A municipal-funded memorial to gay victims of the Holocaust, both Jews and non-Jews, was inaugurated on Tuesday in Tel Aviv’s Meir Park, according to Haaretz. It is the country’s first.

The memorial in front of a community center is the creation of attorney Eran Lev, an activist in the gay community who was a city councilman for Meretz. “It’s important to me that people understand that persecution of gay people was not the usual story of the Holocaust that we know from the final solution, and from the Wannsee Conference,” he told Haaretz. “This is a different story, more modest, but still an important one. It’s important that people in Israel know that the Nazis persecuted others as well, not because they were Jews, but because they were gay.”

The memorial consists of three triangles – the symbol of the gay community, Haaretz reported. On each a sentence is written in Hebrew, English and German: “In memory of those persecuted by the Nazi regime for their sexual orientation and gender identity.”

An inscription states that special steps were taken against gay people and that “according to Nazi ideology, homosexuality was considered harmful to ‘public health.’ The Gestapo had a special unit to fight 
homosexuals and the ‘Center for the Fighting of Homosexuality and Abortions’ kept a secret file on about 100,000 homosexuals.”

An estimated 15,000 gay people in the Third Reich were sent to concentration camps and more than half were murdered.

steve@jewishweek.org