Last edited: July 11, 2004

Germany Pardons Gay Holocaust Victims Newscenter, May 18, 2002

By Jon ben Asher

Berlin—The German government has issued pardons to 50,000 gay men interned by the Nazis in concentration camps.

Many of the men were pardoned posthumously.

The Nazis began rounding up gay men in 1935.

"The new state...must firmly counter all unnatural sexual urges," the preamble to the 1935 law said.

Hitler believed gays were alien to the state’s aim to create a "super-race". Lesbians were unaffected by the law.

If found guilty gay men were sentenced to 10 years in prison but most ended up in concentration camps, where thousands died.

The Nazis conducted medical experiments on the prisoners. Many were castrated, sterilised, or had lobotomies performed on them .

The anti-gay legislation passed by Hitler remained on the books in Germany until 1969.

The legislation wiping out the convictions was passed by the German parliament on Friday, and was hailed by gay rights activists.

"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 activist said in a statement.

[Home] [World] [Germany]