Israel will get its first monument to the gay men persecuted by the Nazi regime under a plan by Tel Aviv’s municipal government.
The monument, which will feature a giant pink concrete triangle reminiscent of the symbol used by the Nazis to mark out homosexual prisoners, will be built in Tel Aviv’s Meir Park – with plans for it to be unveiled before the year’s end.
The monument was the brainchild of Meretz Party municipal council member Eran Lev who took the idea to Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai.
The monument has been designed by landscape architect and professor Yael Moriah who also oversaw a recent renovation of Meir Park.
Lev told the Haaretz news agency that the location of the monument in the park, close to Tel Aviv’s Gay Center, was symbolic.
‘One of the first restrictions the Nazis imposed on the Jews was against going to public parks,’ Lev told Haaretz.
‘We’re bringing that memory back into the public space … We felt it was important to present it as part of the park. It’s close to the Gay Center, but not inside it. It’s a public Israeli monument, erected by the municipality, and not something that belongs only to the gay community.
‘This will be the first and only memorial site in Israel to mention the victims of the Nazis who were persecuted for anything other than being Jewish.’
The monument will bare the names of prominent Jewish gay men who were persecuted by the Nazi regime – including Magnus Hirschfeld, the prominent sexologist and one of the world’s first gay rights activists who’s institute and library were burned down by the Nazis, and Gad Beck who was the last known gay concentration camp survivor.
Hirschfeld was forced to flee Germany in 1933 and died in exile in France two years later.
Beck died last year at the age of 88.
However the monument is intended to be in rememberance of all homosexual victims of the Nazis.
At least 50,000 gay men were convicted under Germany’s Paragraph 175 with many being subjected to cruel medical experiments, castrated or sent to camps to be worked to death.
15,000 known homosexuals were sent to concentration camps like Sachsenhausen, Auschwitz and Birkenau during the time the Nazis were in power with around 60% dieing before the camps were liberated.
It is unknown how many closeted gay men were sent to concentration camps under other pretexts.
Following the war many men who had been imprisoned by the Nazis for their sexuality were put back into the German prison system and they were denied the compensation pay outs given to other groups of victims.
Similar monuments to the gay victims of the Nazis have been built in Sydney, San Francisco, Cologne, Montevideo, Barcelona, Amsterdam and Berlin.