Germany Votes to Pardon Gays Prosecuted by Nazis
Reuters, May 17, 2002
BERLIN—Germany’s parliament passed legislation
Friday allowing around 50,000 gay men prosecuted by the Nazis because of their
sexuality to be pardoned, even posthumously.
The legislation also amended a 1998 law to make it easier for convictions
against deserters from the German army between 1933 and 1945 to be quashed.
Anti-gay measures passed in 1935 formed part of a Nazi philosophy that
deemed homosexuals alien to the state’s aim to create a
"The new state ... must firmly counter all unnatural sexual
urges," the preamble to the 1935 law said, singling out gay men.
If found guilty, victims faced up to 10 years in prison or concentration
camps, where thousands died. Other gay men were forcibly sterilized or
subjected to medical experiments.
The legislation remained unchanged on Germany’s statute books until 1969.
Friday’s legislation amended a 1998 bill aimed at tackling legal
injustices handed down during Adolf Hitler’s regime which had been
criticized for only allowing judicial reviews on a case-by-case basis and
leaving out some victims, including homosexuals.
Campaigners welcomed the vote.
"Finally victims will be rehabilitated—even if many are already
dead, this will make things easier for their relations and descendants,"
Farid Mueller, a Hamburg campaigner said in a statement.
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