Israel remembers gay holocaust victims

The Israeli government has formally recognised the plight of thousands of homosexuals killed by Nazi Germany in the holocaust of the Second World War. Members of the LGBT community organisation, the Jerusalem Open House, were invited to lay a wreath at the Warsaw Ghetto rebellion monument in a ceremony to remember the millions killed summarily and in concentration camps at the hands of the Nazis.

This is the first time the Israeli government invited the participation of the LGBT community in official commemorations.

“As a gay man and as the son of a family of holocaust survivors, I felt that I was closing a circle by participating in the ceremony in the name of the… LGBT community,â€? said Amir Sumaka’i-Fink of Jerusalem Open House.

During the Second World War, Nazis labelled homosexuals as deviants and required them to wear an identifying pink triangle. Paragraph 175 of the German penal code banned homosexual liaisons, and Nazis rounded up between 5,000 and 15,000 gays and lesbians, sending them to concentration camps, where most met a gruesome death in the gas chambers, after Nazi doctors subjected many to medical experiments such as lobotomies.

Ceremonies were also held at LGBT holocaust memorials in San Francisco and across Europe on Wednesday.