a statement.

As well as gays, groups representing Gypsies, or Roma, murdered by the Nazis are also pressing for a monument in central Berlin -- seeking equal prominence with the planned memorial for the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust.

A site the size of two soccer pitches near the Brandenburg Gate has been dedicated to the Jewish memorial.

Gay spokesman Albert Eckert said homosexual victims of the Nazis during the war have been overlooked, and added: "We want a national monument similar to the Jewish one."

The Nazi regime criminalised homosexuality among men -- although lesbians were not generally targeted by the Nazis -- and few of the 15,000 gay men forced into concentration camps survived, the federation said.

The plan has been backed by prominent Jewish leaders, including the head of the Jewish Community in Germany, Paul Spiegel.

A city spokeswoman said officials agreed in principle that such a monument was needed.

But Berlin mayor Eberhard Diepgen has opposed creating a "Memorial Mile" in the new capital commemorating various groups persecuted by the Nazis, the Associated Press news agency reported.

***

www.cnn.com

 

 

 

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